I spent my final day in Belgium exploring the capital city - Brussels.
If you’ve seen the video (embedded below) you’ll already know I was tired as hell from my previous day in Bruges & Ghent. I’d allowed myself a short lie-in this morning but I certainly could’ve used an extra hour! Regardless, I headed into the city centre in search of coffee… it didn’t take long. Even so, I still forgot to say much (if anything) to camera while out and about.
Getting from the Forest/Vorst area into the centre of Brussels doesn’t take long at all. The trams are swift, regular and cheap. A short walk from Brussels Midi station and you’re in the old city. As expected, the streets and squares were full of tourists (myself included), waffle houses and chocolatiers galore.
Much like Bruges and Ghent the previous day, Belgium is a vibrant cultural centre. Everywhere you look there’s murals and graffiti, musicians in the street and artists in every shop window. I indulged myself in waffles and frites, and spent far too much money on chocolates for the family.
I had a great time wandering round the city, but it soon dawned on me that I was shortly due at the Bon Iver show! My time in Brussels was short and oh-so-sweet, and I do wish it could’ve lasted longer. Alas, I headed back towards Forest for the show at the Forest National, then headed home to pack my bag ready for my trip home.
On my journey back I had a few hours to kill in London. I’d made the daft mistake of forgetting to take my Leatherman multi-tool out of my bag before leaving the house - made it to Brussels with no issue, but on the way back I was picked up by the Belgian border control, whisked to one side and was told I had to pay an extra €22 to have it “safely” sent on the train. On arrival in St Pancras, I was then told it had been sent on the next train… good job I had time to spare! (My own fault though, really…)
I had a little wander around the St Pancras area - found the YouTube & Google buildings, but wasn’t allowed in the cafe, so found a Five Guys to splurge the last of my holiday funds on a burger. I later found myself among the independent camera shops surrounding the British Museum. Of course, I ended up walking away with a new (second hand) lens - I’m now the very proud owner of a Nikkor 85mm f/1.8S from 1988. Despite being older than myself I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this lens.
There’s a tiny bit of fungal growth around the very edge of the front element, but at the 85mm focal length I honestly don’t think that’ll ever affect my images. Obviously there’s no image stabilisation, but using a tripod or a fairly quick shutter speed it’s been producing tac-sharp images in all conditions. Plus it’s so small compared to modern 85mm lenses (I rented the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 ART lens a few months back), it’s so small and compacts I can easily keep it in my pocket if I don’t fancy heaving my camera backpack around the hills. Dead happy!
I wish I had more to say about my Belgian experience, but honestly I don’t think I had enough time to truly take it all in. I’ll definitely be visiting again in the future, and will certainly have to give myself more time to explore cities in depth and explore more cultural hot-spots and museums. All in all though, I thoroughly enjoyed myself - and the Bon Iver show was certainly worth the trip!
Check out the video below for more images and some channel updates :)