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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Brussels in a Chocolate Covered Beer Filled Nutshell

So back in May my dad and Geneva came out to Paris to visit yours truly. Since they had previously vacation for a week in Paris we decided to skip town for the weekend of May 27-29 and head out to Brussels to indulge ourselves in chocolate, waffles and in my case beer as well. I took a half day of work on Friday and we jumped on the Thalys train from Paris to Brussels, which thanks to Central Europe’s fantastic rail system is only 1 hour and 25 mins away. We arrived to our hotel, yes this time I would be staying in a nice hotel in my own room and not a hostel with 7 other people in my room, got settled and set out to see what Brussels had to offer.

We walked down to the Grande Place, which is a big square in the center of the city with some beautiful buildings surrounding it and filled with lots of nice patios to sit on and have a beer or two. We strolled through the streets browsing through the chocolate shops and admiring the architecture. We eventually made our way to Mannekin Pis, the little statue of the boy peeing. Slightly disappointing as he’s very tiny, but I guess I should expect much from a statue of a boy peeing and honestly I don’t know that I would want it to be any larger. After walking around for a while and getting a fill for the city center we went and had dinner. I of course had to get the fries and of course had to have a Belgian beer. The beer, as expected, was fantastic. After dinner we retreated to the hotel but not before trying a Belgian waffle of course. Again, fantastic. While it was a good start to Brussels unfortunately since Nick, who was supposed to come along with us, was unable to make the trip at the last minute I would be left alone come night fall. Normally no big deal, but this meant I would have no one to go out and enjoy more Belgian beer with. Not wanting to go alone and actually being too exhausted to even consider it, I decided to go ahead and call it an early night since it had been about a month since I had even a decent nights sleep.

The next day we got up and hurried out to a chocolate factory where we were told we could join a group for a tour of the factory. While the tour would be in Flemish, they told us we could join nonetheless and that they would do English for us as well. However, once we got there, the woman who appeared to be the organizer of the group that would be taking the tour did not like the idea that the factory said we could join their tour and she refused to let us trail behind her group. A rather rude woman I must add. So we left so as not to cause her too much strife and headed back to the touristy areas in town. We decided the best way to see the city would be to take the bus tour, so that’s what we did. While it was a great trip around the city and an easy way to see everything, I couldn’t help but be a little upset that my pictures weren’t coming out as nicely as they would have had I been walking around like I normally do. However, my feet were very thankful that I was not forcing them to carry me all over the city as I normally do for my trips. After the bus tour we decided to go see the comic museum since Belgium is known for their comic strips. Belgians are actually responsible for the Smurfs as I recently found out. Not a very impressive museum from my perspective but then again I’ve never been too fond of comic strips. Yet it’s still something one should probably see when in Belgium since it is such a big aspect of their culture.

The next day we weren’t set to leave till later in the afternoon, so we walked around some more enjoying the park out front of the palace, buying more chocolate, and of course having one last waffle and beer. We eventually boarded the train late afternoon and made our way back to Paris where we were welcomed with the cold and rain which was quite a contrast to the sunny and warm Brussels we had just left. But yet it still felt good to be what has now come to feel like my home.

All in all I really enjoyed Brussels as a weekend destination. I wouldn’t recommend staying in the city for longer than a day or two but it’s definitely worth a visit. I definitely want to go back to Belgium, but next time want to visit other cities such as Bruges as it seems it’s much more scenic where Brussels is a very functional city. I do have to reiterate though that the waffles, chocolate and beer were fantastic. I know the fries are supposed to be good too, I just didn’t actually have any good ones, but I can definitely vouch for the other three. So one word of advice, before going to Belgium make sure you diet a little first so as to make room for the overindulgence of beer, chocolate and waffles.

1 comment:

Geneva said...

What a wonderful time we had with
you Kristine. I loved Belgium and
the chocolate and waffles were fantastic. I have had so much fun
giving out chocolate from Belgium to my friends and of course eating some too. Truly it is a weekend retreat but one I would go back too just for the waffles and chocolate.
I really just wish I had one of those crispy hot fresh waffles right now.!!!!!