Three lessons that I learned from my trip in Brussels:
1) Not everyone has the same views as you do.
Not everyone thinks the way you do, nor should they. Its important to remember when you are traveling. When you travel, you are in a new place where people have different views on politics, religion, . I have learned that the best way to enjoy trips to other places is to keep you views to yourself on the “hot” topics.
2) Be aware of your surrounding.
In Philadelphia, I generally do not stay out past 10 pm. When it becomes after that, I usually have my husband walk me home from lab. No matter where you are, it is always critical to know where you are headed and any safety issues. Brussels was a safe place. However, Friday night I walked to find dinner and entered an area that seemed more patriarchal dominated. There were hardly any females present and I could feel the eyes on me as if I didnt belong. I quickly ordered food to go and headed back to my hotel. Afterwards, I did some research and saw that there are places where Westernized women are not welcome.
As with any trip you plan, you need to be sure that you are careful.
3) Dont be afraid to make new friends.
On the train, I ended up meeting a nice lady who is from Germany. We ended up talking about our jobs and cultures in general. For me, this conversations are a great way of learning more about traveling, cultures, etc.
On Saturday, I went a 4 hour chocolate walking tour. There was two married couples, two ladies my age and then me. Through the course of the tour, I became friends with on the married couples. They were from the UK and we also interested in trying a beer at one of the oldest bars in Brussels. They were kind enough to let me join them at the bar and afterwards walking through the shops. There was a parade/festival Saturday so it was nice to have others to walk around with.
Thoughts on Brussels
My Brussels trip was a huge success! I had fun and learned a lot. I will be posting two more posts about the trip over the next few days. One will focus on chocolate, what I learned and even made. The other will focus on the different places I stopped at in Brussels. There is a lot of history in that city. I am glad that I went on a tour and was able to learn so much.