After spending a long weekend in Amsterdam, I traveled by train to spend a few days in Brussels, Belgium. Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, but also of the European Union as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions. The cityscape swings from majestic to quirky to rundown and back again with it’s art-nouveau facades facing off against 1960s concrete disgraces, and regal 19th-century mansions. A week later I am still in a food coma from devouring street waffles, cones of frites smothered in mayonnaise, moules drenched in butter, and chocolate truffles. All of which was washed down with Belgian beer.
In Brussels, I stayed in the Grand Place which is the most memorable landmark in the country. It can be very touristy, but is a great central location for walking to museums, parks, and gourmet chocolate shops. I spent most of my time in Brussels eating, but was also able to check out a few museums during the two day stay. The Magritte Museum is not to be missed as it houses the largest collection of work from the Belgian surrealist artist, René Magritte. The Herge Museum, located just outside of Brussels, is dedicated to Hergé, the pen name of Georges Remi, who created the comic-book hero Tintin. The Museum of Musical Instruments and Atomium were also on my list, but I didn’t get a chance to visit.
Besides chocolate, Belgium has an (unofficial) national cookie. Speculoos cookies are flat, spiced shortbreads so beloved you can even get speculoos-flavored spread at almost every establishment. I recommend stopping by Maison Dandoy for high quality waffles, speculoos cookies, and hot chocolate!
A healthier option for waffles and fresh juice can be found at Peck 47.
There are many opportunities to eat traditional moules-frites in Brussels. My favorite meal was at Le Roue d’Or. Très délicieux!
The highlight of the trip was popping into a chocolatier every few hours and eating samples. Top five artisan chocolatiers that made my heart happy: Mary, Pierre Marcolini, Wittamer, Laurent Gerbaud, and Elisabeth.
Since Belgian beer is the only type that I enjoy, I was in hop heaven. Delirium Café is located in a quirky alley and has more than 2,000 types of beers!
I’m not quite sure why, but Manneken Pis is a popular small bronze sculpture, depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin.
Unique Art Nouveau and other architecture from my strolls: