Hello, from the best cafe in Brussels! I have just polished off an entire plate of waffles and I’m not gonna lie, I could go another! But more on that later in the post. So why Brussels you may be wondering. Well, with the Amalfi Coast ticked off my bucket list (I still can’t believe I was actually there), I was in the mood for more of a city break for my next destination. Somewhere not overly expensive where I can walk, explore and have some much needed cafe time.
Having heard that you can do Brussels in a day, I thought to myself, why not? So I booked myself a ticket on the Eurostar and well, here I am.
WHAT TO SEE
Without doing day trips to nearby towns, there’s not a whole lot of ‘sites’ to see in Brussels. Which in my opinion, is what makes it such a great city break. You don’t need to pack a weeks worth of activities and attractions into a short window of time, you can explore at a leisurely pace and if you have a sweet tooth like me, try world famous chocolate and waffles every chance you get. Which by the way, has yet to disappoint!
Grand Place: As I navigated my way down narrow streets filled with tourists and endless waffle shops, I found myself coming to an abrupt stop when I unexpectedly found myself standing at one of the entry points to the square. I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of it, the architecture dating back to the late 17th century, but standing there talking it all in, I could understand why it’s considered considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
Mannequin Pis: The bronze sculpture of a naked boy urinating into the base of a fountain. To be honest, I have no idea why this statue is famous. And if you ask the locals, I don’t think they know either, each giving varying stories. Word on the street is that it symbolises the rebellious nature of the city, and as a result, the statue is dressed up periodically throughout the year to coincide with various events and holidays. I visited Mannekin Pis around 11am and when I passed by it again around 4pm, it had been dressed up for the world cup.
Comic Book Route: Brussels and comic books go hand in hand, so its no surprise that one of the cities main attractions is the comic book route. Famous for The Adventures of Tintin, comics as a whole are considered an integral part of Belgium culture and many visitors spend their day following the comic route map taking you to over 50 murals. I opted for no map, instead being pleasantly surprised every time I turned a corner and stumbled upon one.
WHERE TO EAT
The cafe where I’m currently sitting and debating weather or not to get a second serving of waffles, is none other than Maison Dandy. In my opinion, the place you want to be for THE BEST WAFFLES EVER! The moment I stepped inside, the sweet aroma of freshly baked goods had me eager to place my order. You can choose from either a Belgium waffle or a Leige waffle, the difference being that the Belguim waffle is crispier and lighter, whereas the Leige waffle is sweeter and denser. I opted for the Belgium waffle, knowing that my toppings of cherries, strawberries and chocolate sauce would provide all the sweetness I needed.
In addition to amazing waffles, Maison Dandy also have an incredible biscuit section. After accepting a sample, my tastebuds came alive, and I couldn’t leave without purchasing a bag. I had good intentions of sharing them with my colleagues back in London…. but, well, in the end they were just to good to share.
For something savoury, take a trip to Fritland. At first I didn’t understand all the hype around these hot chips, but after queuing for twenty minutes and then tasting them for myself, well, I completely understood. I’m not 100% sure what gives them their unique flavour, but whatever is it, its delicious! If you decide to give this place a go, be sure to have cash on you. And on that note, I’d recommend getting your cash from an ATM at the train station if arriving by the Eurostar, because ATM’s can be hard to find when you’re out and about.
Multiple times throughout today I had to wonder if I was in Brussels or a scene from Willy Wonker with the amount of chocolate I was surrounded by. Yes, it’s true, Belgium chocolate is by far one of the best. For me, it’s right up there with the chocolate I had in Lapland (which is still my favourite) and definitely better than what I get back home (sorry Australia!).
With multiple chocolate shops for you to indulge your taste buds in, it can be a little overwhelming. I immediately took a liking to Neuhaus Chocolate, not only because my initial was displayed on every piece of chocolate (I mean if that isn’t a sign then I don’t know what is), but because the variety of flavours was extremely diverse. Not to mention, they have the most amazing window displays. I mean, who even knew chocolate sculpting was a thing!
My day has been incredibly relaxing and the atmosphere here has such a positive vibe to it. My favourite part so far (besides the waffles) was when a group of musicians came together in the middle of the street and started playing for anyone who cared to listen. The beats were incredible, they weren’t asking for money, they were simply just sharing their talents and having the best time doing it.