Ah, the land of waffles, chocolate, beer, and all things naughty. Whilst travelling, as a general rule I've been attempting to maintain a balanced diet and not throw all healthy habits completely out the window. But Belgium... Oh Belgium. I'm not usually big on waffles, but when an entire city seems to smell like waffles, you surrender. And it was good. Nor am I a beer drinker, but Belgian beer isn't bad. And the chocolate... Oh the chocolate. Even the cheapest supermarket chocolate was ridiculously good, and don't get me started on the hot chocolates.

I headed to Belgium from England, via an overnight bus and ferry which ruined me for a couple of days (two hours of sleep does not cut it). After arriving in Brussels at 6am, and finding my way to my hostel, I almost immediately made a friend in a lovely American girl who had had an overnight flight and was similarly exhausted. We spent the day together, whiling away time until we could check in and sleep, walking around the city, drinking hot chocolates, and seeing the main attractions of Brussels; the magnificent Grand Place, Manneken Pis, the cathedral, the Royal Palace and the beautiful surrounding park scattered with autumn leaves, and finished off with a waffle with strawberries and chocolate for "lunch".

Brussels was wonderful and filled with chocolate and new friends and learning that travelling solo doesn't mean being alone. After a few days there, I caught a train across to the amazing medieval city of Bruges. Beauty is everywhere you turn in Bruges - the canals that wind their way through the city, the cobblestoned streets, the medieval architecture and towers, and simply wandering the little city, especially with the fresh autumn air and the orange and red leaves fallen everywhere, is bliss. I discovered a cosy cafe which I would go to for my daily tea and cake fix, met many other travellers and spent evenings in bars with them, visited the Volkskunde museum and the great Groeninge art gallery, wandered through the old hospital and the Beguinage (a beautiful old nunnery), and saw the old windmills.

After Bruges, I stayed in the fabulous Gent for a few nights. Gent is known for being a very liberal city, filled with thousands of students, cool bars, awesome street art, a ton of vegetarian places to eat, and generally good vibes. I stayed in a really wonderful, cosy eco-hostel which was literally a boat (if you're staying in Gent, definitely check out Andromeda ecohostel for accommodation, it's tops). Gent is similarly beautiful to Bruges, with snaking canals and wonderful architecture, plus the added bonus of being a student-dominated city, which equals great cheap food and drinking! I visited the museum of fine arts and Huis Van Alijn (or the museum of everyday life) while I was there, and spent a lot of time exploring the city streets.

From Gent I caught a bus up into the Netherlands, concluding my chocolate love affair and commencing my speculoos love affair.

Here are an assortment of photos from Brussels, Bruges and Gent, taken on my iPhone.