I was super excited to set up the Christmas tree this year. Steph and I went shopping weeks and weeks in advance, picking up some Christmas ornaments here and there. I was so excited, at our cheap store, they had all sorts of pretty rustic ornaments, made of wood and with animals. I know that mum had bought me some ornaments with deer on them and some twine, but I was really excited to have these pretty ornaments. I got these cute sparkly birds and pretty gold glitter pinecones which I
found at Primark! I always get so excited about Christmas! Josh and I went out and we bought a great Yankee Candle which smells just like a real Christmas tree! Now, I have the tree up and am ready for the Christmas season!
On Sunday, we had a really relaxing morning, and hung out with Kerstin's family. Before we left, Cathy gave us advent calanders that she had already filled with chocolate for us! It was so sweet and full of yummy stuff for every day in December.
Then, we headed off to their very cool science museum, which was all hands-on. It was so much fun, and thank goodness almost all of the explainations were in English! We had a lovely day, and got some food at the local Christmas Markets. Sadly we had to go home, and they were kind enough to drop us off at the train station. I was so sad, because I love seeing Kerstin, but they are heading to Florida in April for our wedding!
Since I moved to Germany, I have been waiting to visit Kerstin, my german pen pal, but our schedules haven't matched up yet. So finally, in November, we trained to meet her. And I was so excited - and to meet her boyfriend Stephan! It has been a whole year since I've seen her! We went to Hannover Zoo.
Hannover Zoo is a special place for us - every time I visit we go. And it's wonderful. But boy, was it cold! Seriously, seriously cold! It was pretty miserable in the end! So we headed home, and her mum Cathy had made all these millions and millions of little tiny cookies. So while the boys hung decorations, Kerstin and I iced and decorated all these cute cookies, putting sprinkles on them and dipping them in chocolate! It was so nice to be with her family, and really put me in the holiday spirit!
Our final stop on Sunday was the Atomium. It was built for the World Fair, and is just out of town. When we were younger, Shelby and I visited Mini Europe, and the Atomium - in the summer. It was so pretty and so much fun. Sadly, we visited the Atomium this time in the rain, but it did bring back so many nice memories! We walked around a little, and went into the very cool gift shop for a while before heading back into town, and catching our train home for school the next morning!
We kind of ran out of things to do in Brussels. We had intentions of going to Brugge, but because of the bad weather, it wasn't a smart move, so we walked around a little, saw a couple interesting things and then....well....we ran out of stuff to do. After scouring the internet while sat in a cafe, we learned that one of the top rated things to do in Brussels was take a chocolate tour. To do that, it costs 90 euros! So we decided we could do just as good a tour ourself! We found the chocolate district, where there are one of each of Belgium's finest chocolate shops. We went into each shop, and asked for their most popular chocolate, and bought it. It was so nice to try all these yummy chocolates, and there was even a Lauduree, so we got macaroons too!
The weather was a bit rubbish in Brussels during our time there. Lots of rain and lots of cloud, so we ended up inside some museums, as well as going bowling. It was fun, because it was glow bowling, but it was still a weird and fun thing to do regardless. We did a little bit of shopping, and walked
around the town a little bit more before heading back to the hostel. It was nice to have a little break and we tried to decide where to go for dinner. We settled on a nicely priced Chinese restaurant, which was very popular with everyone it seems! It was yummy, and then we headed back to the square. It was so, so beautiful at night! Of course there was a lot more people out and about, but the weather had cleared up, so there was a beautiful clear sky and some moonlight. The buildings are
lit up so beautifully! It really is one of the most beautiful squares that we have ever visited! It seemed like we had seen a lot of Brussels in just our first day there, so we went back to the hostel to plan some more sightseeing for the next day!
Lots of people, when you ask them, will say you should go to Brussels and try waffles. Well, of course we did. We took a break from the rainy, rainy day and found a cute little cafe called the Chocolate Cafe. We had to wait a while because it was a really popular place! And there were several types of waffles, chocolates to go on them, and toppings. We all tried something a little different, and they all were super yummy. Interestingly enough, when you ask lots of Germans,
they tell you to try the chips, because they are double fried or something like that, and come with tons of sauces. We had had them in Vienna before I think, but this was great to get Belgium frites right there! We found the most cliche tourist cafe ever for frites, but they were still amazingly yummy!
The Grand Palace is probably the most famous building in Brussels. I was so sad that when we first arrived at it in the morning, it was a) quite cloudy and b) jam packed with people, neither of which make for good photos. During our walk around town, we managed to arrive back at the square just when there was a break in the clouds for some glorious sunshine! It was perfect for a few snaps with my cousin Carly. I was so glad that we had gotten to document some of our fun travels together while she was in Europe!
It's not very often that we get to meet up with other people to travel. Often it is just us (we are the best adventuring pair), or with work collegues, so it was lovely to just spend more than one day with Carly, which is usually all we get time for at Christmas!
My cousin Carly was doing a semester abroad in Prague for the fall season. Since we had already been to Prague, we decided to meet up with her somewhere fun. We dediceded on Brussels because it was easy for everyone to get to. We set off Friday night on the train. It was a weird, weird train station, but we made it to the train station and then crashed. In the morning, we took a lovely walk around the city to get a feel for it. It was a great way to start the weekend!