I remember Belgium only from the painfully long roadtrip to France that my parents would make me endure every summer when I was little, and it never really interested me. But well, that was before I was allowed to drink beer and before waffles, fries and chocolate became scarcely represented treats in my diet. Last weekend I rediscovered Belgium as the artery-blocking melting pot of the languages and cultures that it is. And I must say it was surprising.
First thing that did really take me by surprise is the ‘statue’ that is fully responsible for the image of Brussels. Those of you that are European or not-idiot Americans know what I’m talking about; Manneken Pis. Here’s a pic:
This is THE famous sightseeing thingy that Brussels has to offer. It looks big, right? Like a big statue centered in a large square, named after it, surrounded by souvenirshops and guided Japanese groups. Well after carefully studying the object I can safely say that Belgians are deceitful marketeers (like myself).
When you follow the signs, that are actually bigger than the man itself, up to the square you only come to learn that you have been cheated on and that you came all the way over to Brussels for a tiny boy tucked away in a corner. Seriously, this magnificent statue has a mere height of 61 cm. This really surprised me. But then again, maybe I’m just not educated.
After being deeply disappointed however, you can comfort yourself with beer. Loooots of beer! On every corner you find little bars serving different draft beers. They’re cosy, fun and as Dutch people say: Gezellig! (A word that I am not going to translate, since it is simply untranslatable, one of the few things our language has. It means something along the lines of having a good time with others.) I actually thought the prices were not too bad. They were maybe a little overpriced, but that’s the drawback of visiting any big city. We ordered six different Belgian draft beers, right in the center for only €18. I am not a great drinker, but it was pretty nice.
After the beer you can comfort yourself with food! Chocolate and waffles, they are so good! Whereas the Amsterdam smell can typically be defined as weed, Brussels smells like waffles. You have warm waffles covered in chocolate, waffles with cream and strawberries, waffles with bananas, waffles with liquor.. I guess my post is this late because I just spend two days running off my waffle belly.
Belgium is of course famous for its chocolate and it should be! For every ten steps you take you find a chocolate store, tempting you with delicious bonbons and beautiful chocolate creations. It’s what I imagine heaven to be like!
For the few people that do have some self control I also found this wonderful park/garden thingy with vegetables to promote organic food and stuff. The veggies that grow in the park are prepared by a nearby restaurant. Also closeby the eatable park we found a nice organic coffee shop with wonderful mochaccinos and delicious sandwiches. (www.naturalcaffe.com) I recommend you to go there for sure even though it is expensive.
Finally one other thing I recommend is the hotel we stayed in. Well, it is not actually a hotel, but more of an apartment for long stays, but we used it for a night and it was pretty cool. The room was very spacious and nicely decorated. It had a kitchen, and espresso machine, two tv’s and a separate living room. The minor drawback is that there was no staff at all and that it was a ten minute walk to the center, but really I do recommend you to stay there!
Overall I can not conclude otherwise than that Brussels is a city of sin. My inner fatty and badass indulged themselves.