Train travel is the ideal way to see Europe.
We know. Why? Because that is exactly how we are exploring this corner of the world at the moment with our First Class Eurail Pass.
Getting to Brussels
Bus vs Train
We’ve taken the bus from London, U.K. to Lille, France.
Firstly – The bus company wouldn’t allow us to reserve seats, so we were stuck one row from the back (not good for anyone that experiences travel sickness).
Second – The coach companies have no office, only the internet where you book yourself, unlike Europe’s great International offices.
Third – You can’t take on the normal hand luggage size bag – that has to be checked as baggage.
Fourth – Traffic jams and road delays mean you can arrive anytime – totally unpredictable.
Fifth – The bus drops you off in the street – no matter what the weather.
Sixth – The toilet is tiny, overflowing and horrid, unlike the lovely ones on the train.
We change to the train at Lille and then it is an easy ride into Brussels, Belgium.
Hop Off The Train – Perfect Location
We literally walked off the train at the station! The station almost feels like an indoor shopping center with ATM, money changers, shops, restaurants and more.
The without even exiting outside, we enter into the hotel reception area! How perfect is that?
We check into the hotel. It has been a really long day. I was up in London at 5:00 a.m. and although we have lost an hour after changing countries, it feels like a VERY long day. I’m glad the check-in process was swift!
We loved the ultra modern decor, and it was pretty fun to see they even have a herb garden out the front. Apparently, it is an innovative idea in Brussels, and you can vote on Twitter. I love the fact the bar and kitchen really do offer fresh herbs ‘straight from their garden’.
Our Comfy Room
We loved the twin beds and the large relaxation area in our room. As always, Pullman did not disappoint with their toiletries and room features.
There are even free drinks in the room refrigerator provided!
Brussels Christmas Markets and Old Town
Famous for their Christmas Markets, Brussels really ‘went to town’ this year.
Two and a half kilometers of Christmas.
We tried to do it all but missed some events.
You’ll be astounded at all there is to see and do – too much to describe so look at a few of our photos below.
Here is just a few of the activities and events…
Light and Sound from 5:00 pm shines on the old square buildings.
There is also Video Mapping on the church from 6:00 pm.
Heaps of tastings at the Christmas Markets.
There is even Ice skating.
And see-saws for kids and adults that light up when you bump.
And of course countless Christmas stalls.
But for the grand finish, head to the end of the Christmas Market and enjoy the Giant Slide and Big Wheel! The view from the Big Wheel is fantastic!
Did you know one of Europe’s largest open-air markets is in Brussels? And it is right out the front door of the Pullman Brussels Centre Midi each Sunday. I made the mistake of spending too long enjoying breakfast but was glad I went. I raced around!
And thank goodness, because we will be ‘hitting the snow’ at the end of this week and I need to finish ‘kitting us out’ with caps, hats, ski gloves and snow boots. I managed to find a new pair of size 45 snow boots for fifteen Euro for Explorason.
I loved seeing an old guy play the piano accordion outside one of the side cafés. It was like Europe of yesteryear.
One of the other great reasons you might want to consider staying at the Pullman Brussels Centre Midi is for the incredible breakfast.
Not only is it expansive, but it also has long weekend hours – finishing time is 11:00 a.m., so should you have a late night out, this is the perfect place for a Sunday sleep in, followed by breakfast that really is more of a brunch.
My favorite dish was Belgium Waffles with Goats Cheese and dried fruit – it was so nice!
Rewarded with a drink! Planet 21
On Sunday we decided to give the environment a helping hand. Planet 21 is an initiative of Pullman and by selecting our room NOT to be cleaned, we were presented with a ten Euro voucher to use at the bar.
This was perfect for us to end our time here.
We left very early Monday morning as we were using our Eurail Pass to get to Germany, and the hotel even provided a healthy packed breakfast for our train journey!
Eurail: Eurail Pass
Train Station: Brussels Midi
Brussels Tourism: Visit Brussels
Website: Pullman Brussels Midi Centre
Hotel Address: Place Victor Horta 1, 1060 Brussels, Belgium