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We flew into Brussels mid March for our European trip that consisted of Belgium, The Netherlands, and France. Brussels was our first stop. The past two weeks prior to our trip, the husband and I were watching the weather because we are not used to the cold since we are Californians. We stalked Instagram to see what people were wearing and all the pictures were of people freezing and covered with only eyeballs showing. Ha! I thought I prepared for the weather, but it was so cold and windy! So if you are headed to Brussels anytime in March or winter time, dress for warmth. A nice thick warm winter scarf is your best friend aside from a winter jacket. Don’t forget your Merino wool socks. Trust me on this.
This was our first experience getting lost in a foreign country that didn’t speak English! From the rail, we were given wrong directions and ended up completely lost and had to Uber to Central Station because we were told even more wrong directions at the station we stopped at. The man behind the counter told us there were no lockers at Central Station and I knew there was because I already looked it up ahead of time to figure out what to do with our luggage. Just Uber straight to Central Station or wherever you are staying because the rail is 9 euro each and not useable for other transportations. We spent about 40 euros from the whole mess of getting lost. The locker storage in Central Station only takes coins and you can store your luggage and other things in there while you go off to explore the city. In fact, most of the city only takes cash so plan on exchanging some at the airport, although the exchange rate at the airport is really low.
So what is there to see, do, and eat?
Free Walking Tour
Whenever we travel, we always do a free walking tour of the city to get all the history and culture. That way we know about it and not just looking at things we don’t know about and spending a trip on just eating. We did Sandmans New Europe Brussels Tour with Tom and it was a very good 2.5 hours tour! I highly suggest it. It’s everything you ever wanted to know about Brussels. Make sure to bring your walking shoes because Brussels is in cobblestone. I highly recommend my Timberland boots. I didn’t feel a single cobblestone with these.
The Grand Place
The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels. Visiting this place is like watching a movie from the olden times. It’s a truly remarkable site with the Gothic architecture. Once you really look at the buildings closely, you will notice that they are uneven which goes against Gothic architectures symetry. Truth is, they kept messing up while they kept building and adding on.
Did you ever watch The Adventures of Tintin when you were a kid? I sure did! This mural is nearby the Grand Place. Brussels has lots of cartoon murals.
I don’t know about you, but Belgium holds some of my favorite foods. One of them is the Belgian waffle and no it is not like the kind in America at all. The Belgian waffles have a different texture from the ones Americans are used to and that is because of the crystalized sugar that melts when cooked. I always look for the most popular food places on Yelp with the most and best reviews whenever I chose the must have foods of a country, and Le Funambule had the best reviews. Well I’ll let you decide from the pictures. It was amazing and costed 6 euros for the strawberry chocolate. The plain Belgian waffle is 2 euros. Le Funambule only takes cash.
Brusselians have this little peeing boy that basically symbolizes their city and their humor. He has more clothes than you. Yes, you read that right. They dressed him up in different outfits and he has over 1000 outfits. You will see the pissing boy on shirts, magnets, and everything else. Like I said, it’s what symbolizes the city. We even took home a pissing boy magnet.
Frites is what we know as French fries. Although, I don’t even know why they started being called that because fries come from Belgium. The frites in Brussels are twice fried in beef fat which give them the extra crispiness and flavor. They also dip it in mayonnaise, not ketchup. We ordered a spicy sauce with ours from Fritland. Fritland was packed. Prepare to wait in line for this one. It really is full of flavor.
Galeries Royales St Hubert
This is a shopping center with great architecture. You can find Belgian chocolate from different price ranges here.
By now, if you are like me, you probably need your caffeine fix. Scott’s Cafe and bar is across the Galeries Royales St Hubert. It’s a very cute dark atmosphere – a great place to get some work done or meet with friends. If you want drip coffee like you are used to, get an Americano as it will be the closest thing. Otherwise, an espresso is standard “coffee” in Europe. Hinterland in the Saint-Gilles neighborhood has great coffee too. The place is very cute and vegan friendly.
Mont des Arts
Mont des Arts is an urban complex and historic site in the centre of Brussels. A great place to take pictures. It’s the cover photo of this blog post.
Yes noodles. I wanted mussels because I read that it was a main dish in Belgium, but was told by our tour guide that it was not in season. So we walked around the Grand Place which was a lot of gyros. I was so glad that they all only took cash, because we ended up at the Noodle Bar which was perfect for dinner after a very freezing day. They had very great service and whipped me up a good bowl of spicy noodle soup. The man told me he would make it perfect for me. He sure did. The best asian noodle soup I have ever had in my life!
The Belgians are very proud of their beer. They have the most out of anyone. They don’t come in the typical beer glass because each kind has to be served in it’s own glass for the flavor. Stella Artois anyone? They even go on to say that beer should be served at room temperature, not ice cold like American beer which is apparently not good beer. Any beer that requires being served ice cold is bad flavored beer they say.
You will have the rest of the night to do whatever you want after this itinerary. We spent a lot of time circling around Brussels and taking pictures.
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