I pretty much did zero sightseeing in Belgium because I was there for my friend's wedding. I had planned on leaving for Brussels early on the Friday and having the afternoon to look around but, instead, had a nightmare trip on the trains.
If you ever plan to travel from Amsterdam to Brussels, it's so worth paying the extra fare and going with Eurostar. Sure, it'll cost you double but it might just save your sanity. I thought the cheaper option meant a direct but less fancy train. NO! It meant having multiple train changes, time wasted because of train delays and a ton of frustration too boring to go into.
I've have put it down to bad luck but my friend (the groom) and his family left on an earlier train and had the same problems.
I did get to explore the lovely town of Aalst which I'd have never gone to if it wasn't where the wedding was held. I got off the train and headed to my hotel across the square, thinking the town was entirely charm-free (a square with old men sitting outside cafes watching everything - not charming but it did prepare me for Italy) but later headed to my meet up with everyone for dinner later in the evening and saw another side to the town.
After dinner, a bunch of us hit the local gay bar. Well, we think it was the gay bar. I got incredibly lost on the way back to my hotel. Everyone else stayed at the same hotel where the reception was to be held. I was a cheapskate and stayed at the place for a quarter of the price near the station.
If it wasn't for a lovely girl riding by on her bike, I'd still be wandering around that town now. Medieval towns have no logic to their layout. Or maybe it is a logic designed around using confusion as a line of defense?
I wish I'd taken more photos of the weird hotel - when I checked in, the guy hold me to take the lift up to my room from the bar. Well, I tried to find a lift with no lucky, until he pointed out the random fire door was actual the lift! It was just a door with no connection to the lift mechanics at all - if you opened it when the lift wasn't there, you'd just walk into the lift shaft!
The morning after the wedding, we were supposed to meet up for brunch then a walking tour of Ghent. I was too hungover for a walking tour. I was almost too hungover to get to brunch. I didn't think I'd make it out of bed. Finally, got up and dressed just as the young guy from reception came up to tell me to check out.
I was going to bail on everything but figured I wanted the chance to say goodbye to old friends and new so made brunch then headed to Brussels to the Pantone Hotel.
Again, I'd planned some sightseeing but in my hungover, confused state, couldn't find the hotel. I did have adventures in walking around Brussels in the rain looking for wifi though, including going to the world's slowest fast food place (which only had wifi via phone confirmation) and a hipster cafe.
As soon as I saw the Pantone Hotel in my holiday research, I knew I had to stay there. It's a pretty cool hotel.
Apart from leaving the hotel to find dinner, I did pretty much nothing in Brussels though. I didn't even get to try waffles except for the prepackaged ones with breakfast. I guess that means another trip to Belgium might be on the cards one day.