BRUSSELS – THE CENTER OF EUROPEAN CULTURE AND POLITICS

Brussels, Belgium | August 17 to 19, 2017

Next stop, the capital of the European Union: Brussels. As a lover of all things European, I made sure to add it to the itinerary. This place is a sanctuary for lovers of chocolate, chocolate waffles, chocolate crêpes, chocolate donuts, french fries, chocolate french fries, and many other great things. It also has other great food and some quite beautiful landmarks. The first thing I wanted to see was Market Square at the Grand Palace. Literally everything is decked out in gold. The old Belgians clearly spared no expense.

After taking down two or three chocolate covered waffles, I had to see Mannekin Pis, the old statue of a little boy taking...well, a piss. Apparently during festivals they dress the little boy statue up in different outfits. I would love to see that.

Brussels is known for having some great museums. Naturally, that was where I was off to next. On the walk to the Royal Museum of Fine Artts and Musée Fin de siécle was the Mont des Arts. Apparently the Belgians like gardens, statutes, and museums.

One notable monument I took a few pictures of, but didn't know what the significance was, is the Whirling Ear (L'orelle tourbillonnante). A sculpture of modern art, this piece survived the 1958 World Exhibition of Brussels and now stands proudly on the corner of Rue du Musée for all to enjoy.

Once I got to the museums—which are right next to each other—I was not disappointed in the slightest. The architecture in itself was gorgeous and well-kept. Once inside, the fun was only just starting.

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium was hardly disappointing. It was full of Dutch and Flemish art that ranged from homely portraits of the rich to the wildest scenes imagined by Bruegel and the likes. There was even some creepy baby pictures. I guess they didn't have a sex offender registry in the 17th century.

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To be honest, after the museum, I just relaxed and ate a bunch of good food. I saw everything I wanted to see in a day. If you do want to add Brussels to your itinerary, it is worth seeing, but no more than a day or two are needed.

Quick Tips:

  • For a true Belgian waffle experience, find a place that offers real melted chocolate on your waffle instead of Nutella (unless you want Nutella, then in that case you can find it anywhere).
  • Watch out for the tourist trap restaurants. If there is a guy standing outside trying to get you to come eat there, don't. The good restaurants won't have that guy and most will require reservations.

 

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