The next stop on my mini Eurotrip was Brussels for a two-day stay where I had a catch up with a good friend from university. On the first day I visited the typically touristy sites: Grand Place, Mont des Arts, Royal Museums of Fine Arts (Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique), Royal Palace of Brussels (Palais Royal de Bruxelles), and Brussels Park (Parc de Bruxelles). Grand Place–a UNESCO World Heritage Site–is without a doubt the most popular destination among tourists in Brussels. It is essentially a town/city square (like Trafalgar Square but with a better nightlife) that is home to a number of restaurants, bars, and of course, a Starbucks. There were also a few street performers around the area when I visited that day.
Later in the evening, I met up with my friend who took me to a friterie near Grand Place (I believe the place was called Friterie Tabora). From a selection of about 40 different sauces, I accompanied my large frites with a very scrumptious Hannibal sauce. Afterwards, I was shown two famous yet slightly disturbing statues depicting a little boy and a girl urinating (Manneken Pis and Jeanneke Pis). The rest of the night was spent checking out a bunch of pubs, including a very crowded Delirium Café which boats some 3000 different beers.
We did brunch at les Brassins Brussels the next day–a stone throw away from the house where Audrey Hepburn was born–and wandered around the city before enjoying Chelsea’s defeat to Southampton on TV.
Brussels has the architectural charm that Frankfurt lacks. Its mixture of gothic, baroque, neoclassical and art nouveau styles is good news for Caribbean travellers, like myself, who prefer old European architecture to contemporary buildings. Like Frankfurt, Brussels has great transportation links if you want to take your trip to another country. There are three major railway stations in the city (Nord, Central, Midi) where you can catch a train to London or enjoy other mainland European destinations like Lille, Paris, Amsterdam, Basel, and Luxembourg.
Verdict on Brussels
Best thing: Hanging out with my friend.
Worst thing: The locals do not understand the concept of cleaning up after their dogs. Watch your step!
Must see: Grand Place
Favourite place: Mont des Arts where you can get an amazing view of the city.
TRAVEL UPDATE: In light of recent events in Paris and Brussels, it is recommended that travellers contact their foreign ministries and embassies for travel advisories.
Stay tuned for more tales of my European birthday adventure.