Highlights Of My European Vacation In Brussels And Bremen

If you saw my Weekly Wrap post, you know that last week I was on vacation in Europe. If you’ve known me for a while, you know I am horrible at planning vacations, so when my son had an opportunity to study abroad this summer, one of my first thoughts was that it would make vacation planning easy! I even let him plan our itinerary, which is how we ended up spending the weekend in Brussels before we headed to Bremen where he is studying.

Brussels Grand Place At Night

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium

I could go on and on about my European vacation, but I’ll try to focus on five things  for the Friday Five  link up hosted at Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness.

Five Things About My European Vacation

1. The Grand Place in Brussels is gorgeous any time of day, but simply amazing at night, as you can see from the picture above.

2. Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert in Brussels is similar to a high-end shopping mall but 90% of the stores are fine chocolatiers–most of which offer free samples.

Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert Brussels

3. When you watch the Tour de France on a flat section on the first day, the riders zoom by!

My son’s girlfriend has family ties in Neuss, which was on the route for Sunday’s stage. We took the train from Brussels to Düsseldorf, checked our bags at the Düsseldorf train station, and continued on to Neuss, where her family met us at the train station, escorted us to the route, joined us for a late lunch, and gave us a tour of the town!

4. Most of the old buildings in Germany were destroyed by bombs in World War II, but many really old buildings remain, and provide unique insight into what life was like hundreds of years ago. 

This is the Obertor (southern gate) in Neuss, which is one of six original gates in the wall that surrounded the city in medieval times. It was built around 1200! 

5. There’s more to Bremen than I ever imagined! It’s location straddling the Weser River about 40 miles south of the North Sea made it an important city for trading and politics. We visited museums, churches–including one with mummies in a lead vault!–quaint shops on old cobblestone streets, parks, cafes, and a restaurant established in 1405. 



Obviously, I have more than five things to say about our vacation–ask me to tell you more when we get together for coffee in a few weeks! And, if you didn’t see my Weekly Wrap post, check it out for scenes from my runs in Bremen.

Do you enjoy planning vacations?

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30 Responses to Highlights Of My European Vacation In Brussels And Bremen

  1. Every one of these places is high on my list! Such a beautiful area.

  2. Looks like it was a wonderful trip! I’m always impressed that those structures are still standing after all these years.

    Did you try any Belgian beers?
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…5 Random Tales from the RoadMy Profile

  3. Zenaida says:

    I am still amazed at how beautiful it is there!

    Sadly no I do not like planning vacations.

  4. I would love to see some of those old buildings in Germany! My Nana grew up in Germany during the war.
    This trip sounds amazing and so educational. Would love to check out all the free chocolate samples too! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I have not been to Brussels in many years. I do remember lots of pretzels and chocolate though. Looks like you all had a fantastic time

  6. Very beautiful! While I consider myself good at planning vaycays, I would not even know where to begin when it comes to traveling abroad. But trips in the states? I’m good with that! I’m glad you had a great time. Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Looks like a fabulous trip (and I know this is just a tiny glimpse of it). I have never been out of the US (other than our honeymoon in Cancun and a brief over-nighter in Canada), so my (foreign) travel experience is definitely lacking. Our daughter went on a 2-week European trip last summer (just after graduating college), and still talks about it.
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Flashbacks and FOMOMy Profile

  8. Darlene says:

    How beautiful. I have never been to Belgium- only passed through on the train.
    Darlene recently posted…Friday Five 2.0 – The Working RunnerMy Profile

  9. I love planning vacations! Or just dreaming about them, can’t say as I really planned much for our last one — life was too busy, but it all worked out.

    Sounds like it was a wonderful vacation.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…5 Reasons to be a Killer BMy Profile

  10. So beautiful! Thanks for sharing your pics!

  11. Teresa says:

    Absolutely beautiful pictures! I love European countries and all of the magnificent history they hold! That southern gate is just amazing …..and seeing some of the Tour de France riders??? How cool is that! Maybe one day ….
    Teresa recently posted…Cycling 101: What You DON’T NeedMy Profile

  12. Lesley says:

    I was in a German coastal town during a cruise, and our tour guide showed us what the town square looked like after WWII. I think there were 2 or 3 buildings still standing, and they had to build up everything else. I love it when I see old old structures, and knowing all the history it has.

  13. Karen says:

    It all looks so pretty and I love seeing the different architecture…looks pretty story book like to me 🙂
    Sounds like a great adventure and you really got to see a lot!!
    I’ve never been across the pond!

  14. vicki says:

    It looks so pretty there! Great pictures, how exciting to see the Tour de France in person!

  15. Just to visit a place with that kind of history would be awesome. I love planning trips, from getting an airbnb to checking out what great local pizza joints are around, to seeing if the home team has a ballgame while we’re in town.

  16. Looks like you got to see so many great things! Sounds like an amazing trip.

  17. You had me at fine chocolate mall.
    Abby @BackatSquareZero recently posted…A Scary Foot InjuryMy Profile

  18. Renée says:

    nice! I obviously haven’t been keeping up very well with your blog or I’d have known you were slightly in the neighbourhood!

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