Though I did fall in love with the city, Brussels began on a very sour note. We left Lux after 7 am breakfast and arrived in Brussels about 12 after a delayed train. Our teacher wanted a seafood fresh market restaurant so after dropping our luggage at the amazing Aloft (more on that later) we set out. Requests to bus were ignored resulting in over an hour walk and students (including myself) getting dizzy with headaches. Finally arriving, the place was amazing. My grumbling stomach prevented photographing my gorgeous tuna burger but just trust me on its greatness.
On the grueling walk to the market, we stopped to take photos and appreciate the city. My starvation at that point was so over whelming, I actually forgot about the photos until I looked through my Flickr uploads (click link for more photos). So basically this unbelievable photos like the one below were almost lost among the thousands taken this trip.
Unfortunately for y’all, the best part of my Brussels’ experience was encountered without my eye behind the lens. After lunch, we napped–oh! I said I would talk about the hotel. So Aloft’s have always been my favorite hotels (shout out to Uncle Dew) and the one in Brussels was no exception. After a month of living in a seminary, the modern location was a more than welcome change. I shared a room with one other girl and it was ah-mazzzz-inggg. Clean sheets. Clean showers. Clean towels. What more could a girl ask for?
So after refreshing naps, we hit up dinner at about 8 (yes, we took 2-3 hour naps). Dinner consisted of mussels and wine which were fabulous. After dinner we went to Delirium, the bar with over 2000 choices of beer (yet, I couldn’t get a Miller Light). Thankfully, missing the simple beers I enjoy, I was able to skip the calories for the night. The bar was cool except for many (creepy) 30 year old (married) men who continuously flirted with us. This is the best photo I got but it was just on my phone. The ceiling’s covered in.. um… trays? with beer logos.. I’m not certain there’s an official name. I feel like the many people who graciously speak English to us and cannot come up with the proper term so they just describe whatever it is to us.
Our night was the greatest part of Brussels because the next day began with a simple quest for a waffle breakfast that rather resulted in another 2 hour walking tour. On said tour, we came across a sky restaurant. It lifts people above the city while eating with a crane. I wish we had been able to do it though I now know it is over €250 a person. The large negative to the restaurant was the gorgeous building being blocked by the crane (but a building blocked by a crane, what else is new in Europe).
Don’t worry, I participated in the cliche’s of Belgium aside from just beer. I ate a fabulous waffle with a chocolate drizzle and strawberries. Yes, after the hours of walking we did finally achieve waffles–just not for breakfast as requested. I am not a huge fan of waffles but it was definitely the best I had ever had. Though the tastiness was possibly due to the incredible amounts of sugar. While the waffle was great, the strawberries were sublime.
Tip: don’t go somewhere charging €5 for a waffle with toppings. Nearly everywhere offers them for €1 with like €,5 for toppings (especially around the peeing boy statue). The expensive ones taste no better.
I didn’t know but one of the most known attractions in Brussels is a peeing boy fountain appropriately named Manneken Pis. The fountain is hidden on a street corner and appears very unimportant (aside from the hoards of tourists with cameras). The second time we visited he wore a rain jacket. Apparently, he has many costumes. Due to this being the most important part of Brussels, almost all souvenirs of the city are fairly crude.
I feel the statue is a perfect representation of Brussels’ gungy yet fun nature. While the visit started a bit rocky, the rebellious city easily grew on me. I enjoyed Brussels enough by the end that I plan to return with my family in a few days.
I want to apologize for my postings almost complete stand still. The class I took the past two weeks required a great amount of critical thinking and energy. I was in my element and loved every second but the effort required for the course was pulled from the effort I put into the blog. I still have three weeks of traveling with my family and plan to put all the brain power I was putting into school into this blog. Due to visiting a few areas for the second/third time, I am planning a 24 hour guide to the cities.The series would include Luxembourg (obviously), Brussels, and Paris (possibly Rome as well). I also plan to post a bit about the Social Entrepreneurship class and project I just completed. If anyone has anything they wish to know about which I have not covered please just let me know in a comment (or text/iMessage/Snap/telegraph me).
I hope everyone’s past few days have been amazing!
Lesson of the day(s?):
While cathedrals are unbelievably awe inspiring, college students can only take so much of them. If you drag us in to too many quotes such as “It’s so annoying because it’s just so beautiful” will end up slipping out. This came from a friend after our (second) visit the Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims on a stop just meant for breakfast.
Word of the day:
small = petit (easy to figure out)
lunch = déjeuner
breakfast = petit déjeuner
I was very confused why petit was on so many restaurants to mean breakfast. I assumed the word just had two meanings until I asked our guide and was filled in on the great truth.