Continuing on from We have Liftoff! and A hopscotch to Brussels, I’ve finally had the time (now two weeks after returning) to upload my photos to my external harddrive and sort them all. Time for more trip pics! You ask, I deliver.
Friday July 20 marked day 2 in Brussel, Belgium. I managed to roll out of bed midmorning (time zone adjusting not going well) and went for lunch at a cafe just up the street. I enjoyed the thing belgians are good at: a hot chocolate made with real cocoa on the spot and a sandwich with filet americain (which really really is delicious) as I attempted to read the French new paper with some success!
After brunch I grabbed the Hop on, Hop off red tourbus at the Bourse, I bought my student ticket from the driver and it was 20EUR (reg 22EUR). Ouch, it is valid for 24 hours however so you can get two days of enjoyment out of it. I stayed on the bus and changed lines ones to see the whole tour in one go.
The highlight of my second day really was the Atomium. (with my student discount and a coupon I paid 6EUR for entry) It took me a while to get there because I wanted to take another bustour first so by the time I got to the Atomium it was later in the afternoon and raining a bit. Not to worry, my overpriced 20EUR umbrella came to the rescue! The Atomium is seriously cool though! Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the area. The Atomium was built for the ’58 world expo and represents a small part of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. On the inside you are able to take the elevator up and visit the top sphere where you have a fantastic view of Brussel. Visitors are able to visit 5 out of the 9 spheres.
After the atomium, I took the bus back to avenue Louise to check out some of the shops. I didn’t realize that most shops would be closing at 6PM, even though the place was crowded with tourists so the only store I visited was the Tiffany’s & Co and the Hermes store where I almost broke the door and a HUGE black man with white teeth smiled at me and opened the door. Oh the memories.
That Friday evening I walked around, I went out for dinner at a sit down restaurant by myself for the first time ever and took pictures of buildings and Grand Place and various other sights.
Brussel is a nice looking city with tree-lined cobblestone streets and wild and manicured gardens but overall I didn’t like Brussels very much and I’m unlikely to return, unless there was a specific reason to. (Hello future husband? yeah maybe not) I guess I’m with Bridget on this. Here’s why: I was greeted and mumbled French things to by more men than I can count and I really didn’t love this city as much as I loved my next stop; Windsor UK. I felt it was too multicultural and had very little atmosphere of it’s own; everyone is from somewhere else and even though I enjoy hearing other languages and meeting other cultures I had hoped to experience more of Belgium, rather than a mish-mash of everywhere-else. I enjoyed the fabulous croissants and chocolates belgium has to offer but I found Brussel seriously lacking personality.
Saturday morning I grabbed another filet americain sandwich and hopped back on the train to Diemen, Amsterdam to meet up with a few digital friends. (which was a blast) First class train tickets are really the way to go, I really enjoyed the ride home and for the 6 hours of train travel I endured on Saturday to get to my uncle’s farm and enddestination of the day; Groningen…. 25EUR and not having to put up with crowed coupes, what a steal!
Have you ever been to Brussels, did you like it? Was my experience a one-off, what should I have done different?