The Union's Capital
Following Amsterdam, Sam and I headed down to the European Union's capital, Brussels. While we were planning our trip, we knew we wanted to go to Amsterdam but we also wanted to pick a city we had never been too. When people think about European cities to visit, Brussels is lower on the list however I had read a few articles over the past year or two about Brussels being an underrated city. This along with it being only a three hour train ride from Amsterdam lead us to the decision to head there for two days.
Upon arriving, it was clear why Brussels is often over looked by travel goers. It doesn't have the European charm that captivates you similar to Amsterdam or Paris. Brussels somewhat reminded me of Frankfurt, although there was more to see and the food was better. I was talking to a local about this and he mainly said this was due to the increase of diplomats which in turn increased prices elsewhere around town which drove the middle class out. This made sense as a number of the things we love about Europe, the tasty bakeries, quaint family stores etc..., are generally run by the middle class and it just felt as if they were absent in Brussels. I cannot attest to this as I do not know much about Belgian politics but it would make sense.
This all being said, Brussels is still worth a visit for a day or two. There are very charming parts of town but more specifically, the Grand Place (which I will get into later) is a must see. I don't want to knock Brussels what so ever, it just is not my favorite city that I have traveled too. I would also like to caveat my opinion with the fact that we were there on a Sunday, when things are closed, and also on a Monday which turned out to be a holiday.
Irrespective of our initial opinion, we wanted to explore all that Brussels had to offer so we did this in the most efficient way possible, walking. The city is relatively small so we were able to cover a lot of ground in the two days we were there. The more we walked around, the more we stumbled upon areas we liked so Brussels slowly began to grow on us. On top of that, even though there is not a bakery everywhere you turn, there is still plenty of food and drink to indulge. Frites, beer and waffles are all specialties in Brussels so we of course had plenty of those.
All of the major sites in Brussels can easily be seen in a day. There are a few places we did not venture too such as the Atomium, Mini-Europe and Cinquantenaire but I wasn't hard pressed on seeing on of these from the start. Two days was more than enough time to see everything while still being able to relax. Yet if there was only one thing to see in Brussels, it is spending time in the Grand Place. A trip to Brussels is worth it just for this marvelous UNESCO World Heritage Site as it the most jaw dropping city center I have ever seen. Samantha and I found ourselves in here a number of times on our trip, sipping a Trappist beer while enjoying the mesmerizing architecture.
All in all, we enjoyed our trip to Brussels. I most certainly want to head back to Belgium to check out the countryside, Ghent, Bruges and the Ardennes Forest (known for the Battle of the Bulge) however I would not be in a rush to get back to Brussels. Yet, if I do find myself there, the Grand Place is where you will be able to find me, slurping on some mussels and sipping an Orval.
|Mussels and frites, a Brussels must.|
|Grand Place at night.|
|Panorama of Grand Place at night.|
|Orval is a rare Trappist beer.|