In the spirit of Christmas, the team headed off to Brussels for a weekend of sightseeing, fun and camaraderie. Once aboard the Eurostar, with the stress of cancelled trains and the party split between replacements reminiscent of sardine tins forgotten, it was time to relax and enjoy the ride.
What a weekend it was! The amazing gilded buildings of the Grand Place, bathed in coloured light as night fell, surrounding a twinkling Christmas tree of gargantuan proportions. Beautiful glass arcades of chocolateries, quirky bars and beer of strengths unheard of this side of the channel. Braving the cold on Saturday morning for a walking tour to learn about the City’s history, the slightly bleary gang then explored, shopped, or sampled a selection of the many bars or coffee shops. Some even marvelled, with their trained eyes, at the incredible structures around them. Most of the buildings surrounding the Grand Place were constructed at the end of the 17th century – an amazing accomplishment without cranes or computers! The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert were completed in 1847 and represented the wealth generated by the Industrial Revolution. The first of their kind outside Paris, they were, and remain, spectacular and beautiful in their design and construction.
The ‘Cave du Roy’ restaurant on the Grand Place was the atmospheric setting on Saturday evening for some authentic Belgian food, accompanied by a mind-boggling choice of beer! Sunday saw a few visiting the European Parliament whilst others slept in or enjoyed a quiet coffee to recover from the night before. After some final purchases of exquisite chocolates and pastel coloured macarons, in equally exquisite packages, it was time to board the Eurostar once more and head home.
The office was a little quieter than usual on Monday morning, but everyone was at their desks, working away, a great time having been had by all.