9th February 2015

Below is an account written by George Brindley of Moorlands Sixth Form College about their recent study trip to Brussels in February 2015-

On 3rd February we arrived in Brussels after a 10 hour coach journey through the night. We dropped our bags off at the Meinninger Hotel before climbing back on the coach and travelling to our first port of call the Cantillion Brewery which is over 100 years old. After listening to the tour guide we became aware of the fact that the brewery was very different to other mainstream breweries as they matured their hops for a minimum of a year before processing them into beer.  They had a unique process of creating the beer in which they did not add any sugar like the major companies which may be a reason why not many people liked their beer on first taste because they have become accustomed to drinking the sweet beer in large quantities whereas the beer they produced was to be savoured as it had an average percentage of around 6% which is double the normal percentage that is sold in supermarkets. The brewery still use the same machinery they used when it was first established.

We then made our way to the Grand Place where our eyes were opened up to the exquisite architecture and stunning buildings there as we had seen little like this before in our country and it was truly amazing to be completely surrounded in a square by these towering buildings that had been carefully sculpted to the very last detail. We then felt obliged to sample what Belgium had to offer and  we tried its chocolate and waffles which were very delicious and surprisingly cheap. We were then very thankful to return back to the hotel for a much needed rest as coach journeys are not the easiest place to catch 40 winks. After recuperating the group made a decision on where they would like to go for their evening meal as Brussels has a variety of foreign takeaways to choice from. I chose the option of having a pizza which was cooked in front of me in the pizza oven at the local pizza restaurant. The whole group was then very thankful to just lie in bed and get and early night ready for an early start in the morning.

After we had sampled the continental breakfast the hotel provided which was more than sufficient we paid a visit to the European parliament. After exiting the coach our eyes were again opened to the spectacular architecture and design of the buildings which surrounded the parliamentary buildings. When we entered the parliamentary buildings we were greeted by a UK employee of the Brussels European Parliament who gave us a very detailed and informative presentation on the European parliament and how it works. We were then led into the conference room where there was a live debate/ conference going on and we were provided with headphones where we could listen to the conference which was translated into English from every language that was spoken.

We then got back on the coach and went back to the Grand Place for some lunch; my group of friends and I went to a grill where the steaks were divine. After lunch we visited the European Commission where we were again greeted by another English representative who gave us another very informative and interesting presentation. Before returning home we visited the Belgium Chocolate Factory where we sampled many varieties of Pralines and trays of buttons whilst we had a presentation about chocolate production in Belgium. We then returned to the hotel to get into our evening wear and get ready to go for a group meal at the Lobster House in Brussels where we sampled a 3 course meal. The owner reduced the price because we were a group of 30 students, he catered for our every need and provided great customer service. After going back to the hotel we had another early night as we had to be up again early as we were going to the waterpark in the morning before going home. We had the waterpark to ourselves when we arrived it was excellent.

Overall a brilliant trip!

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