A Very Brussels New Year

A Very Brussels New Year

At the end of 2019, I took a trip to celebrate the new year in the lovely city of Brussels.

On New Year’s Eve, I took the Eurostar and arrived at Brussels Gare-du-Midi station mid-afternoon. I caught the metro to Madou and walked the short distance to my hotel on Rue du Nord.

Places to go in Brussels
My first glimpse of Brussels

Hotel Sabina wasn’t the most attractive place I have ever stayed, but the owners were friendly, my attic-room was comfortable and there was a free breakfast every day. In any case, I wasn’t there to stay in my room the whole time.

Places to stay in Brussels
Hotel Sabina

I checked in, dumped my bags and went off to explore the city.

The city centre is a 15-minute walk from the hotel and there is lots to see on the way. As this was December, there were lots of Christmas trees to see – although artificial, I thought this one looked pretty in the tree-lined square..

Things to see in Brussels
Christmas in Brussels

Walking along Rue du Congres, you will see the Congress Column..

Things to see in Brussels
Rue du Congres

..with its statue of Belgium’s first monarch, King Leopold I at the top..

Things to see in Brussels
Congress Column

Next, a quick hoof around St Michael & St Gudula Cathedral..

Things to see in Brussels
Things to see in Brussels

I love the traditional Belgian buildings..

Things to see in Brussels
Traditional buildings

There are so many pretty little squares in Brussels – like Agoraplein..

The streets are busy which makes for a lively atmosphere..

Things to see in Brussels
Rue de la Montagne

Finally, at one of Brussels top sights – the Grand Place with its spectacular buildings..

The courtyard of the Gothic town hall is also beautiful..

There is a lot of street art in the city like this staircase on Rue de I’Etuve..

Things to see in Brussels
Street art

One of Brussels top attractions is the Mannekin Pis – a 17th century bronze statue of a little boy peeing!

Things to see in Brussels
Mannekin Pis

Onwards through the streets getting busier by the minute – don’t forget it’s New Year’s Eve..

Lovely buildings around every corner..

I came across this long line of people eager to try some delicious, traditional Belgian fries at Fritland..

Things to see in Brussels
Queuing for traditional Belgian fries!

In December, Brussels hosts its very own Christmas market with stalls full of traditional food and drinks, crafts and souvenirs..

The Bourse – the Brussels Stock Exchange – housed in this grand building located in the second-most important square after the Grand Place..

Things to see in Brussels
Brussels Stock Exchange

Exploring some more, I found Halles Saint-Gery a cute building which used to be the old market hall, but now used as a bar/restaurant and events venue..

Things to see in Brussels
Halles Saint-Gery

There is an animal counterpart of the Mannekin Pis – the Het Zinneke or The Mutt..

There is also a female version – Jeanneke Pis..

Things to see in Brussels
Jeanneke Pis

I decide to walk away from the city centre to see the only canal that runs through Brussels – the Brussels Canal which separates the city from the district of Molenbeek. The streets grew relatively quieter the further I walked..

Things to see in Brussels
Brussels Canal

Back in the city, I head to Place Saint-Catherine which was buzzing with people enjoying the market stalls and getting ready for the evening’s celebrations..

Things to see in Brussels

After exploring for a few hours, I went in search of food before settling in a bar with a bottle of red..

Places to go in Brussels
New Year Eve drinks

I was more than happy sitting outside on the street people watching, but it was bloody freezing. I went inside to warm up and got chatting to the owner. After a while, everyone had left and I was the only customer. The guy had already told me that it wasn’t that safe at night and that I had to be careful on the way back! That was just before he pulled the shutters down and I was alone with this guy and his brother. I started to feel really uncomfortable. He then started ranting about politics – that’s all you need on New Year’s Eve – so I made my excuses and walked quickly back to my hotel.

I don’t think I stayed up to see the New Year in, but I was happy that I was safe and warm again!

That little incident didn’t mar my trip to Brussels, it really is a lovely city and the best thing about it, I was spending the next day with my friend Chris!

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