Friday, June 20, 2014
BRUSSELS IN MARCH
Right, so I finally got the first batch of the photos of my trip to Belgium and the Netherlands published. Yay! These are from Brussels, where we spent two days with my friend Emmi. Brussels struck me as a really international city, which isn't a wonder, since the European Parliament is located there. The city was bilingual; all the signs were written both in French and Flemish. This reminded me a lot of my home, the southern coast of Finland, where everything is both in Finnish and Swedish. Perhaps because of this Brussels felt so welcoming and warm.
We didn't really have time to explore as much as we would have wanted to, but I'll list some interesting things to do in Brussels.
1. Grand Place (first and second pictures). The square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is lined with buildings such as Hôtel de Ville and Maison du Roi, which are elaborately decorated with gold. There are some great street cafés near the square - I'd recommend just walking around and taking it all in. Make sure to buy a Belgian waffle while you're at it (the most touristy ones are covered with whipped cream, Nutella and strawberries, but the ones you'll see in the hands of locals only have some sugar sprinkled on them).
2. Manneken Pis. A statue of a little boy peeing, with water springing from, well, you know where. The tourist shops are full of miniature models of the statue.
3. Keep your eyes open for wall paintings, which can be seen throughout the city! Notice the one of Tintin portrayed above.
4. Parc de Bruxelles and Palais Royale. The royal palace and a park, which was pretty lame in March when it was all grey, but it's probably really pretty in the summer :)
5. Near Palais de Justice there is a great spot with an incredible view of Brussels. There's this elevator for a panorama view (on a small square called Breughel L’ancien). Here you can also explore Les Marolles, a little visited but interesting area of Brussels.
6. Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula (the church photos above), located on the top of a hill. A breathtakingly beautiful church.
7. Galeries St. Hubert (last photo), luxury shopping.
Eating & Drinking
1. Delirium, Impasse de la Fidélité 4. Our favourite bar in Brussels. It might be a bit hard to find since it's on this really small street lined with restaurants, but definitely, definitely worth seeing. The place serves over 2000 different beers! Make sure to try the "Delirium Red", the bar's own kriek (cherry beer). We went on a Monday night, and the place was full of people anyway. The atmosphere was awesome and the staff is super nice.
2. La Belle Équipe, Rue Antoine Dansaert 202. This really cute, rustic pizza place is not in the centre, but close to Place St. Catherine, which is also worth seeing. We ended up eating here since we stayed close by via Airbnb, and our host recommended it :)
3. Moules frites (=fries and mussels) is a delicious Belgian dish that is served in most restaurants, try it.
I hope this post is of some use to those visiting Brussels! I'll try to get posted tips on Brugge and Amsterdam soon.