Brenden and I loved Belgium. We started out by spending a couple of days in Brussels, which is an incredibly lively city full of beautiful old architecture and GREAT food. We felt so welcome there, it didn't feel like a foreign country at all. If you want to experience European hospitality at its finest, take a jet over to Belgium. For real.
We stayed a few blocks away from the Grand Place, a market square surrounded by guild halls. On the walk to our apartment from Brussel-Centraal Train Station, we had to wander down Rue du Marché aux Fromages, which is lined with dozens of quaint little restaurants. After dropping off our luggage, we headed right back and settled on one of the six Greek restaurants lining the cobblestone street.
I love old buildings because they usually have so much character, which is particularly true for Brussels. The endless window boxes and vines are so quaint and charming. Another thing we noticed is that there were so many record stores. Not kidding, probably at least one on every block. It's wonderful.
Isn't the Grand Place so stunning? In addition to the guild halls, the square is home to the city's town hall and a building called the "Breadhouse" which is also home to the Brussels museum.
I have to say, I'm a sucker for some good signage. There was a lot of it and I had to stop myself from stopping every 3 meters to take photos of it.
One of the biggest (if not THE biggest) tourist attractions in Brussels is the Manneken Pis, which means "little man pee" in Dutch. It kind of embodies the rambunctious spirit of the city. There are all sorts of celebrations around the peeing statue throughout the year, one of which we happened to witness. It was kind of amazing. At first it was a little confusing. As ethnocentric Americans, we couldn't help but wonder why hordes of colorfully-clothed Belgians were paying tribute to a pervy baby statue. A quick Wikipedia search proved that we were wrong, and the Manneken Pis is actually kind of dope. Apparently he's been stolen a few times, and on occasion, they'll hook him up to a keg of beer.
We wandered outside of the square and its immediate area to check out this "castle." Okay so it was only a little section of a castle but still probably older than anything we have over here in the states. We found a little bench and watched the sunset before walking back and grabbing a gaufre. (When in Belgium, right?)
My favorite part about staying in Brussels was our cozy little flat. It had a balcony that overlooked the brasseries and delicatessens down below. There was a fantastic bar called MONK right across the street. Best cappuccino I've ever had. Brussels, you're wonderful and I cannot wait to come back.