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Travel Diaries: Discovering Destinations with Brussels Airlines

Travel Diaries: Discovering Destinations with Brussels Airlines

One of the most exhilarating aspects of life is the thrill of discovery – new cultures, people, landscapes, and cuisines. In our latest travel diaries, we took to the skies with Brussels Airlines to unearth some hidden gems in Europe and Africa. We embarked on a journey across five mesmerizing cities – Dusseldorf and Dortmund in Germany, Marrakech in Morocco, Chania in Greece, and Bristol in the United Kingdom. Here’s what we discovered!

Dusseldorf Germany

Our journey with Brussels Airlines led us to the captivating city of Dusseldorf, located in the western part of Germany. Renowned for its pioneering influence in fashion and art, Dusseldorf is a paradise for creative spirits.

Upon landing, we were immediately struck by the city’s aesthetic architecture, a fusion of the old and new. Buildings of all shapes, sizes, and eras pepper the cityscape, with the Rhine Tower standing proud amidst it all. From its observation deck, you get a sweeping panoramic view of the entire city, the meandering Rhine River, and the old town – an experience not to be missed.

As we ventured into the city, we found ourselves in the Old Town or “Altstadt”. This vibrant area is filled with more than 300 bars and restaurants – a perfect testament to Dusseldorf’s lively nightlife scene. The old town’s narrow cobblestone streets were an experience in themselves, offering an atmospheric contrast to the modernity of the city’s architecture.

In the heart of the old town, you’ll find St. Lambertus Church, a Roman Catholic church with a history dating back to the 13th century. It is easy to recognize due to its twisted spire, a result of a fire in the 19th century. Standing before this ancient building, you can’t help but marvel at the enduring strength of Dusseldorf’s cultural heritage.

For those interested in the arts, Dusseldorf is home to the Kunstakademie, an academy where many famous artists like Paul Klee and Joseph Beuys once studied. The city also boasts a number of modern and contemporary art museums such as the Kunstpalast and K20. Visiting these museums is a fascinating journey into the evolution of German art over the centuries.

If you are a fan of fashion, the Königsallee, locally known as the “Kö”, is the place to be. It’s one of the world’s leading luxury shopping streets, featuring high-end boutiques, designer stores, and chic cafes. Walking along this elegant street with its landscaped canal is like stepping into a world of glamour and sophistication.

When it comes to gastronomy, Dusseldorf has a great diversity to offer. You can taste the traditional Altbier in one of the old town breweries or savor delightful modern cuisine in Michelin-starred restaurants like the Im Schiffchen. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local specialties such as the Dusseldorf mustard and the heavenly Rhineland Sauerbraten.

No trip to Dusseldorf would be complete without experiencing its traditional festivals. If you’re lucky to be in town during the Karneval season, you’ll witness the city transformed into a riot of color and merriment, with parades, parties, and performances at every turn.

As our Brussels Airlines flight took off, leaving Dusseldorf behind, we were left with an invigorating blend of memories – the allure of its fashion-forward streets, the echoes of its vibrant art scene, the comforting warmth of its traditional cuisine, and the lively spirit of its festivals. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, history buff, fashion lover, or foodie, Dusseldorf is a destination that offers something for everyone. Our journey had just begun, and we couldn’t wait to explore what Dortmund had in store for us next.

Dortmund Germany

As we bid goodbye to the mesmerizing city of Dusseldorf, our journey with Brussels Airlines continued to the bustling city of Dortmund. Located in the heart of Germany’s industrial region, Dortmund is much more than meets the eye. Known as the “Green Metropolis,” Dortmund is a city where industrial history intertwines with lush green parks, giving it a unique charm.

From the moment we stepped off our Brussels Airlines flight, the city’s vibrant atmosphere was infectious. A large part of Dortmund’s charm comes from its rich industrial history, and the best place to start exploring this is at the Zollern Colliery. This former coal mine, now a museum, provides a glimpse into the city’s past. The architectural grandeur of the buildings, coupled with the insight into the coal miner’s life, made for an enlightening visit.

Dortmund’s industrial past has also given rise to an exciting art scene. The Dortmund U Tower, once a brewery, has been transformed into a center for the arts and creativity. Its sleek design stands out against the city skyline, and inside, you’ll find galleries, studios, and exhibition spaces. One of the highlights was the view from the top of the tower, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Speaking of city views, Dortmund’s Florianturm, or Florian Tower, is another spot worth visiting. The 720-foot television tower offers an observation deck for stunning city views. On a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of the city’s many green spaces, including the Westfalenpark. This vast park, home to the Florianturm, is one of the city’s most beloved recreational spaces. It’s filled with beautiful gardens, playgrounds, and even a mini golf course.

Another part of Dortmund’s appeal is its thriving football culture. The city is home to Borussia Dortmund, one of Germany’s most successful football clubs. We made a visit to Signal Iduna Park, the club’s home stadium, and were blown away by its sheer size and the palpable energy. Even if you’re not a football fan, the stadium tour is worth it for the insights into the city’s sporting history.

For those with a penchant for the outdoors, Dortmund has plenty to offer. The Romberg Park Botanical Garden is a sight to behold, with a variety of plant species from around the world. If you’re visiting during spring or summer, you’ll be treated to a colorful display of blooming flowers. On the other hand, the Phoenix Lake, created on the site of a former steel mill, offers opportunities for walking, cycling, and even sailing.

When it comes to dining, Dortmund offers a culinary experience to match its rich cultural heritage. The city’s industrial past is reflected in its hearty, comforting cuisine. We enjoyed traditional dishes like Pfefferpotthast, a peppery beef stew, and Currywurst, a popular German fast food. And of course, no visit to Dortmund would be complete without sampling the local beer. The city’s brewing history dates back hundreds of years, and you’ll find plenty of breweries and beer gardens to quench your thirst.

As we delved deeper into the city’s culture, we discovered the traditional markets of Dortmund. The Christmas market, one of the biggest in Germany, was an absolute delight. The market is filled with stalls selling everything from handcrafted ornaments to delectable food, and the atmosphere is positively magical.

For those looking to experience the city’s music scene, the Dortmund Concert Hall is a must-visit. Known for its superb acoustics, the concert hall hosts a range of performances, from classical music to jazz.

In many ways, Dortmund is a city of contrasts. Its industrial roots are still evident in its architecture and art, yet it’s also a city of lush green spaces and vibrant cultural life. And whether you’re a football fan, a history buff, or a nature lover, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in Dortmund. We’re excited to continue our journey with Brussels Airlines, and we can’t wait to see what Marrakech has to offer.

Marrakech Morocco

Our adventure with Brussels Airlines brought us next to the enchanting city of Marrakech, nestled in the heart of Morocco. Often referred to as the “Red City” due to its reddish-pink buildings and walls, Marrakech is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and landscapes. As we disembarked from our Brussels Airlines flight, we were immediately engulfed by the city’s charm and vibrancy.

From the time you step into Marrakech, the city seems to be bursting with life and energy. The city is divided into two main parts: the historic medina and the new city, also known as Gueliz. As we navigated our way through the medina’s labyrinth of alleyways, we stumbled upon a world full of bustling souks, stunning palaces, tranquil gardens, and grand mosques.

The heart of Marrakech’s medina is Jemaa el-Fnaa, a large square that transforms from a market during the day to an open-air theater at night. During the day, you’ll find fresh fruit stands, henna artists, snake charmers, and an array of stalls selling local goods. As dusk settles, the square becomes a hive of activity with storytellers, musicians, and dancers performing, and stalls serving delectable Moroccan cuisine.

For shoppers, Marrakech is a dream come true. The city’s vibrant souks offer everything from handcrafted leather goods, traditional Moroccan lamps, intricately designed ceramics, and vibrant Berber rugs to fragrant spices and jewelry. Haggle for the best prices and you’ll return with more than just souvenirs, but a story to tell.

Marrakech also offers a deep dive into history with its palaces and museums. The Bahia Palace, with its beautifully decorated courtyards and stunning gardens, is a testament to the opulence of the 19th-century Moroccan royalty. The Dar Si Said Museum offers an insight into Moroccan art and culture, showcasing a collection of Berber artifacts, Moroccan crafts, and jewelry.

Taking a break from the bustling city life, we found solace in the tranquil Majorelle Garden. This twelve-acre botanical garden, once owned by French painter Jacques Majorelle, is a peaceful oasis filled with exotic plants, vibrant blue buildings, and soothing water features. The garden, later restored by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, is a haven for nature and art lovers alike.

As we roamed the city, we couldn’t help but admire Marrakech’s unique architectural blend of Moorish, French, and Berber influences. The Koutoubia Mosque, with its impressive minaret towering over the city, is a stunning example of Moorish architecture. Its symmetrical patterns and intricate decorations are awe-inspiring, making it a must-visit landmark in Marrakech.

Our gastronomic journey in Marrakech was nothing short of extraordinary. The city’s food scene offers an explosion of flavors. We savored traditional Moroccan dishes like tagine, a slow-cooked stew named after the earthenware pot it’s cooked in, and couscous, a staple dish accompanied by vegetables or meat. For the sweet tooth, the pastilla, a sweet and savory pie filled with pigeon meat and topped with sugar and cinnamon, is a must-try.

No journey to Marrakech would be complete without venturing beyond the city. An hour’s drive from Marrakech led us to the Atlas Mountains, home to Berber villages and a haven for trekkers. Whether you choose to hike or drive, the panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks are simply breathtaking.

Chania Greece

Next on our Brussels Airlines adventure, we found ourselves in the mesmerizing city of Chania, located on the island of Crete, Greece. Brimming with natural beauty, historical sites, and a captivating culinary scene, Chania is a dream destination for any traveler.

Upon landing, we were greeted by a pleasant Mediterranean climate and the warm hospitality that the Greek islands are renowned for. From the vibrant city life to serene beaches and rugged mountains, Chania is a city that seamlessly combines diverse landscapes and experiences.

Our exploration of Chania started in the city’s historic Old Town. As we strolled down the labyrinthine alleyways, we discovered a mesmerizing blend of Venetian, Turkish, and traditional Cretan architecture. At the heart of the Old Town lies the Venetian Harbor, an enchanting seaside promenade adorned with colorful buildings, lively tavernas, and the iconic Venetian Lighthouse standing majestically at its entrance.

As we walked along the harbor, the gentle lapping of the waves against the shore and the harbor’s lively atmosphere created an unforgettable experience. The harbor is also the perfect place to sample some traditional Cretan cuisine. The waterfront is lined with tavernas serving local dishes like “dakos,” a Cretan rusk topped with fresh tomato, mizithra cheese, and olive oil, and “lamb kleftiko,” slow-cooked lamb with potatoes and herbs. With the sun setting over the harbor and the mouthwatering flavors of Cretan cuisine, this was truly an unforgettable culinary experience.

See Also

Chania’s historical significance extends beyond its charming Old Town. The city is home to numerous historical monuments and archaeological sites. We visited the Archaeological Museum of Chania, housed in a 16th-century Venetian monastery. The museum showcases artifacts from Neolithic to Roman times, providing a glimpse into Crete’s rich history.

From there, we made our way to the district of Halepa, known for its elegant neoclassical buildings and as the center of political activities in the 19th century. Here, we visited the former residence of Eleftherios Venizelos, one of Greece’s most influential politicians. The house, now turned into a museum, offers a deep dive into modern Greek history.

Chania also has a vibrant arts scene. The Centre of Mediterranean Architecture, located in the Grand Arsenal building at the Venetian Harbor, is an important hub for architectural exhibitions and cultural events. Similarly, the Municipal Art Gallery hosts exhibitions showcasing the works of Greek and international artists, reflecting Chania’s creative spirit.

For nature lovers, Chania offers a range of experiences. We visited the Samaria Gorge, a national park and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Trekking through the gorge, with its towering cliffs and diverse flora and fauna, was a truly invigorating experience. If you’re up for the challenge, the 16-kilometer trek will reward you with stunning views and a refreshing dip in the Libyan Sea at Agia Roumeli village.

In contrast to the ruggedness of the Samaria Gorge, Chania’s beaches offer a tranquil escape. From the crystal-clear turquoise waters of Balos Lagoon to the exotic palm forest of Vai, Chania is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Greece. We enjoyed a leisurely day at Elafonissi Beach, renowned for its pink sands and shallow waters, making it ideal for a relaxing swim.

When it comes to shopping, Chania has a vibrant market scene. The Municipal Market of Chania is a lively, bustling hub where you can find everything from fresh produce and local cheeses to herbs, spices, and traditional Cretan products. The Leather Street, or “Stivanadika,” is another must-visit. Here, you’ll find a range of leather goods, including the traditional “stivania” boots.

After a day filled with exploration, we found solace in Chania’s traditional “kafeneios” (coffee houses) and vibrant bars. The city’s nightlife is a mix of traditional and modern, with quaint tavernas offering live Cretan music and stylish bars serving locally produced wine and raki, a potent Cretan spirit.

Overall, our journey through Chania with Brussels Airlines was a captivating blend of natural beauty, history, culture, and gastronomy. The city’s charming ambiance, the hospitable locals, and the tantalizing Cretan cuisine made our stay truly memorable. Our next and final destination on this trip with Brussels Airlines is Bristol, United Kingdom. As we bid farewell to the sunny shores of Chania, we eagerly anticipate what lies ahead in our journey.

Bristol United Kingdom

The final leg of our Brussels Airlines journey took us to Bristol, nestled in the rolling hills of South West England. Renowned for its maritime history, vibrant arts scene, and iconic suspension bridge, Bristol beckons travelers with its eclectic blend of historic charm and modern dynamism.

Arriving in Bristol, we were immediately struck by its unique character. The city boasts a harmonious blend of past and present, where historic buildings stand shoulder to shoulder with modern architecture, embodying Bristol’s progressive spirit. As we ventured through the city, we discovered a vibrant tapestry of cultural landmarks, trendy neighborhoods, and stunning vistas that left us enchanted.

Our exploration began in Bristol’s Harborside, the city’s historic heart. Once a busy dock where sailors and merchants set sail for voyages of discovery, it has now been revitalized into a lively cultural hotspot. Brimming with restaurants, bars, shops, and museums, the Harborside is a wonderful place to absorb Bristol’s rich maritime history while enjoying a leisurely stroll by the water.

One of the highlights of the Harborside is the SS Great Britain. Designed by the renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this former passenger steamship is now a fascinating museum. Exploring its decks, engine room, and luxuriously restored cabins, we could almost hear the echoes of past voyages, transporting us back to the heyday of the Victorian era.

Our journey through history continued at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Housing an extensive collection of art, archaeology, geology, and natural history exhibits, the museum offers a captivating insight into the world, past and present. Particularly impressive was the collection of Bristol’s blue glass, the city’s famous art form dating back to the 18th century.

No visit to Bristol would be complete without marveling at the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Another masterpiece of Brunel, the bridge dramatically spans the Avon Gorge, offering breathtaking views of the city and beyond. Whether viewed from the observatory or walked across, it’s an awe-inspiring sight that encapsulates Bristol’s innovative spirit.

Bristol’s art scene is as diverse as it is dynamic, and nowhere is this more evident than in its street art. The city is the birthplace of Banksy, one of the world’s most famous street artists, and a walking tour of his works scattered around Bristol was a must-do for us. We also explored the vibrant streets of Stokes Croft, known as Bristol’s cultural quarter, adorned with an ever-changing canvas of murals and graffiti art.

The gastronomic journey in Bristol was as delightful as our cultural explorations. Known for its vibrant food scene, the city offers an array of dining options that cater to all palates. We indulged in traditional British fare at one of the city’s many gastropubs and savored gourmet delights at Michelin-starred restaurants. A visit to St Nicholas Market allowed us to sample an array of international street food, from Moroccan tagines to Italian gelatos.

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