Change of Plans

Thursday, February 05, 2015
Brussels, Belgium
Yesterday I took a walking tour of Brussels. It was free, but the guide accepts tips. Brussels is a nice city. It's clean and quiet and doesn't have a ton of traffic. The interesting thing is that it's kind of an island. Not really, but the lower half of Belgium is called Wallonia and influenced by the French, and the other section is called Flanders and influenced by the Dutch. Brussels is in the Flanders region and is torn. Every street sign is in French and Dutch. The
Grand Place is French for 'Big Square' and it's called Grote Markt in Dutch . So, it's kind of a city of conflict. Belgium is also a young country, by European standards. It wasn't an independent nation until 1830. It also started the European Union, which is a major thing.

The population is about 1.1 million, yet the central area is compact and very walkable. Belgians love their beer, frites and chocolate. We also shouldn't go to a restaurant and order 'French fries,' because they won't have them. They are frites and originated here.

Yesterday evening I went to a beautiful thermal spa in neighboring Grimbergen. There is an outdoor hot tub, two cooling pools, 2 saunas and a steam room. It was so relaxing and just what I needed for my cold and on this trip. The changing area was co-ed, but I did notice some changing rooms. It also wasn't very busy, which was nice. It was so awesome to be outside in a hot tub while looking at the stars.  
After a nice dinner of steak, frites and red wine last evening, I checked out of my room and made my way to my last residence on this trip . My original plan was to head to Brugge today, stay for two nights, come back to Brussels for Saturday night and depart Sunday. But part of me, with the way I am feeling, just didn't want to do all that moving. So I decided to stay in Brussels the next three nights at a residence through airbnb. I will probably do a day trip to Brugge tomorrow and possibly one to Antwerp on Saturday. But, I don't have to. My other reservations are canceled and I had nothing set in stone these last few days. This is kind of a big change for me, as I normally stick to my plans to the T. But, with my nose still stuffed up and feeling achy and with my ears plugged, if I feel like sleeping tomorrow, I will. Of course, I probably won't, but the idea is that the option is there if I want it. 

 I am at Lora's flat right now (she left me a key at the hotel last night), and I just did a load of laundry. I should've waited until tonight when she was home, as the laundry words are in French, but I hit some buttons and hoped for the best. The thing was running for an hour, when I finally got out my google translate app and tried to figure out why my clothes were in the 24-hour marathon washing machine. Finally, I reset it and hit something that looked like "15 minute express." That did it, clothes washed (I hope), and spun. I hung them up in my room to dry on what looks like to be a drying rack?  

I'm going to head out in a bit, back to Brussels central. I want to check out some places I saw on the tour yesterday, maybe get some coffee or a beer, and try some mussels.  

Thanks for reading!



Audrey Perry

Jamie, sounds like you're having another fun adventure. Thanks for the posts, I enjoy reading them all. Sorry about the cold, never fun, especially on the road. Great that your plans could be changed up at the last minute. I'm a planner too and usually stick to the itinerary, but I need to remember to leave room for options.


Not like me at all, either, but I just want to take things day by day. It's also exhausting packing up the suitcase, lugging it somewhere, checking in, packing it up, etc. I'm kind of liking the day trip thing.