April 2022: On our return flight to the USA from Luanda, Angola via Brussels Air we had a 5-hour layover in Brussels, and we decided to make the best out of our time and have a quick visit into the city. In my travels I have spent far more time in the ex-colonies of European countries than I have in the actual European countries, this includes the Democratic Republic of Congo instead of Belgium. So I figured it was time to visit Belgium, even if for only a 5-hour stay. 

Royale palace of King and Queen of Belgium. This was also the palace of King Leopold I, the first king of Belgium and King Leopold II(1885-1908), who ruthlessly ruled over the Congo Free State-it was anything but free-currently Democratic Republic of Congo making it his personal possession where he enslaved and tortured Congolese to ensure ivory and rubber quotas were met in order for him to acquire over a billion dollars in wealth.

The key to short lay overs is to be prepared and plan the airport transfer, transfer times via the subway system and total estimation of time the whole trip will take round trip and leave a cushion of time for airport congestion and other un-expected delays. Probably the most important thing is to travel light and only have a small carry on that you can travel briskly with and do not lollygag when exiting immigration and the airport.

Luckily, we arrived at 7am into Brussels and immigration was quiet so we were able to exit the airport quickly. Plus, the subway is connected to the airport and it is easy to be in the historical center of brussels in approx. 30 minutes. 

Once at the Central station we followed our GPS walking map up the hill a short distance to the Palace of King Loepald and explored the area for about an hour before returning back to the airport. Good thing we allowed some extra time to get back to the airport because the airport went from dead to jam packed with people. Once through security we took the time to have some Belgium dark beers and waffles before catching our flight back to the USA. 

Royale palace frontside
Royale Park, cities first park
Royale Park Lion Statue

6 + 13 =

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