It’s been a long time coming
I’m over the moon right now. A few months ago, I was still in a pit hole of self doubt, depression and anxiety.
I couldn’t have possibly imagined to travel with my diseases, let alone to actively pursue my dreams.
But we’re here.
I made a promise to myself to be a force to be reckoned with, to fight, to let go and everything changed. Just by acknowledging the signs of my body, but not let them be limitations.
That’s what I want YOU to do. To strive for what makes you happy. To take charge of your own life.
Travelling has been put in my genes. My origins lead back to African-Asian-German and whatever descent.
Travelling has always made me feel connected to ‘my roots’ wherever they are. We’re supposed to feel our souls expanding. Travelling does that to me.
Why I chose Brussels to be my first travel destination
My number 1 excuse was always my disease. I said, I wasn’t capable to do it, I wouldn’t have enough energy, I wouldn’t have food my stomach might tolerate, I would be a burden on my friends.
See, these are all negative thought patterns and although there was a time I wouldn’t have any energy to do more than just lie in bed, that was a long time ago.
So, I didn’t declare this as my resolution at the beginning of the year, but I whispered myself this promise one night:
Nirina, you already did “the unmanageable”!
You created this blog out of nothing.
You started to study again with a totally different approach.
You found back to your passion: photography.
Heck, you even tried to include regular exercising again.
So what are you afraid of?
Isn’t a negative reaction to food exactly the same here as it would be anywhere else in the world?
Why don’t you take a leap of faith and just try, try to let go of your ‘limitations’?
And so I did. I planned trips, first in my head, then with my calendar and lastly with my friends.
Friends is the big word here. Because I have the most amazing friends ever!
My best friend who lives and studies in Brussels literally sprinted to visit me over 2 years ago, when my gastritis wasn’t even diagnosed yet.
She tried to comfort me, to make me laugh and take away my worries. Why wouldn’t she do it again, especially if it’s just a tiny possibility I could have a really bad reaction.
It was out of discussion that Brussels would be the beginning. The beginning of saying: “Universe, whatever you throw at me. I won’t break. You’re only fueling ambition and persistence. You’re actually kicking my ass, to become who I’m supposed to be!”
On February 15th, I took the bus to Brussels.
And here’s what happened:
My best friend was supposed to have university courses and because I’ve already been to some with her when I’ve visited her 3 years ago, I know, I would be pretty bored (her courses are in Dutch).
So, I booked a 2 and a half hour walking tour. SANDEMAN Tours offer these for FREE, because they believe everybody should have the access to cultural knowledge despite their income.
For me, this was perfect, I could snap a few pics of monuments my best friend sees everyday anyways and I would learn about the historic past of Brussels interactively.
Yes, Tripadvisor didn’t lie. Their tours are awesome! My guide was Scottish, full of dark humor and very entertaining. But what amazed me the most: You could see how passionate he was about his job!
Even if it was free, I decided to pay for it. If a service is done well by a waiter, you’re supposed to tip generously, too. And I think Fraser deserved a big tip for this tour. Ultimately, it’s your decision. Just keep in mind. They’re sacrificing their time voluntarily to give you the BEST city experience ever!
So, whatever European city you are visiting. Be sure to check out SANDEMAN Tours!
CHOCOLATES, WAFFLES & FRITES
I think it’s not a secret that Belgians are producing one of the tastiest chocolates in the whole world.
Everywhere you go on Grand Place, the owners are practically waiting for you to fatten you with their treats. So, taste some pralines, truffles and other indulgences. And bring some as souvenirs for your friends and family!
Ah, waffles. This time around I didn’t eat waffles, mainly, because I tried other foods instead.
But I stumbled upon the place I went years ago and the waffles were heavenly. I topped them with fresh strawberries, bananas and chocolate syrup. I remember it just like it was yesterday.
If you don’t like to sit down to eat, don’t be afraid to just grab one on the go while strolling through the city either :)
I can’t really give you a personal recommendation on this one, since I only remember eating Frites (don’t you dare order french fries (they WILL be mad!) directly at Place Flagey.
But right after the best Frites-place which is located 8km away from the city, the best location where you can get them, right in the heart of Brussels, is at Fritland (kudos to my tour guide).
Like I said, this time I tried some new foods/restaurants. Like for example, we made sushi by ourselves on Friday and pancakes on Sunday.
But, of course, I intended to eat out, to. And since I’m still only eating vegetarian, we looked for suitable options.
Our choice landed on Yi Chan, a Vietnamese restaurant with a few veggie options. I would have preferred to try a vegan place, because I randomly saw one on my tour. But unfortunately, they were all closed either because of private events or because they close at 7 pm the latest (why though?!).
In the first picture below you can see dim sum which I tried for the first time. I’m in love!
Maybe, I get to go next time.
If you know me, it’s no surprise that me travelling comes hand in hand with photographing.
I enjoy portrait photography the most, because, let’s be honest, food doesn’t really invoke deep feelings other than hunger/appetite.
But people, people do.
So, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret.
I managed to find some volunteer “models” and took ah-mazing shots. Sorry, but I’m so proud I’m able to gain experience in this and actually become smarter, faster and more versatile.
You will see the shots on my instagram @vam_po soon! So, if you don’t follow me yet, now’s the time.
Let’s just say, a lot will change. I predicted this. I’m a chaotic person 😀
And, as I promised you in my first challenge post, if the opportunity ever presents itself again to go clubbing, I will take it.
We went to a place called “Bazaar” for a 90’s hip-hop party.
The music was ok, not really 90’s hip-hop, the audience was entertaining and we almost stayed until closing, so yeah, quite a night 😀
And before I forget. I had quite a bad reaction to some chips I ate on Friday which gutted me (no, it wasn’t our selfmade sushi 😀 ). But I recovered quickly and wouldn’t have traded in my trip for anything.
Do what scares you! Do it until it doesn’t scare you anymore!
Thank you Brussels for igniting my fire again.
As always, feel free to leave a question, comment or constructive criticism below.
I hope you like my blog expanding into new directions. I, for one, feel so much excitement!
This post practically wrote itself. And I love to share my photography.
Okay, enough now.
Love you guys,