You must go the Grand square!...
You must go the Grand square! It is a square enclosed by old Flemish style buildings. The meeting place of Brussels, the surrounding streets have some of the best restaurants and food from around the world! You can eat out in the open, at tables spilling out of the restaurants, right in the middle of the small alleyways. Meet people from around the world! When a few friends and I went to Brussels, we went with no idea of what to expect, no plan of what to see, we just went and ended up walking wherever our little hearts desired. Mara, my friend from Greece, ended up meeting a few of her countrymen, as did my friend Romania from Italy. There is such an international flavor in that city, that's what makes it so much to fun to visit!
Don't expect that much...
Just be open and enthusiast to discover.
Brussels, and Belgian cities in general, is so small that it is really easy to discover it by walking... walking...walking.
If you spot some crowded, touristy area, go there... see the craze.. but then don't fall into traps.. and, more important, don't limit yourself to that area.
Most of time, quite near a crowded place stands some hidden treasure, another smaller market place. A walk away from a touristy shop would lead you to other cheaper boutiques... Nothing is free in this world... but the discovery is worth a trip.
Public transportation in Brussels is efficient, that normally helps you to reach remote spots outside center. Use it. With the help of those agents in metro stations, you can even arrange really cheap rides according the day, your need, the number of person you travel with...
Wherever you go, you could easily spot some place where to rest, be it a park, some bench in the shadow or a pub terrasse. *Nice unexpected spots like this one in an urban area, administration district... While discovering this one, I remembered Dannie saying "And it's still in urban Brussels"... Yes, it's still in there... It's even in an area where tourists use to flock in. Yet, they only see the main facade of the monument and miss this nice street, just at the back of the monument. now, guess which monument it is...
*Anderlecht... with Humanist Erasmus house (with its philosophical garden where to meditate or simply be under the sun), with the nice Collégiale, the cobblestoned street off la Collégiale... some villagey feel. Check my Anderlecht page for an off beat track.
This pub was themed after a funeral parlor. Really morbid looking place. The tables were coffins covered with glass and we got our drinks in skull-shaped mugs. I was rather irritated when I discovered that my fruit cocktail cost more than the two beers the girls had, put together. Isn’t that almost like encouraging people to drink?
Anyway, the place was good fun and the bartender was absolutely hilarious. He wouldn’t stop flirting with the three of us. He gave us his card at the end of the evening and made us promise we would write to him. Hmm. Interesting character. We escaped with our sanity intact, thankfully.
FARO & LAMBICS
Finally you find your way inside a cosy Estaminet ready to order one of the more or less 1000 Belgian Beers.
Here at La Bécasse you can taste FARO beer on tap which is served in earthenware jugs.
FARO is a substyle of LAMBIC which is a type of wheat beer that has the unique distinction of using unmalted wheat and being spontaneously fermented using the wild yeasts of the Senne Valley (Brussels).
The lambic family of beers includes also these substyles: gueuze, faro, kriek, framboise and pêcheresse - the ONLY beer I like to drink!
Notice: Each and every type of Belgian beer has its OWN glass!
Grasmarkt/Rue du marche aux herbes
When you come from Central Station and you crossed the Keizerinlaan, walk to the right, then cross the Spanish square with the statue of Don Quichote and you will come at this little market square with only a few stands but lots of people.
Here is the market of the Grasmarkt. you can walk around and see many paintings, handcrafts stuff, hand made jewelery and all that kind.