BrusselsMarch 24 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C
First let me mention my means of travel to Brussels from London. I opted for a FlixBus because, although long, cheaper than the last minute train ticket. It was packed, and hard to find (I had to flag it down myself, nearly missing it, but this is a normal occurrence for me), but it was a very cool experience. Geographically-challenged-me didn't even think about how a bus would get to the other side of the English Channel. Answer? They put the bus INSIDE of a bus-sized train car. Claustrophobia-enducing for some I would think, but very cool to me! You're under the water for a while, being propelled through water inside of a bus, inside of a train car. A friend of mine noted "it's like the turducken" of travel. Blew my mind.
My stay in Brussels was lovely. My actual "stay" was in a town called Landen, about 40 minutes east of Brussels. My hosts here were a friend of my sister's from college (who I haven't seen in 10+ years, but responded and welcomed me without hesitation when I reached out about visiting), and her husband. They both work for Médecins Sans Frontières out of Brussels (true heroes). They picked me up from the train station after a long day of unexpected work (on a Sunday) and took me immediately to "Manneken Pis." It's an incredibly small fountain, of an incredibly small naked boy, with an incredibly small penis. That's the whole thing, and I think it's generally understood as a joke. But they sure are proud of it! Very funny. I later found the sister fountain, "Janneke-Pis" (across from the popular Delirium bar - overrated, you can get both the beer and experience in America). And I actually found this version so ADORABLE and picture worthy. Maybe I could relate to her more?
We got beers at a bar called Poechenellekelder, across from the fountain. It was a little kitschy but in just the right way for me! And they had an extensive beer selection that was almost entirely foreign to me, so my host Lily pointed me in the direction of some special German beers. One favorite was Orval, pictured here.
The next two days I spent exploring the city by foot, as you do. I went to the Magritte museum (worth it), and the comic book museum (also worth it, to learn about the rich comic history in Belgium, but a very short trip). Mostly got a taste for some beautiful city views. The main plaza, Grand-Place was a nice landmark and spot to stop and relax. As far as food goes - the pommes frites were average to me, having enjoyed many pommes frites at home in NYC or in Germany that I thought topped the ones I had here. The waffles though, rocked. I learned that there are two kinds - gaufre de Bruxelles and gaufre de Liege. The Liege style is great! I preferred it. It's got pieces of sugar inside of the waffle itself and is less perfectly square than the Brussels style. So delicious.
One of my favorite moments was stumbling upon an elevator on the street. I saw a couple of people head into it, and it seemed so arbitrarily placed in the middle of this quiet street, I assumed it had to be there for some good reason. I took it up to the top, where it opened to a small, short bridge to the plaza outside of an enormous beautiful old courthouse, with a monument in the center that I don't actually remember anything about because the view was so wonderful. There were people taking pictures all over, understandably so. Beautiful view I didn't know about ahead of time, which is the best kind!
There is certainly. a lot to be done and seen in Brussels. I would have loved to take more advantage of the arts scene there, with a little more time and money at my disposal. But walking around and catching sight of the great comic street art scattered around the city is very cool. Nice juxtaposition of history, beauty, and modern art.Read more