Totally in love with Brussels
We spent 5 days in Brussels, and, I have to say, not enough time. Had planned to make it to Brugge on the wednesday (travelled on october's half term, monday to friday) but our heart was falling in love with Brussels even as we made our way, by taxi, from Brussels Midi to our hotel, the De Fierlant, in the street of the same name, I'll tell you more about it later.
As I have mobility problems and usually on crutches, we cabbed (taxis) our way from the Hotel to the Grand Place on our first day, but even for me, the distances once you get to the square aren't great if one takes it easy, slowly and enjoying every corner, every cafe, every waffle on the way!!!!
My 11 years old daughter was certainly feeling more than at home, and we favoured the waffles from the window shop on the street that leads to the Manneken Pis (which for some reason, probably being that she is coming out of being a child into a teenager, amused her to no end). The waffles in this little shop are the very best, though one has to eat in the street, of a napkin, and they cost more or less the same as you would pay sitting down, even at the Grand Place (and be carefull not to dropp anything on the street floor of the shop next door, a Chinese girl shop attendant told me off, though she had more than a mouthfull from me about public property and the cleaning of streets, and another mouthfull from a very annoyed Belgium lady who thought I was being unfairly treated!) The ones with fruit and chocolate sauce were our choice.
Arriving into the Grand Place, especially for a latin, SouthAmerican girl like me, who is in awe with the opulence of European arquitechture, is somethinh undescribale by words....and this was only the start of our love affaire between our cameras and the city...
If you are body able and can walk, the surprises the perspective of this city brings in every corner are well worth the time, adding to the marvel are the fabulous graffitti that can be found all over the place....to this I was particularly sad that we couldn't make time to stop at Boulevard Anspach to take pictures of the graffitti we thought the most amazing...
I will try to make an album with the photographs of this tripp, as I do not think words suffice to describe the Belge fenomena...
I was amazed with the amount of stuff to see in the city, and certainly surprised to have read before that the city is small and could be done in a couple of days...well, not if you are us.
Never was I happier to have foubnd a website as in Brussels, as I found VT just before this tripp...and the info I got from the locals was priceless.
Through VT we knew, for example, that the Museum of Musical Instruments has a wonderfull restaurant on the top, a glass neo-classical dome, the "Old England" stores which went a few years ago into a full restauration, bringing the building to it's exact liking in 2000. Not only the view is one of the most amazing in the city, but also the food is high quality, low prices.
Now, another point I should Thank the VTers is the fact that I read here that the restaurant only opens one night a week, on thursdays, which allowed us to plann our last evening in style...2 small problems we run into:
I called from London the week before travelling to book a table, and was told they did NOT reserve. This is not quiet true, and you will find the place buzzing during the day...we were lucky to have decide to pop in after our visit to the museum during the day, with the intention of having a coffee and cake and take some pictures, to then come back later for the concert and dinner....not one place was free...I talked to one of the employees, she said yes, they did book tables, presto!
The next problem, though sorted anyway, was in the actual evening. They do not have menus in English or any other language appart from French & Dutch, and even though I can speak a bit of French to get my more than by visiting the city...I soon found out that, when it came to food, I was totally lost! so, if you have no French at all, bring a dictionary... :) We were not only able to order superb dinner with my litle French and the good will of the lady and the Cheff, but also to have two dishes changed according to my daughter's taste.... brilliant evening, followed by the concert, and brilliant also was our visit to the museum earlier that afternoon....here exist the oldest collection of instruments in the world, and in the basement, to put a golden broche to our visit, my daughter could sample instruments and learn about sound & technology..... so, the MIM: a must see.
We also went to the Fine Arts Museum the day before, the building just around the corner, and were lucky enough to enjoy the Rubens's exhibition...delightfull.
Another museum we visited was the Museum du Cacao, the Chocolate Museum. This was interesting, my daughter (of course!) enjoyed it much, but I was warned by one of the locals here as to it not being a great thing.....it cost 5 Euros to get in, located on Rue de Tete D'Or, just one of the side roads of the Grand Place, in an old house, 3 floors up the stairs, with a little introduction as you go in, then the kitchen, with an explanation by the cook about the making of famous Belgium Chocolate, the pralines, truffles and different shaped ones, (this lady does speak English, not so with the other girls who are supposed to explain the rest, I do understand enough in French to explain to Sarita, but I saw that certainly the English girls and a Spanish family (who spoke English) weren't too happy)...
The rest of the house is just a very humble exhibition of garments made of chocolate, crokery, old boxes, not really all that, as I was well warned....but my daughter loved it! :)
More coming soon....(I had no sleep last night, would have to revise this too!!)