24 hours in Brussels

I have been doing a lot of short trips recently. I went to Turin for the day in order to take the last ever British Airways 737 scheduled flight, a couple of days in Holland to visit the Delft pottery museum and the usual trip in February to Barcelona for Formula One Winter Testing.

Again, the trip to Brussels was for a special occasion, this time to see French tenor Amaury Vassili perform in the Belgian capital, on a leg of a mainly French tour promoting his former album, a collection of songs by French-Israeli singer Mike Brant.

The one thing I didn’t take into account when planning the trip was the significance of Armistice Day in Belgium.  In the UK, we just hold a two minute silence while we go about our normal day jobs, but in Belgium nearly everything was closed, in the centre of the city anyway.

Still, the centre of the city I believe is an undiscovered gem, often overlooked by the widely visited Bruges – a little further to the north and a short train journey from Belgian capital.

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You can still see all the sights though, including the famous central square:

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It was the evening though, that I really went to the city for, staying at the Hilton Brussels Grand Place, close to the Central Train Station in Brussels, and also near the concert venue – the Cirque Royal. It is certainly worth staying there given the very convenient location, and the proximity to many restuarants and the centre of the old town. However, since it has been taken over by Hilton from the Meridien group, it will need a bit of TLC, with old age showing though in parts despite the impressive lobby.

The concert was excellent though, even if my age group was in a minority. It is great to combine experiances you woudn’t have at home when travelling, and that includes going to events which are not in your native language.

A couple of previews from the concert including Amaury singing Queen’s hit song ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’:

Don’t forget about Brussels, whether you are flying or going to Europe on the Eurostar, it really is an interesting city worth a little of your time. Yes, it might not be as beautiful as Bruges, or have the lure of Paris, but it makes for a different short break.

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