If you have always wanted to visit a city that gives off that “Old European Feel” then you should make your way over to Brussels, Belgium! Also, if you happen to speak French, German, or Dutch then you are in luck as they are Belgium’s official languages! Unfortunately, I do not, but English and some politeness can go a long way!
How did I end up here? Well, I had the opportunity to explore Brussels while I was studying in Ireland, so I went for it! Belgium waffles, Belgium chocolate, how could I resist? One of the first places I went to see was the main square.
When I went it was like Florida weather (small 10 minute rainstorms here and there) but even when the sun was blocked out Brussels had that Gothic feel!
I was ready to help Sherlock Holmes (I know wrong country) solve a murder mystery by walking down the cobblestone streets peering down alleyways.
What was a little upsetting is that I was not able to see Brussels all cleaned up, and what I mean by that is that a lot of buildings were under construction! Everywhere I went there were signs of construction, or buildings were covered up with a picture of what they would actually look like. That was back in 2015 so I am sure that most of it may be done by now.
I also noticed ( or maybe they noticed me first) that there was a lot of pretty cool statues all around the city (no this isn’t a Doctor Who episode).
I also saw an interesting statue much like Gretel’s experience in Norway. However, rather than a angry naked baby statue, this is the Manneken Pis, A statue of a little naked peeing boy that was also a fountain (if you can guess where). It is a very big tourist attraction. The person I went with wanted to see it, as well as the female version. I don’t understand the humor but hey I guess some things have to be a culture shock, right? I don’t have any photos of them but I do have some other statues from around the city!
Besides statues one on my all time favorite things here was to eat the Belgium frites, fries (or chips for our friends in the UK) covered in a curry/Old Bay powder while being dipped in mayonnaise.
While I was reading the menu outside of a frites place I actually got pick-pocketed! I had an open bag full of chocolate that I paid attention to the entire time until I looked up at a frites menu, then the Godiva chocolate that was in the bag was gone! Make sure to take these guys seriously!
When I went to Brussels it was actually Mardi Gras so I was able to see the Peeing Boy wearing a mask, as well as some groups of people that dressed up to celebrate as well!
If you want a good look around the city then you should take the Comic Book Tour! This should be free unless you are getting a guided tour. We picked up a map at our hostel and made our way around ourselves. The tour is a series of art (mostly on walls of buildings) from comic books! I believe that it will also lead you to the comic book museum so if you are interested give it a try! I stepped into the museum but the line was pretty long so I just ended up checking out the gift shop.
I was also able to visit a cool building that should be a must when going to Brussels; The Atomium.
You can actually go inside this structure! The Atomium was created for the 1958 World’s Fair! Now this was a time before the internet where countries would meet at a designated location to show off their technological advances and culture! I am not gonna lie, this sounds like it would have been very cool to go see back in the day.
Inside of the Atomium there was a plastic exhibit inside the silver balls, and an escalator would take you to each one!
Outside of this structure is where the 1958 World’s fair took place, and you can still see some of the buildings there were there for the fair! Unfortunately, the buildings are very run down. I think that if they would be able to re-open them it would be a cool tourist spot, kind of like a mini Disney Epcot!
I was only able to be here for a weekend but I think if I had longer time I would want to explore some more as there was a lot of cool things to see! I also want to see more of Belgium, and especially get some more waffles and frites!
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Au revoir/Auf Wiedersehen/tot ziens!