One of the most painstaking obstacles on my trip to Brussels this week was Wi-Fi – or lack thereof.
Greeting us on the desk upon arrival at our hotel was a photo frame baring the Wi-Fi connection, password and a note at the top to let guests know that it was, indeed, free to use.
Alongside the note was some biro scribble, enough to obscure what was visible previously, but not enough to deny a reader upon closer inspection.
Alongside the words ‘FREE WIFI CONNECTION’ stood ‘THROUGHOUT THE HOTEL’, and the latter had ink etched on its surface because that service, clearly, hadn’t stuck around.
What was annoying, and one of the things that infuriates me most, is that my iPhone could pick up three bars of signal in my room, yet still not connect.
So that led me to Wednesday evening, the first night of our stay and an outing on the decking outside the hotel reception – that being one of the few areas where the subpar connection could be attained.
I simply wanted to check my notifications and post an image to Instagram – two simple tasks.
I prioritised my Instagram as I only had limited time before we needed to head into the centre to have an evening meal, and revelled in the image’s beauty as I did so. Our earlier visit to the Brussels landmark Atomium had turned up some fantastic photos to add to the growing collection, and I was particularly smitten with my midweek post.
So we've left Manchester, where the weather was so bad last night that they had to postpone a Champions League game, to the scorching heat and sunshine of Brussels, where the temperature is in the 30s. ⚽️❌☀️😎 One of our first stops was the Atomium. Built for the World Fair in 1958, the Atomium is one of the city's most recognisable landmarks, and is only 165 billion times bigger than an atom itself! 😱🔬🇧🇪 〰 I'll have some Brussels stuff up on my blog soon, but in the meantime why not check out some of my other posts?! Head on over to TravellingTom.co.uk to join in the adventure! 🎒💻 〰 #Brussels #Belgium #Atomium #MiniEurope #EuropeanUnion #Manchester #ManchesterCity #Monchengladbach #ChampionsLeague #Travel #Travelling #Traveling #TravellingTom #Tourism #TravelBlog #TravelBlogger #TravelWriter #Europe #EuropeanTravel #BudgetTravel #StudentTravel #Travelgram #Instago #Wanderlust #Georaphy #Sunshine #NoFilter
All that was left was to flick through my email messages; the 50 or so which had accumulated since I awoke and first checked my phone at 4am that morning.
They were the usual drivel. Emails from Groupon and Wowcher, various companies advertising their products and notifications of new followers and direct messages on Twitter. There was one a little out of the ordinary, though.
Sent from a lady named Elsie, she had emailed me to let me know that I had been mentioned in a list of the 60 best bloggers in Manchester by Custard.co.uk (don’t worry, I’ve never heard of them, either).
Custard, a digital content marketing agency who recently moved into their central Manchester offices located in the Northern Quarter, posted on their own website, saying “we love the bustle of the city [of Manchester] and admire how many individuals are trying to make a name for themselves.
“We wanted to highlights the work of some of Manchester’s biggest fans – the bloggers that are based here.
“We wanted to honour the hard work put in and find the best blogs in popular categories such as lifestyle, fashion, beauty and food.
“After hours of research whittling down the top 60 Manchester-based blogs, see where your favourite blogger ranks below.”
They’d split the 60 best into six categories – lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food, fitness and, obviously, travel – and ranked me sixth on their travel bloggers list.
Now I know what you’re thinking, there must only be six travel bloggers in Manchester! But, surprisingly, there are more than that, and out of the top 10 I came in at an okay sixth.
Joking aside, it was quite nice to receive some recognition for my efforts with this blog, even if it’s not really a mantle worth celebrating at all.
I have some big ideas I’m working on and hope to roll out over the next few months, and I’m hoping to take Travelling Tom onto bigger and better things.
But now at least you know what it feels like to witness greatness (or rather the sixth best travel blog in the country’s second-biggest urban area).