Thursday, 18 June 2015

Belgians, Beer, and Balls

Last month, the boyfriend and I traveled to Brussels for 4 days. It was one of those last-minute trips and while I didn't know much about Brussels, my lovely colleague Roxane (with whom a I traveled to Paris earlier this year and who is Belgian) told all about her wonderful city! We had such a great time in brussels, it's got a great mix of culture, food, and general fun things to do for everyone. We also had a cheeky day trip to Bruges, but that's for another post!

Anyway, read more below is you want to see this photo-heavy trip.

As usual, we rented out someone's flat for our stay. Our Airbnb host was Carole, who we didn't meet, but left us feeling right at home. She even had Belgian beers and chocolate for us on our arrival! Her flat is very central, only about 15 minutes from the city center. It was a very cozy place, with a very unique decoration.

The tub made us giggle, and let's just say it was quite an experience to take a bath there.

On our first evenign we ventured out with a map and no plan for what to do. We thought we'd go to the center of town to get our bearings. We stumbled along with super large mural of street art. There's actually so much street art in Brussels, you can tell it's a creative city.

The boyfriend went back and bought himself a fancy beer glass from this place before we left - it's the perfect souvenir!

Something I didn't realize until I did a bit more research on Brussels is how many comics I used to read when I was a kid are from Belgium! For some reason, I always thought they were from France. But no, the Schtroumpfs (Smurfs for you English folks)and Lucky Luke were both created by Belgian artists! They have an entire museum dedicated to "la bande dessinée" and there's even walking tours that show you all of the comics-related street art in the city. This was probably my favourite aspect of Brussels!

Brussels also had a lot weird statues. A lot.

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula.

The Grand Place! This is main square in Brussels, and it's surrounded by guildhalls, the Town Hall, and the Breadhouse. They had it all light up that evening, it was really beautiful. We went back to the Grand Place almost every day, as it was only minutes away from our flat. 

The next morning, we set out with a proper plan in mind! I had spotted all of the sights I wanted to see on my map, and we made the trek all the way to the Atomium.

It was a bit of a long ride on the metro, but the Atomium was definitely worth the visit! It was built in 1958 for the Universal Expo in Brussels. It's an incredibly large building and it's very impressive. The boyfriend was very entailed by the engineering work, obviously.

We noticed these men cleaning one of the spheres, and wow, what a scary job.

This reminded me so much of the I Amsterdam sign!

Yes, you can walk up and down those tubes that connect the spheres. It's a very futuristic and space-y looking building, in spite of being built so long ago.

After that, we decided to have a cheap little lunch at Quick, the French version of McDonald's. This was really good! Even the French fries, and yes, Belgian French fries are so much better than regular French fries.

Well, that's the end of our first two days in Brussels. I'll be posting about Bruges in a couple of days, and what we did on our last day. I wish I could go back! Brussels is such a beautiful, exciting city. We saw so many tourists everywhere, and everyone looked like they were having a great time. It's funny, because it's got something for everything: it's a great place for a group of friends, couples, and families. 

Have you ever been to Brussels?
What was your favourite thing to visit while there?


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