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A 24-Hour Solo Adventure Through Brussels

When you think of Brussels, three things come to mind: a rich history, vibrant culture, and tasty food. Solo travellers have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in these aspects. One moment, they could explore the fascinating history museums and the next, they could indulge in authentic Belgian chocolate while witnessing a live demonstration.


Just by considering this, it becomes clear how Brussels can cater to the diverse interests of solo travellers. Even if they are just interested in sprouts, they can find some unique experience revolving around this green vegetable. Brussels is a city that never fails to intrigue solo travellers, offering many unique experiences waiting to be discovered.


My 24-hour solo adventure in Brussels was a journey of self-discovery. It opened my eyes to what this city truly has to offer. This recount of my experiences in that 24 hours explains how this happened and how it has made me consider returning for more (it is, after all, only a 2-hour Eurostar train journey from London). Brussels makes you feel like you belong, even if it's just for a whole 24 hours.


I arrive at Brussels Nord train station and begin the short stroll to the Sleep Well Youth Hostel I booked beforehand. Having reached this hostel I check in and head up to the room where my bed for the night is situated. After unpacking, the time is approaching for me to head to a local restaurant for


The hostel in Brussels, which I stayed in for the night


I prepare to head out and then walk over to a restaurant that is one of the most highly rated in Brussels. The restaurant is called ‘The Blue’, which makes me think about the rarest form of cooking a steak. As it happens, upon being seated at my table, I discover that steak was available on the menu. What is also available is the vast amount of banter delivered by the servers, especially as they tease diners when setting down coasters and pints of beer.


I order a prime sirloin steak to be cooked medium rare, and upon its arrival, my hunger increases dramatically. No one can go wrong with a medium rare steak bursting with flavour and accompanied by chips, oven-cooked peppers, and courgettes, all accompanied by a pint of Stella Artois.


The prime sirloin steak at The Blue Restaurant


After tucking into this delicious steak and settling the bill, I depart The Blue and wander around Brussels City Centre's streets. The stroll I embark on opens my eyes to how busy the nightlife is becoming, especially as I approach the Grand Place Market Square. The night sky is illuminated thanks to the lighting from this market square, and the sight of hundreds of tourists indicates it to be a significant evening attraction.


The Grand Place Market Square in Brussels City Centre


From this Market Square, I head across it towards Rue Au Buere. Several chocolate shops line this pedestrianised streets, one of which has its own chocolate waterfall. While wandering through the streets of Brussels City Centre, I stop by the Casco Café for a pint of Kriek Mort Subite lager. After sitting outside watching the passers-by, I move on to the Bonnefooi Café around the corner from Casco.


A band plays live jazz music as the few present punters, including myself, jive along while drinking lager. After enjoying the music, I call it a night and head back to my hostel, knowing the next day will be another busy day of touring Brussels.


The following day arrives after what feels like an eternity of a night. I tuck into my breakfast, which is included in my hostel stay, and I then ensure that I am packed and ready to check out. The Sleep Well Hostel includes luggage storage with no costs implemented. I take advantage of this by dropping my suitcase off and spending the remainder of my 24 hours exploring Brussels more.


Not far from the hostel is the Comics Art Museum, which displays all forms of art from the best comic books and novels that Belgium provides readers. Upon entering and paying the €10 entry fee, I # stroll around the museum. Exhibits here include characters from my favourite collection of comic novels, The Adventures of Tintin. Other exhibits include displays from The Smurfs and all other Belgian comic characters. I immediately feel like I’m living my childhood days again, mainly thanks to the Tintin exhibits, given that I read these comic novels as a child.


The Tintin exhibits at the Comic Arts Museum


After marvelling at the exhibits, I depart the museum to begin a hunt for a giant Smurf, which is displayed outside a comic character figurines store. Sure enough, and with the help of Google Maps, I finally come across this giant Smurf, also known as Statue du Schtroumpf in Luxembourgish. It has a welcoming facial expression that it passes on to visitors to the figurine store.


The happy giant Smurf sat on a toadstool outside the figurine store


My reward for finding this Smurf is a Liège Waffle from the Brussels branch of Waffle Factory, a short walk from the statue. I purchase this waffle and sit at a table where I can peer out the window while consuming it delightfully. The Liège waffle is not overly sweet, even though it has a decent amount of chocolate. There are even mini Easter eggs to resemble Waffle Factory’s celebration of Easter. My first brush with authentic Belgian chocolate, and being a chocoholic, I am eager to taste more.


The Liège waffle I sampled at the Brussels Waffle Factory


This is where my trip to the Choco-Story Museum comes in handy, and a €13.98 ticket grants me access to the museum. It gives me a deep dive into the history of chocolate, thanks to an audio guide handed to me at the start of the self-guided tour. Tastings at this museum are also available as I navigate my way to the tastings area. I feel like I’m in heaven, tasting as much chocolate before me as I can consume. I tell myself, however, to only taste it and not wolf it all down.


A demonstration occurs in the next room, where a chocolatier displays skill in moulding melted chocolate and chilling it before bashing it onto the worktop. She also provides another tasting opportunity for those wishing to try more chocolate.


The chocolate demonstration, delivered by a chocolatier at Choco-Story


My 24 hours in Brussels are coming to an end, and I round it off by visiting a chocolate shop near the museum. I purchase boxes of chocolate truffles and smaller boxes of chocolate for an excellent deal, around the €25 mark. I then take these boxes of chocolate with me on the way over to Brussels Midi station, where my 24 hours in Brussels end.


Departing Brussels, I am thankful that it showed me why it is a good city for a solo traveller to spend 24 hours in. It can also be concluded that it is a good starting point for those from the UK who wish to have a taste for solo travelling for the first time.

 

The Travelling Foodie’s Facts and Figures


  • My bed at the Sleep Well Youth Hostel was £34, which is around €39.62. Other accommodation options are available, including hotels for those wishing for their room.

  • The prime sirloin steak at The Blue restaurant is €27.90. It certainly is worth the price for a good quality steak in Brussels.

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