also known as my first tourist trip since the end (sort of) of confinement
So! I recently moved to Brussels to be closer to work ( I know, the irony of doing this during the time of the work from home). Anyway, it’s been in the plan for some time, so we went ahead and did it anyway.
One of the things that I’ve been excited about with living in a new region, is being able to explore new places that were previously just a tad bit inaccessible due to the distance.
I mean let’s be honest, Brussels will always be the perfect base to do anything or go anywhere in Belgium. All the train lines pass through here and it’s pretty much almost the center of Belgium (geographically).
So last weekend, just in time for the more relaxed measures of deconfinement, we decided to check out one of the rose gardens (with a castle to boot), just outside of Brussels.
I recently read that Belgium actually has one of the highest density of castles per kilometer squared! So I guess time to visit them all?
The Coloma castle is located just outside of Brussels, in the region of Flemish Brabant, in the city called Sint-Pieters-Leeuw. There is a fully restored castle on the grounds which now hosts community activities, a brasserie, and a huge rose garden. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, from mid May to end of October, except Mondays, from 10am to 8pm. The best part about visiting the castle grounds is that it’s FREE. You may need to pay for events that happen inside the castle to be able to visit it, but otherwise visiting everyting else is completely FREE.
By bus, there’s a De Lijn bus from Brussels Midi (145 or 170) that passes by right in front of the castle.
It’s also an easy drive from where we live on the south west of Brussels. There’s a small parking lot right in front of this Delitraiteur (the parking lot is not marked in Google Maps), and there is a lot of street parking on this same street. It can get busy however on nice days (like when we went), and we found an alternative parking spot, just a 5 minute walk from the entrance of the park.
To be honest it’s such a nice neighbourhood and just in front of the parking lot we parked in, there were signs for what looked to be an interesting walking route through fields. Will try to check it out in the future.
The Rose Garden
If you are a fan of roses, this is most definitely the place for you to visit. I didn’t even know this much varieties of roses existed. I’m the one who gave up on trying to look at them all. Come around June to see them in bloom!
After all that “rose fatigue”, we decided to grab a drink at De Koetsier, a brasserie inside the castle grounds. You cannot miss it. It is literally right beside the castle. We had wanted to take a seat on the terrace but it seems like this is quite a popoular place to eat (or people are just really excited to go out), as all the tables for dining outside were booked. We satisfied ourselves with a nice table (with enough social distancing from others) beside the window and had a couple of local beers.
Over all, I was quite glad to get started in my exploration of Brussels and the surrounding areas and just to be able to get out and do touristy things (in a safe manner).