If you’ve been following my posts, you may recall me mentioning that I wanted to visit Europe for my birthday and partake in a little country hopping. Well, this came into fruition sooner than expected. A flight deal flashed across my phone screen for a roundtrip flight to Brussels for only $331!! Ok, now you have my attention!! I researched hotels, train tickets, and living accommodations. Everything was coming together; I was ready to purchase my first flight to Europe.
The first thing we did when we arrived in Brussels was purchase a Belgian waffle from a food truck parked in front of the bus station. Only one word can describe these delectable grids of goodness: SINFUL!!! For breakfast the next morning, we tried the waffles at Le Funambule. Here, you can add a variety of toppings to your waffle: nutella, fruit, whipped cream, ice cream, you name it. The plain waffles are perfect by themselves without the toppings, but whatever floats your boat. Now, instead of pairing my waffles with chicken, I paired mine with Belgian beer. I’m no fan of beer, but I had my fair share in Brussels! One brand I grew fond of was Tillmans. They produced fruity beers, and I tried them all – peach, raspberry, and blackberry. The blackberry was a little too tart for my liking.
Because Brussels is not a large city, it did not take long for us to hit the major attractions. First up was Grand Place aka Grote Mrkt. Grand Place is located in the center of Brussels and was within walking distance from our Hotel. Grand Place was adorned with beautiful structures and gothic architecture. You can only imagine my excitement when I realized gargoyles decorated some of the buildings. I had been waiting my entire life to see this!! Fun Fact: Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage site, added in 1998. Not-so-fun Fact: after conducting some research, I learned that people were once executed where we stood centuries ago.
In the same vicinity, we visited the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula and Mannekin Pis, a statue of a little boy “urinating” into a fountain. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see Mannekin Pis dressed up as a fireman, Santa Claus, and other characters. I was told that there’s also a Jeanneke Pis, a statue of a young girl urinating, and a dog attempting to urinate on a fountain. I was not able to find either of these statues. Le Funambule has a replica of Mannekin Pis chained to the wall outside of their waffle shop. Apparently, someone loved the statue so much, they felt the need to steal it. Hence, the reason you’ll find the statue chained to the wall.
Our next stop was Atomium, a giant atom originally built for the fair. We caught the metro, and after about a 10 minute ride, we had arrived. Each “electron” houses an exhibition, and the panoramic restaurant is located at the very top. When darkness falls, Atomium lights up; unfortunately, we did not make it back at night to witness the lights bring this monument to life. If you’re a lover of lights like myself, google “Atomium at night” to see what all the hype is about. While you’re visiting Atomium, you can also visit Mini-Europe, a park filled with mini replicas of popular monuments found throughout Europe – the Eiffel Tower, Palace of Westminster, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and many others. A combination ticket for adults is only 33 euros and includes admission into Atomium, Mini-Europe, and Oceade, a water park. It wasn’t until after I visited Atomium that I learned about the two latter parks.
Before I conclude this post, I do want to let you all know about my living accommodations because our hotel was in the perfect location!! Of all the hotels in Brussels, I decided on Brussels Marriott Hotel Grand Place. I absolutely loved this hotel! The hotel was very posh and was within walking distance to restaurants, bars, and the train. Upon our arrival, we were greeted with a warm welcome by hotel staff. The rooms were very spacious, but I advise you to be careful when taking a shower. The tub wall is extremely high and I took a tumble when getting out. I forgot how high the side of the tub was, and I was not wearing my glasses. My friend’s room was beneath mine, and she heard the commotion but had no idea what was going on. Please be careful!! Lol
Update: How could I forget to mention chocolate?!?! I purchased a bag of chocolate from Leonida’s, which is located across the street from Le Funambule. Their chocolate is delicious and inexpensive. There is a large assortment to choose from. While you’re there, pick up a few pieces that were made with alcohol :).