Fries? Waffles? Chocolate? Belgium!

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Europe with my 18 year daughter in celebration of her high school graduation.  She had never been to Europe, so it was fun exploring with her.  We flew Delta from Charlotte to Brussels. I had not been through Atlanta in a long time but it was a breeze.  Tip: Be sure to have plenty of connecting time.

Customs in Brussels was also a breeze.  There were no forms to fill out prior to arrival and the line was quick and easy. Took the train to the city center and arrived at our hotel in central Brussels in less than an hour.

We enjoyed our day in Brussels, but that is about all the time we needed. The Hilton City Center, which was within walking distance of the train station, made it easy to get from the airport to the hotel.  This hotel is on the outskirts of the city and the rooms are very small but the hotel is nice, clean and easy to find.  However, there were some hotels in the market area that were more conventient - Hotel Ibis and Best Western would be good choices.

Brussels is the capitol of the European Union and also the headquarters for NATO.  It seems to be more of a "business" city and taking the 1/2 day tour of the city is just about enough.  We enjoyed our time in the city and eating some Belguim waffles!

The next day we took the Eurostar (chunnel train) from Brussels to London.  I had been on the train to Paris last year but not the train to and from Brussels.  It is such and quick and wonderful way to get to London - and the train arrives at St. Pancreas in downtown London.  It is easy to catch the tube and get to center city quickly!  Our hotel was the Radisson in the Marble Arch area and about a 5 minute walk to a tube station.  This hotel is a boutique and the rooms are small but the London location makes it worth it!  I would trade the room size any day over location.

A lot of time was spent touring London visiting the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Harrod's, Buckingham Palace, etc.  The hop-on-hop-off tour buses make getting around the city so easy.  We also took the train from Victoria Station to Hampton Courts, south of London.  The train ride is about 30 minutes and the Palace is just over the bridge from the train station.  It is a great day trip from London - and well worth it!

We returned to Brussels via the Eurostar and then caught a train to Bruges.  We would both highly recommend a visit to Bruges as it truly is the "Venice of Northern Europe".  Bruges is a midieval town dating back to the 1100s.  The city market is great for eating and shopping and bustling with lots of people.  If you have time, be sure to climb the bell tower for a great view of the city.  Be sure to take a boat ride in the canals...another great view of the city.  We also visited the Fry Museum and the Chocolate Museum.

Tip: While in Belgium, visit at least one chocolate musuem, eat the famous fries and waffles!  Check out the lace work too!  These are the things that make Belguim so memorable.

Our return flight was on Delta via New York/Kennedy which I had not connected through in a long, long time  The experience through Kennedy was wonderful and very easy.  My only complaint was the distance from the international terminal to our connection took about 20 minutes to walk so be sure you have enough connecting time and a good pair of shoes! JB

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