Brussels is one of the most scenic cities that I’ve come across so far. The architecture is unique and individual and gardens and parks across the city are interspersed, providing splashes of colour to the otherwise stone city.
The Cinquantenaire Park is a ten minute train ride from the centre of Brussels and provides a beautiful change of scenery. The arches of the buildings and grounds of the park were absolutely beautiful and we got great weather.
“This time last year, it was minus 20,” said our Uber driver in Brussels on the way to the Atomium, gesturing to the cherry blossoms already in bloom.
The park had a distinct lack of squirrels, which was disappointing however the museums around it did not disappoint. Emma escaped to look for a bathroom, and ended up spending twenty minutes inside the car museum as she had to pay to enter so decided to make the most of it. We visited the Egyptian exhibit which was packed with people, and Helen was questioned by a museum exhibit curator about whether she thought the lights in the display cases were too bright.
“No, I think that they’re fine,” she assured him.
“Hmm….” he said.
We visited the Grand Palace, where I decided that one day I’m going to own a house that size…maybe. We marvelled at Grand Place, where the finishings were coated in gold and and tourists posed with cameras on the cobblestones.
While partway through taking awkward selfies, an older gentleman approached us.
“Would you like a photo of all three of you?” He asked politely.
I don’t know if he could see the hesitation in our faces but at that moment, all of us were thinking the same thing.
“This is Europe, you shouldn’t hand over your camera to a stranger in the middle of a tourist hotspot.”
This was followed by “We could probably run as fast as him”.
We hesitated probably longer than was reasonable before putting on smiles and handing him an iPhone.
He took a lovely photo of us was on his way. I hate the doubt that we had and how we almost didn’t trust someone who was trying to do a nice deed, but in those circumstances sometimes it pays to be careful. We thanked him profusely and from the situation received a nice photo and kept our wallets.
We visited many other tourist hotspots during our time in Brussels. A cathedral (how many cathedrals do the Europeans have, seriously?), the park opposite the palace and the side streets around Grand Place.
There were tiny market stalls in one area over the weekend and every tourist shop in and around Grand Place seemed to sell souvenirs, chocolate or waffles. Surprisingly, Belgium’s most famous statue is the Manneken Pis – a statue of a little boy pissing.
I particularly enjoyed the museum in Grand Place, which had a whole room dedicated to costumes donated by other countries to be worn by the statue.
Why? Belgium, I guess!
We loved the food and the people and the culture of Brussels. We even got pretty good weather despite visiting in early February! It was great and overcast for the first two days however the blue skies on the final day were a welcome surprise.
This is the third and final post about my February trip to Brussels with a couple of friends and I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about it. If you ever get the chance, do stop in because the city is amazing (if you haven’t guessed by now!).
One piece of advice: Make sure you eat as many waffles as possible because you’ll be thinking about them for weeks afterwards!