Tying off our little anniversary mini-break we decided to go to Brussels, capital of both Belgium and Europe, for the day on our way back. We had to change trains there anyway so decided it would be less hectic and rushed if we stopped and had a look around, plus we got to see another new place!
In comparison to the quiet, romantic and tranquil Bruges, on first arrival Brussels was overwhelming to say the least. It was completely buzzing, literally FULL of people and lots of stuff going on around the place. We decided to first have a walk around and check out the main square, on the way stopping for more waffles with chocolate sauce (as if we weren’t already sick enough!).
The square is beautiful, surrounded by some seriously impressive buildings, but it was also packed. There was some kind of world festival going on and a huge stage with Mexican dancers performing. The square was surrounded by pop-up bars and food stalls, giant puppets (you know the ones that people stand under and they are really tall, and freaky?) and marching bands playing bagpipes were coming through, in stark contrast to the Mexican music blaring from the stage.
It was hot and sunny (yes really) and we decided to sit for a minute in the square, with a beer of course, to get our bearings and get to grips with suddenly being transported into a busy little hive.
C was coming down with a cold and it was all a bit much for him, and given we didn’t have all that long we decided to get on one of those hop on hop off buses and check out the city that way. Turned out, there was something going on in every single nook and cranny in busy Brussels. There was the world festival, some kind of bike fair, a skateboard thing, a market celebrating food and wine from particular Belgian reasons – you name it, Brussels had it.
We got to see a surprising amount on the bus tour including the famous art nouveau buildings (Brussels is also the capital of art nouveau, boasting the most number of art nouveau buildings in the world), the European Union buildings, the Palace, the park, the museums and so on. We didn’t do much ‘hopping on or off’ because C was feeling so unwell but managed to take it all in and work out where we wanted to stop to have lunch.
I have to say I was quite surprised Brussels was so happening. I don’t know why, but I had it in my head it was a fairly boring place. But it’s beautiful, interesting, and full of loads of stuff going on. When we sat down to eat I asked the waiter if it was like this every weekend or if we’d just come on a special day and he assured me it was always that busy. He said he was French too, so was not biased enough to just be telling me that for the sake of it.
The restaurant we went to for lunch was weird, but lovely. It was called the Comic Book café, and unsurprisingly adorned throughout with comic pictures, mostly Tin Tin (as that was Belgian) but it was also very French looking, with the checked table cloths, gorgeous wooden beams on the ceilings, immaculately dressed waiters, and the little wooden chairs. We sat in the window, with the glorious sun streaming in on us voyeurs to the busy and bustling Brussels below us, completely unaware of our existence.
It was our final meal in Belgium and the eve of the start of our new diet so we ate a lot! Sadly I can’t say I had the ‘mussels in Brussels’ as they didn’t have them on the menu but I did have some lovely Belgian-style meatballs, chips, salad and champagne! It was our anniversary after all!!!