I am a mere three hours away from one of the most beautiful city centers in Europe.
Who knew? Up until last weekend, I certainly didn’t. The stars aligned by allowing me to have a much needed day to myself, and I chose to spend it at PlannerCon Europe in Brussels, Belgium. I was lucky enough to win a ticket off Facebook, and even luckier to be able to use it considering all of the weekends Zach has been working lately. Finally, he had one off! And while I probably wouldn’t pay to go to a convention devoted to daily planners, I certainly enjoyed having the opportunity to go to one for free. There were workshops and vendors, freebies and washi tape. Eee!
I left the house before six, and I was in another country before the sun made its appearance on the horizon. I arrived in Brussels after roughly the same amount of time it used to take me to drive from Wichita to Tulsa, but the experience of traveling between countries is very different than traveling from state to state. Belgium has three official languages. The least commonly spoken is German. Primarily, they speak French and Dutch. Both are completely foreign to me. I speak enough German to get by, and in a place like Brussels, I perpetually embarrass myself by accidently speaking the wrong language. (“Sprechen sie Englisch? Err, I mean, Parlez-vous?”)
After spending most of my day at the convention itself, I ventured out to buy some coffee and chocolate before heading home. My quest brought me to the city’s Grand Place, or central square. I couldn’t believe what I had essentially stumbled upon by simply trying to find a Starbucks. The gold accents on the buildings make Brussels unique to any other major city in Europe that I’ve seen. It had its usual downsides—kind of crowded, kind of dirty—but overall, in the moment, I cursed the inopportune timing (not quite dinner, not quite lunch) and my lack of company. I suppose next time I should do my research. I would’ve loved to shared the experience with Zach or a friend. Brussels might not have been on my radar before, but it’s certainly a place I’d love to revisit soon.