Go with your gut, and with some good advice

I feel like all travel advice is good advice. It’s up to you if you want to take it.

While living in London I had found out I would be off for the week between Christmas and New Years. I had a few days to play with so I went to one of the local travel agencies and told them the dates I could be away and that I was up for going anywhere, being that I had only been to Paris and London since I was about eight weeks into my living abroad stint.

The woman at the travel agency suggested Belgium as it was a quick train ride, and I easily agreed. I left London for Brussels the next day. I knew I was going to spend two nights in Brussels and then the next two nights I was debating going to the country of Luxembourg (I didn’t really have much of a plan where I would go once I was there but I had my Let’s Go Europe in my backpack!) or the Belgian city of Bruges. I was traveling solo so the plan was mine to make.

On the train, I wound up sitting next to an American ex-pat. She was on her way to visit her boyfriend’s family in the countryside of Belgium and we got to talking. I told her my “dilemma” and she told me in no uncertain terms, go to Bruges. She had been to both – Luxembourg She had told me it was a lovely city and would be beautiful this time of year…December.

I went. And it turned out it was one of my favorite cities ever. Brussels was beautiful, and Bruges was even more so.

I was there for the first snowfall of the season. All the locals were out on bikes from morning to sunset. Parents climbed up windmill hills with their kids and their sleds and it was quite the sledding spot! Fries and mayo. Amazing beer.

I don’t know if it was the best advice ever. But it was great advice for that trip. I fell in love with Bruges. They call it the Venice of the North, and it was stunning.

But now I still need to get myself to Luxembourg so I can decide for myself!

This happened again years later. I was in London for work and I had a few extra days to myself. I didn’t have a plan but I knew I wanted to go somewhere on the Continent for a long weekend. I was at a Christmas party with the London office and my British colleagues suggested Switzerland. I went to the travel agent (yes, this was years ago, and I still had a valid student ID) the next morning, and again, left the following day. Was heading to Zurich…but missed my flight, so basically spent the day at Heathrow, a night in Zurich, Lucerne in the countryside for two nights, and another day/night in Zurich at the end of the short trip…made shorter by oversleeping for a very early morning flight. Again, I was traveling alone so the plan to make was mine. With some guidance by people who had been there, I took their word. And again, had a wonderful trip.

With all the advice on the internet, and trust me, I use it, sometimes it’s nice to reflect on how we picked places before it was made so easy. Or maybe that’s just before I compiled my master, monster wanderlust wish list.


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