So okay, now that my PTSD from New Years is about over, and it seems my writers block has dissipated (thank God) I can write about my experience in Belgium and Amsterdam for New Years :).
Stayed: Hotel Brussels & in the Museumkwartier in Amsterdam
Duration: 3 days between Brussels & Amsterdam
When: New Years weekend Good For: a fun time in either
One of the hardest decisions I had to make when I got here was where I was going to spend New Years. At this point, I’ve had so many blah New Years and they all usually end up being anti-climatic. BUT this year was going to be my first New Years in Europe so BOOM where to go. Went to google, my friend and I both agreed Amsterdam would be fun, but I had never been to Brussels and was a bit intrigued so we decided to spend New Years Eve, eve in Brussels, then to take a late bus to Amsterdam NYE.
I caught an early flight to Brussels, couldn’t check in early, so I left my baggage with the hotel and on the spot booked a free walking tour. My hotel wasn’t in the city center, so I took about a 40minute stroll into the city (15min by bus). The main city frame of Brussels was quite small so if you wanted to see the whole city in the day you could. I’d suggest staying in the city center if it’s feasible or if you’re going to be in town for a short amount of time. The public transit system works rather well and I believe ran pretty late so if you do stay a bit out of the center thats not bad either way. Overall I fell very much in love with the city center of Brussels, I had an amazing time that first day… until the next day where I ended up having to catch the bus in the sketchiest neighborhood by Station Noord. My wallet was lost or stolen, a guy asked me if I was interested in being one of the prostitutes in the window, and random fire crackers or something kept being set off in the middle of the streets literally at my feet.
My friend and I missed about 5 buses, but then were finally on our way to Amsterdam, which from Brussels was only about a 3 hour drive. At this point it’s pretty late, around 10pm NYE night. Cab fares we´re ridiculously high (literally had to pile 4 of us in the cab to get a decent fare). We check into our hotel which was practically in the center in the “museum quarters” (like a 2 block walk), this hotel was closer than our last one to the center, not that it mattered this time.
I have always loved Belgium Waffles and Belgium Beer. So before even getting there I knew these where the things I needed. After my tour of Brussels it was then expressed very clearly that not only do I need the beer and the waffles but I needed the fries, chocolate and the mussels. So I went on a hunt for each of these.
First was the beer, it was recommended that I must have “Trappist” beer (Trappist beer is beer made by Monks in a monastery, and since there is no profit being made typically cheap.) It was suggested to have either Rochefort, Chimay, or Westvletteren Trappist Beer. I had some, not sure which one I got (I’m not gonna lie I ended up getting quite drunk) but they were indeed strong and indeed not expensive.
Although there are tons of places that will have excellent gourmet (I guess) waffles there are tons of waffle trunks all over and I was told they´re just as good. So I spend €1.50 and got a waffle with caramel from a trunk.. and it was orgasmic..
Also to the same effect, I´m sure you can get 5star mussels from a number of restaurants, but this street vendor was tossing and seasoning these babies with love, and he is where I gave my attention to. This too was pretty good (I´ve had better but still good).
The Club Scene
In Brussels after the walking tour, me and a few people from it decided to get some drinks. Everyone kept reccomending I go to Delirium Cafe, which is known for good music and cheap craft beers. So we stopped in there for a second but it indeed was very crowded so didn´t stay long. After that we went to Roosters Bar an American bar that had good drinks and good music. After that I’m pretty sure we ended up just hopping around a bit and drinking in the street. I left to meet up with my friend who was joining me and I had made plans to meet up with people I had met from the walking tour. They were doing a bar crawl (and you’re going to hate me for this), I cannot remember for the life of me what bars we ended up going to. It was through the Brussels Pub Crawl and cost €15, and with that we hopped to a bunch of bars/clubs and got €1 beers. The bars from what I remember were tons of fun, but that could be because of the loads of alcohol that was had or the fact that the people I was with were extremely fun. I do remember this one bar Nua which was quite fun. Upstairs was a good mix of music and downstairs there was karaoke, which for me was perfect.
In Amsterdam, for NYE we went to Loveland. Loveland is a typical electronic festival in the Netherlands. It was located in a big warehouse type of place with I believe 3 different stages. I mostly stayed in the basement one it was moreso the electronic music I prefer, and I liked the intimacy it provided. The other stages were great as well though. They were much bigger rooms and the thing with those type of stages is the energy is amazing and I love getting to the highest point and looking at the crowd. Similarly to Smeerboel the money system worked on chips. You would trade in your cash to get chips/coins in order to purchase drinks and food. They had good munchie food options, burgers, hot dogs, some other stuff I dont remember. From what I do remember the food wasnt great lol but enough for when you’re drunk. Great vibes, I would definietly recommend it to anyone who’s into electronic
This was a short trip, three full days between both places. But within that time, in Brussels I was able to go on the walking tour which allotted me to see The Grand Place. Tin Tin´s wall, Manneken Pis, La Bourse, The Saint Nicolas Church, Rue des Bouchers, The Saint Huberts Galleries, The Saint Michelle Cathedral, The Royal Park, The Royal Palace, The Royal Square, and more.
I got to learn a lot about the history behind Brussels, which was refreshing since prior to coming my knowledge of Brussels history was non-existent.
With Amsterdam, this would be my 3rd time there (well second technically) and I only had a day so I did a few things I hadn´t done before. I had FINALLY found the IAMsterdam sign, and went to a sex show at Casa Rosso which was interesting. Here is a quick summary of that because people always ask:
Yes, it was live and it was real. It works in I believe, hour intervals. There’s first a strip tease, then live sex, then a strip tease, then live sex again. Short intermission music breaks between scenes and after the 4 “acts” theres like a 30min break till the next set. I went alone, it wasn’t that weird. It was mostly either group of friends or couples, noone was doing anything weird. The first stripper was good, the second one was a bit weird. The first sex act was with two people who didnt seem attracted to each other and it looked very blah, the second act was very attractive and looked more organic.
All in all I had a good time. There were definetly highlights of my trip, but losing a purse with ID´s, passports, money, and personal items in it can put a damper on any trip.