Brussels is the capital of Belgium and a very populous town with a rich history and great values. We took a two day trip to Brussels in late 2016, and this was actually the 10th country that I would go to, including the United States.
Brussels was not too far from where we lived, about a four hour drive, so we were more than willing to take a nice road trip out there to spend the weekend.
Brussels was surprisingly very close to us, at least on the grand scheme of things. Being only three and a half hours away, we just piled in one of our cars and drove off.
We had gotten a good night sleep, ate breakfast, and weren’t really in a rush. Considering we were going to spend the night, and the drive was so short, we weren’t crunched for time.
This was also when I started getting into “fashion.” Up until that point, I would wear simple t-shirts and shorts with sneakers. After being mentored by all of my friends to step my game up and actually take how I look serious, I went out and bought my first suit. We were big fans of the show How I Met Your Mother, so we were trying to “suit up” for this trip.
We made a dedicated shopping trip for this trip alone, and we got dressed up. I justified the money I spent by telling myself “it’s your 10th country, you deserve to look good.” I did not look good. But, I have learned a lot from then, and that’s the best way to learn things, by growing from your mistakes!
Since we were staying overnight, we decided to cook that night to save some money. My buddy made a delicious carne asada over fries, and it was to die for. I need to get that recipe from him one of these days.
After arriving to our Airbnb and dropping our stuff off, we made our way to the main attraction and center square, which was the Grand Place. Considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, the Grand Place is home to many markets all surrounded by giant buildings with breathtaking architecture.
The Brussels City Hall is located here as well.
While walking around, we were approached by a guy selling selfie sticks. Up to this point, I use to make fun of selfie sticks, however, “new clothes new me” decided it was time to break down and buy one. Considering they were only five euro, it doesn’t hurt, right? I wanted to take some sweet pictures of my new outfit, and this was a great tool to have.
Well, the smallest bill I had was a 20. I asked him if he had change, but instead he just snatched the money and started walking away fast. I learned a very valuable lesson on how to protect my items that day. Now, this guy was actually a good person, he wasn’t running off with my money, he was running off to a friend of his also selling selfie sticks that had the change on him.
I was super grateful to this guy, so I paid 10 euro so that he could pocket the other five.
After exploring the ginormous market that is the Grand Place, we did a quick photoshoot near some art we found in an alleyway. I need that good Instagram pic.
Following our modeling session, we headed to the Royal Gallery of St. Hubert. The Gallery is a vast shopping center full of stores, restaurants and other places of interest. What sets it apart from others is the impressive feat of architecture that it is. The halls are lined with arches, all being the storefronts. There is also a big dome over the hallways.
I can’t remember if we ate here or not, I do remember we looked at some menu’s and gasped at the prices, but past that I have no idea. We very well may have, we do like to splurge on good food every once in a while.
I take that back, looking at my pictures jogged my memory. We DIDN’T eat at the Gallery, we ended up having lunch/dinner at a restaurant called Grimbergen Brussels Café. I know this because a national icon was established here.
See that guy in the back left, looking completely flabbergasted? That’s the icon. We had no idea who this guy was until we saw the pictures later on, be he went down as a legend in our books anyway!
After a good meal, we made it to the next destination, the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. Mouthful, right? I’ll refer to it as “the Cathedral” from here on out. The Cathedral was very old, dating back to around the 9th or 10th centuries.
As with all cathedrals, it was very impressive. Huge towers, beautiful artwork, and cultural significance. What else could you need?
Our last place of the day was the Royal Palace of Brussels. Now, the Kind and Queen don’t live here, they live at the Royal Palace of Laeken. The building is huge, actually longer than Buckingham Palace, but in terms of floor area, it’s about half the size. We actually didn’t get to go on the Palace grounds of course, but we got to take in all its beauty.
Following another good night’s sleep, we decided to get breakfast. We all love breakfast, not only is it the most important meal of the day, it is also the most delicious. Since we are in Belgium, why not get Belgian Waffles?
I promise you, they are what they are cracked up to be. They are pretty big, perfectly crispy, and I got mine covered in chocolate and strawberries. Oh, and a little whipped cream. This alone was worth the trip, I still think about these waffles.
Our last stop on our trip was the Manneken Pis. It is a statue of a little boy peeing into the fountain. The statue on display in the city is a replica made back in the 60’s. The original, made in 1618, is on display in the Museum of the City of Brussels.
The statue is really small, it sits on top of a fountain in a corner. It’s super easy to miss, however, the significance it holds is very important. Manneken Pis is the most well-known symbol for the people in Brussles. It depicts their sense of humor and open-mindedness. I dig it!
The trip was very successful. As you can tell, we packed a whole lot of exploring into a short weekend. With that being said, there is so much more to Brussels that we didn’t get to experience. If I ever go on another European tour (not the music kind), I’d love to stop by Brussels again.
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