Beautiful Guildhalls’ buildings at the Grande Place (Grote Markt), Brussels, 2015
Two years ago I visited Brussels, the capital of the EU. I loved the chocolate shops and the waffle stands and the majestic main square as well as the quirky Atomium. But to be completely honest the city itself didn’t make me fall in love with it like some other places did. To find out more check my old posts here and here.
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Did I like Brussels? I’m not really sure. Yes, it’s got a lot to offer, and we’ve only experienced a fraction of it since it was just a weekend trip. Would I like to come back? I don’t know. Would I like to live there? Not really. These are usually the questions that I ask myself after I’ve returned from a trip to determine whether I really liked the city or not.
What I liked: chocolate shops, waffles, the cartoons graffiti on the walls, the Atomium and other major tourist sights, our hotel, the dog police in the Laeken park (didn’t see the actual dogs but heard them and the sight of the small station was super cute), the surprise sunset
After a hearty breakfast we set off into the rain and cold to visit the Atomium. Despite the weather I felt upbeat and ready to give Brussels a second chance .The Atomium, one of the symbols of Brussels, was built in 1958 for the World Fair exhibition. It struck me as very contemporary, furthermore even slightly futuristic. It consists of nine spheres that contain different exhibitions such as the story of the construction of the Atomium or the display of the furniture of the 70’s. There are also some fun and spaceship-looking escalators that take you from one sphere to another. The best part was the view of the city from the top sphere. The Atomium experience was really enjoyable.
the view from the Atomium
Chocolates, waffles, Brussels sprouts, French,pardon, Belgian fries, beer, EU institutions; all these clichés and more make up our image of Brussels. It’s been my wish for a while to visit Brussels (the capital of Europe in a way) and we finally did it in April (2015).
I’ve come to realize that my view of a city and the whole experience of a trip depends little on the city/trip itself but much more on the other subjective circumstances such as myself and my state of mind, my travel companions, the weather and other variables. So, this weekend trip wasn’t supposed to happen actually. Our honeymoon was to be our last trip for a while but things didn’t go according to our plan and we decided to go to Brussels. I’m telling you this because my experience of Brussels was tainted by the fact that my mind just wasn’t into travelling anymore.
the Halle gate-remnant of Brussels old city walls
My first impression of Brussels wasn’t great simply because we got slightly lost after exiting the train station Brussels Midi and ended up in some slightly dodgy area on our way to the hotel. I reluctantly admit that my husband possesses better orientation skills than I do. Or is it just that I get confused when I’m on a trip with him because I usually pride myself on never getting lost. So, after finally arriving to our hotel and after some nap time for him we ventured out to explore the city. Our hotel was in Saint-Gilles area in the Louise shopping district and near the Palace of Justice, which according to Wikipedia is bigger than St Peter’s Basilica in Rome (Vatican). The building is being renovated but I liked the view of Brussels’ Lower Town from the square in front of it. There is also a lift which connects the Palace of Justice and the square (Upper Town area) with the Lower Town (where the famous Grand Place is ).
you can see the Atomium and the Town Hall’s spire