By popular demand, this week’s post is something a little different. Those of you who follow me on twitter might have spotted that last Saturday I travelled up to Belgium for the #BxlTweetUp (and to visit the city, it’s the first time I’ve been), so here’s a little review of what I got up to…
On arriving in Brussels, I headed straight for the TweetUp, where I met the very lovely Emeline and Marie in person for the first time. We chatted about all things translation, ranging from work-life balance to LinkedIn to professional development (thanks again Marie for the heads-up on the Medical Translation Conference in October!). It was a really great opportunity to talk to other translators, and if there is a meet-up organised near you, I definitely advise you to check it out! Sadly some of the other translators I was looking forward to meeting couldn’t make it, so I guess I’ll have to come to another meet-up in the Spring!
After we parted ways, I wandered around the city for a while, heading to the Grand Place. It’s the first time I’ve been in a truly bilingual city, and I loved hearing and reading (well, attempting to read the Dutch) the mixture of languages around me.
Next stop, a cute bar (okay, so it was an Irish pup showing the football) for a Kriek (or two…) and then we headed for dinner. This is where I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of mussels, so I skipped those, but I have it on good authority that they were as good as was hoped! And the frites I can personally vouch for – far superior to French fries ;o) We had managed to choose what must be the only restaurant in Brussels which doesn’t do gaufres, so desert was a crepe flambéed with Gran Marnier – one of my favourites.
The next day, we went out exploring a bit more of the city. We strolled to the Palais Royale (the gardens must be lovely in the Summer!), and then got the metro to the European buildings. I have to say I’m not one to be impressed by buildings, but the European Commission and Parliament are worth seeing. They are huge, modern and really quite imposing – unfortunately as it was Sunday there were no tours of the inside, but if I get the chance I would love to look around!
After all of that sightseeing, it was time for lunch back in the city centre. I had the carbonnade, which the waiter explained as ‘boeuf bourguignon without the bourguignon. With beer.’ Sold. And more chips, of course. Too full for desert straight away, we wandered the short distance to the (in)famous Mannekin Pis statue for some silly photos before (finally!) getting Belgian waffles with caramel sauce – so worth the wait! – and then heading home.
Overall, Brussels really exceeded my expectations – despite being quite big, it’s easy to get around, at least in the centre, and I found being in a multi-lingual, international city really refreshing. Hopefully I’ll be able to time another visit in the Spring to match up with another #BxlTweetUp, and maybe even meet some more of you there!