March 14, 2019

48 Hours in Brussels

Howdy! If you ever find yourself living in West Germany, take a train to Brussels. It's a pretty inexpensive train and not very long ride.  I actually missed by first train and had to buy another ticket which wasn't too pricey (although don't be like me and miss your train). Important to note: if you buy an ICE train ticket make sure it is the flexible one. It cost around 12 dollars more but it's worth every penny. Anyways, Brussels doesn't have a lot of tourist attractions, which actually made it very nice because there wasn't as many people around.  With that being said, my friends and I definitely had a lot of fun doing some activities around the city.  I wanted to share with y'all the perfect ideal weekend in Brussels on a budget of course!

1. Manneken Pis: Honestly, you can't go to Brussels and not go see the Manneken Pis (additionally there is Jeanneken Pis).  The Manneken Pis is a water fountain of a little, naked boy peeing! The city even dresses him up in different costumes. There is always a pretty large crowd around him, but there is a female version a few street overs and she doesn't have quite as much of a draw from what I saw.  You can buy a lot of souvenirs of the Manneken Pis. 

2. Belgium Waffles, Fries, and Chocolate: Belgium is pretty famous for three foods, all of which you can eat in Brussels!  Belgium waffles are truly live up to the hype. There are lots of different places where you can get these waffles at, but we went to this one place where we could customize the waffle with fruit and Belgium chocolate. Speaking of Belgium chocolate, you must try it! To be honest, it was better than Swiss chocolate! There are shops everywhere that sell Belgium chocolate, so no worries about finding a particular one. Of course, let us not forget the fries! Fries with mayo (don't knock it till you try it) are a staple in Brussels! I believe after all, that fries were invented there!

3. Comic Book Route: The comic book route is essentially a path with wall murals that celebrate different comic book artist from Brussels. Did you know the Adventures of Tintin are Belgium?! You can find a lot of different tours within the city or on Airbnb that will walk around the route so you can see all the murals.  If I were to go back to Brussels I would 100% spend more time doing that.

4. Atomium: This Brussels landmark was built for the world fair in 1958 and depicts an atom.  It's super cool to look at, and it is nearby several other big tourist attractions and the convention center (although we just went over to look at Atomium, because everything else was more pricey) You can go up into Atomium as well and get a really nice panoramic view of the city! 

5. New Chattouille: This cat cafe was hands down one of my favorite things I did in Brussels. Y'all know how much I love cats.  You can order a delicious latte with a paw print, and pet kitties as you drink! Does life get better than that? Also, the prices were pretty affordable, and if you happen to really fall in love with one of the kitties you can adopt them! 

6. L'Atelier en Ville Cafe: This cafe was one my host mom suggested. She told me their frappes were to die for and that she had a friend she met who works there. She was spot on with this suggestion! The cafe was so cool! The drinks were good! Plus the sold cool art and clothes in the cafe. I purchased this really beautiful wood print for only 10 dollars. I wish I had a picture of it to show, but its on my wall. There is also a nice little outdoor courtyard, but the weather wasn't great while we were there so had to pass on that.

7. Vintage 15 Cent Clothing Store: We just happened upon this store next to L'Atelier en Ville.  It was a resale shop where every kilogram was 15 cents.  I found the cutest Inuit sweater for only 2 dollars.  It is an interesting find for sure. I think I could have spent a lot more time there (and money lol)!

8. Elevator to the Sky &  Long Red Bench: After leaving this shop, we went down an elevator to the "downtown" part of the city. The elevator is completely free. From the top you get a really nice panoramic view of Brussels. After exiting the elevator on the bottom, there is the really neat long, red bench. Not the most practical, but certainly very cool!

9. Palace: The palace in Brussels is absolutely gorgeous. Not too much of a tourist attraction, but there is also a very nice park right next to it.

10. The Grand Place: Of course you have to go to the Grand Place! It is the central square of the city and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Our Airbnb was very close by, so we walked around for a while.  There was even a singer and fiddler out in the rain preforming and everyone started dancing and singing to them! If I remember right they performed "Celebrate". It is a memory I am very fond of.  Apparently, spontaneous performers are pretty common too.  Several other classmates had similar experiences at the Grand Place.  If you are a beer drinker, there is a pub on the square that you can get a whole spread of drinks to sample.  I don't drink, but my two friends got it and the beers were apparently very good from what I was told.  Also there seems to be a lot of festivals that go on just behind the Grand Place. We happened upon one, along with a festival food market.  It was a ton of fun!

11. McDonald's: This suggestion is for the Americans.  If you're missing ice in your drinks, go to the McDonald's in Brussels. They will actually give you ice! Not a single other place I went in Europe gave ice with drinks. Plus you can get cheap and good macarons. 

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