Belgium
Arrondissement Brussel-Hoofdstad

Here you’ll find travel reports about Arrondissement Brussel-Hoofdstad. Discover travel destinations in Belgium of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

117 travelers at this place:

  • Day475

    Brussels with Beth & Rich, Day 2

    October 14, 2017 in Belgium

    We'd dropped off to the sound of car stereos and Vicky had been ill in the night, possibly from a dodgy mussel. The pavement was littered with fag ends and soda siphon gas canisters (the new drug of choice?)

    However, none of this had dampened our enthusiasm for the fun filled day ahead of us. The bus system was efficient (€2.50 for an hour's travelling) and we were soon meeting Beth and Richard at one of the tables outside Paul's bakery.

    We set out towards the European Parliament. It would be closed today but we still wanted to see the buildings. It was a couple of kilometres away and we enjoyed taking in the sights along the route. Especially when we saw the most amazing cookshop that we ended up losing ourselves in for almost an hour! We even found a wraught iron book stand displaying the 'Netherton Foundry' emblem, from our home town! Will and Beth love to cook and bake, Vicky and Richard love to eat their creations, so it was time well spent!

    The weather was extraordinarily warm for mid October and continuing on our uphill journey towards the European Parliament we become hot and tired, so picnic benches belonging to a hipster café in the park were a very welcome sight. We sipped on homemade lemonade and iced tea, under the dappled shade of trees, being serenaded by a couple of musicians playing jazz style music - perfect!

    Carrying on towards Parliament along busy roads, we passed a mix of old and new buildings, stone fronted houses with high windows where you could imagine with a horse and carriage waiting outside, were intermixed with glass fronted office blocks. There was a real contrast, but the thing they had in common was the layer of grime covering their facades.

    By the time we reached the EU neighbourhood we were ready for lunch, so settled ourselves down for Belgian fries and Stella Artois Juliper at one of the few pubs that was open. Feeling re-energised we went to have a look at the impressive glass fronted buildings in which a large part of the UK's future would be decided. (We later found out Theresa May was meeting Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels the day after we were due to leave).

    Navigating the train network, we travelled back to the city centre where Vicky went back to care for Poppy while Will, Beth & Rich went for waffles - piled with cream, strawberries, banana. Afterwards, we all met at a bar on the Grand Place where we sat outside and tasted some more Belgian beer! - is there a trend beginning to emerge here? A view of the stunning square wasn't the only interesting sight this pub offered, a trip to the men's toilets made Will, then Richard stop in their tracks -see the photo!

    Being Saturday, it was the day before Beth's birthday and she'd chosen a nice restaurant (ABrussel), with modern, typically Belgian dishes, for the evening meal. It was a cosy place with an open kitchen for us to see the food being prepared. This 'Kitchen Theatre' turned out to be better than if dedicated entertainment had been hired! The food was excellent but the organisation and communication between the chef and waiters left something to be desired. We spoke English because English was spoken to us but a mix up meant we were each presented with beef that was well done, not rare. When Will told the chef he shrugged in a slightly confrontational manner and grunted as if to say 'yeah, so?' We got what we wanted in the end and had a great evening, but apologies and discounts were dolled out to many diners as they were leaving.

    To round up the night we stopped for a glass of bubbly at Beubles; a shabby chic champagne bar with old theatre armchairs on coasters as outdoor seating. It was a very enjoyable indulgence to sit and sip whilst taking in the sights and sounds of the European capital on a warm October night!
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  • Day474

    Brussels with Beth & Richard!

    October 13, 2017 in Belgium

    We were so excited! Not because we were about to spend 2 days in Brussels, the European capital city, but because we were going to see Will's daughter Beth and our son in law Richard!

    Not having seen them for more than 15 months, we wanted to spend as much time with them as possible and so we went to pick them up at Brussels airport- something easier said than done in a large camper van. After studying the guidance, we knew there was no pick up point and all of the short stay car parks had height restrictions. We headed for the open air car park P4 but found that bollards at its entrance were placed too close together for us to get through. We couldn't stop anywhere else so drove around while Beth and Rich, unable to see any sign of the supposed shuttle bus, made their way to the car park on foot.

    We were all a little flustered when we finally met, but it was nonetheless wonderful to see them again. After navigating a complicated set of motorways we stopped for lunch in a car park surrounded by autumn trees. After proper hugs it wasn't long before we relaxed into each other's company as if we'd not spent the last 15 months away.

    It was Friday afternoon and Brussels city centre lived up to its reputation as one of the most congested in Europe. At least the gridlocked roads gave us an opportunity for some sight seeing as we passed a modern glass fronted European Commission building and a huge ornate stone arch with fountains as we drove in to drop Beth & Richard off at their hotel.

    It was finding our overnight parking when the fun really began! There was no official van parking within easy reach of the centre and the Youth Hostel that allowed vans to stay in their car park had big event on. We'd found a garage that rented out parking spots for camper vans through ShareMyPark website and exchanged several emails to reserve our spot. On approaching the residential area we saw there were massive roadworks whose diversions took us the wrong way along one way streets. After driving around in circles (for the second time that day) and becoming increasingly stressed we turned down a blocked off road where we saw the large green and blue garage door that we were due to park behind... on the other side of the blockade, in the middle of the road works, with an unsurfaced road outside it. We got the feeling this wasn't going to work out and the friendly loc residents confirmed there was no way in, before 'helping' Vicky do a 3 point turn, arms waving everywhere with good natured thumbs up.

    Although still stressful, the drive to the residential street Will had found on Park4Night got easier the further we drove from the centre. We parked at the top of a narrow cobbled U shaped road between a park and a communal food and medicinal plant garden. It was on a slant but away from traffic flow and wonderful for Poppy. Downloading a Brussels Transport app, we found the nearest bus stop and discovered there were very frequent buses to the city centre, just a few hundred metres from the hotel. It wasn't what we'd planned but at just €9 for a full day's parking we'd found a workable solution 2.5 hours after setting off from lunch!

    It was Beth's birthday weekend and they had booked a nice hotel. We met Richard downstairs and after climbing the polished stone spiral staircase with hardwood banister, rang the doorbell to their suite. We were all blown away by its grandeur, the old wooden beams and furniture, original paintings, ornate blue pottery urns and plates. We enjoyed lounging on the sofa and armchairs with a drink before heading out in search of the traditional Belgian moules-frites. By this time it was dark and gravitating towards a narrow cobbled alley (Rue de Bouchers) lined with eateries selling our desired dish we were literally, grabbed from left and right by people trying to persuade us (in English) to eat with them. We extricated ourselves and found a slightly quieter corner restaurant called Au Coin Gourmand where the staff didn't seem quite so desperate and Richard assured us the Trip Advisor rating was higher than 2/5! Choosing from the set menu, we ate our moules-frites along with starters and a desert of crepe at an outdoor table accompanied by a charismatic cat with a stump of a tail. The atmosphere was light hearted and fun and to chocolatier Beth's delight we were seated opposite Elisabeth's chocolate shop!

    After Beth and Richard had bought waffles from Elisabeth's, we wandered along the lively streets until Beth spotted an interesting and brightly lit building at the end of a side street. Rounding the corner, we discovered it was part of Grand Place, reputedly the most beautiful square in Europe. We just stopped and stared, we were so taken aback. All around us were grand old buildings, tastefully lit, some with gilt detail shining out from their facades. It was one of the most complete squares we can remeber seeing, the imposing Hotel de Ville drawing our eye as a focal point.

    Rounding the night off with a glass of wine in the hotel suite, we caught the bus back to the van, which we were relieved to find undisturbed, despite the number of cars parked nearby emitting loud 'boom boom' music and the giggles and shrieks of late night revellers in the park.

    Although we'd faced difficulties taking the van into Brussels, we'd had the best evening in a long while and were looking forward to a full day in the city with Beth and Richard tomorrow!
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  • Day1

    So wie Croissants und Baguettes zu Paris gehören, ist Brüssel untrennbar mit Pralinen und Schokolade verbunden. In der Capitale Belgiens verführen unzählige Schokolaterien, vor allem rund um den historischen "Grote Markt" und in der "Galeries Royales St.-Hubert", zu einem süßen Einkaufserlebnis der ganz besonderen Art! Schokolade in jeglicher Form, wird in Brüssel zum Kunstobjekt - hochwertig bis extravagant von den "Maitres du Chocolate" in den Schaufenstern und Verkaufsräumen ihrer Fachgeschäfte präsentiert. Dabei überraschen die unterschiedlichsten Konzepte! Wie direkt aus einem Harry Potter Film entnommen, verzaubert ein fantasievoll gestaltetes Schaufenster mit seinen Leckereien. Direkt daneben ziehen der spektakuläre Schokoladenbrunnen und Skulpturen aus der süßen Versuchung die Blicke besonders langsam gehender Passanten auf sich, während die Verkaufsräume einer Schokolaterie gegenüber, mit wertig präsentierten Köstlichkeiten, eher an einen teuren Juwelier erinnern ( www.pierreledent.be ) - wahrlich, bei weitem nicht nur ein Fest für den verwöhnten Gaumen! Das die kleinen, kalorienhaltigen Kunstobjekte einen ganz "besonderen" Preis haben, erklärt sich von selbst. Aber diesen sind sie definitiv wert, zaubern sie doch nahezu jedem ein Lächeln ins Gesicht!Read more

  • Day28

    Brussels to see the sights

    July 22 in Belgium

    We headed off to see the sights of Brussels late morning. We went via Paulette’s place so that I could drop my luggage off as I will be staying with Paulette for a couple of nights before I head home early Tuesday morning. Paulette is pretty close to the airport so much easier to get a taxi from here. The centre of Brussels was very quiet and uncrowded when we got there which was pleasing for us. Once we parked the car we decided to look for a place to have lunch and settled on an Italian Restaurant called Italian Sun. We both ordered pizza and of course we also had a carafe of rosé, a very nice wine in this warm weather. The pizza was delicious one of the best I have had for some time, Brigitte was also very happy with her choice. After lunch we walked through some lovely narrow streets and we must have passed about 50 Chocolate stores they were everywhere. We then headed to the Grand Place that was as lovely as I remembered but even Better in the sunshine and it also looked like the buildings had been recently cleaned. I am so glad I had the chance to come to the centre of this lovely city.

    We then headed out to Paulette’s place where we caught up with Nathalie and her family. Brigitte had brought over the Sticky Date Pudding and we had that for afternoon tea and it was a hit with everyone except for Sohan, Nathalie’s son. Sohan and his Dad played in the pool while we sat around talking and just relaxing (but no wine).

    I had to say goodbye to Brigitte which was a bit sad as we have had a wonderful week just hanging out, having fun and laughing a lot- and drinking a fair amount of wine! Brigitte said this is fine as we are on holidays.

    Tonight Paulette is cooking a rack of lamb, roast potatoes, stuffed tomatoes and green beans followed by a salad and then strawberries for dessert. Lucky I will only be here for a couple of days because if we ate like this all the time I would have to do about 30,000 steps not to gain weight!
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  • Day27

    Belgium's National Holiday

    July 21 in Belgium

    Today we had a bit of a relaxing day - everything was closed and more than 2 million people went to Brussels for all the celebrations. Brigitte and I had talked about going to Ghent and also about going into Brussels but Ghent currently has a Jazz Festival and it would be too crowded and so we decided to stay home and we will go to the City tomorrow. So this afternoon we made a sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce, Brigitte had never heard of this dish and was interested to try it out so Ian sent me the recipe and we made it. I can report that everyone except for Sohan loved it.

    Brigitte then made spaghetti sauce for our dinner. Not having much to do allowed me to catch up with my blog and get it nearly up to date. We had a lovely dinner last night and made plans to go to the city centre tomorrow so that I can see the Grand Place in summer.
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  • Day21

    Last day in Bruxelles

    August 12, 2017 in Belgium

    My time in Bruxelles is coming to an end. I'll have more than just fond memories to take with me though, I spent the day buying various potables and libations to bring with on the next leg of the journey. Will be an interesting challenge trying to get them there (and back to the States) intact.

    Also got to enjoy flowertime, and the various arrangements put together by Artisan florists.

    Chris had recommended a place right by Mannekan Pis called Poechenellekelder. Super cool place, with many puppets and other knickknacks decorating the walls and ceiling. Great beer selection too!

    Bonus pictures: Laura picked up Mira from my mom today. She's so big!! Miss my pup!
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  • Day16

    Yet another parade when I enter a new city! This is starting to be a thing. Found out its called the Zinneke Parade and it went down the street where I am staying and continued to the Grand Place, where the floats and peeps hung out to continue the reveling. The parade theme was ILLEGAL. A cultural event that uses residents along with artists that work together to build bridges between all cultures. A very enthusiastic group!Read more

  • Day16

    Bruxelles 2

    August 7, 2017 in Belgium

    When I woke from my hibernation, I was immediately ready for breakfast, so I set out to get an authentic Belgian waffle. It was hot, and accidentally placed in a little bit of chocolate, which was the perfect amount of chocolate for me.

    I then started the attempt to get myself good and lost exploring the city. It didn't take long, and I saw tons of cool stuff when wandering the streets. The flowers come out in a few days at the Grand place, but other places in the city are already gearing up for it.

    I plopped myself in À la Bécasse for lunch and a flight of beers, and passed the afternoon sipping and reading.

    I'd hit all the major Belgian flavors this point, save moules + frites, do dinner was my chance to change that. When you don't understand any of the three languages on the menus, sometimes what you think is a tomato bisque really is a tomato with mayonnaise, pretty much my two least favorite foods. At least I got the mussels right!
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  • Day17

    Don't let the rain hold you back

    August 8, 2017 in Belgium

    Forecast called for a rainy day, so I figured it was a perfect day to spend inside some of Brussels' many museums. Went to the Musée Old Masters Museum, the Musée Modern Museum, tge Musée Magritte Museum, and the new Musée Fin-de-Siècle Museum.

    It was a bit of a struggle, given that most things of interest were written in French or Dutch, but there were some helpful kiosks that gave history and context to some of the more major pieces.

    I had skipped breakfast, and by the time I got out of the museums, I was half starved. Lunch was at Moeder Lambic, offering up a selection of fantastic sour beers straight from the cask. I went home and read on the balcony while the rain came down, and once it abated, headed out to dinner at Nüetnigenough. They were completely packed, except for the tables outside. The waiter was reluctant to let me have one of them for fear of rain, but I insisted. The weather held, and the food was sublime.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Arrondissement Brussel-Hoofdstad, Arrondissement de Bruxelles-Capitale, Brussels Gewest

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