After a pretty lazy morning (well for me anyway, I woke up around 11 AM, but hey, I was a tired little traveler) and another satisfying breakfast of cereal, chocolate speculoos smothered bread slices which then turned into a light lunch of raisins, almonds, cheese and baby tomatoes, which spanned about 2 hours. We, that is my friend and her mom, drove to the nearest metro station and hopped on the subway to the city center to check out the sites.
One super awesome fact about Brussels is that it’s built on a hill. A city on a hill. Now where have I heard that before? Anyway, after leaving the metro stop, we weaved our way through fun little alleys lined with numerous cafés to make our way to the main square.
When we got to the Galeries Royales, my friend’s mom pointed out the different shops and there were a lot! Chocolate stores, lace stores (where old ladies hand make [weave? crochet? produce?] the lace themselves).
But I got distracted when I saw an old childhood friend…
Yup, Tintin the Reporter and his ever faithful dog Snowy. Since my best friend, when I was three, was from the Netherlands, I was introduced to Tintin at a young age and I grew up reading his comics and watching the cartoons. And of course, Brussels is the home of Tintin and Snowy. I was so excited to see them around the city.
We even went inside a Tintin store where I reminisced about the adventures Tintin had (I still have his comics in my room 😉 )
After exiting the Tintin store, we headed to the main square where the buildings are breathtaking. According to my friend’s mom, during the summer, they have flower exhibits in the center of the square, where it’s overflowing with color and bursting with flora. I guess this means I’ll have to come back to experience the warmth of Brussels. Did I mention that it was absolutely freezing in Brussels? Okay not freezing, but I did have to double my socks :p
After the main square, we wandered our way to Manneken Pis or the peeing baby statue. Apparently this statue is very popular among the children as well as tourists. I’m not sure why, considering that it’s quite a small statue of a baby peeing. But it was definitely something to check out and it was pretty cute. Manneken Pis had on a outfit and according to my friends, he wears a different outfit throughout the year.
After the statue, we walk up towards upper Brussels, stopping to look into different stores along the way. I got to check out one of the best (if not the best) chocolate store in Brussels…
I was so tempted to buy a box of chocolates. I have no idea why I didn’t… it was either the plethora of choices or the prices (I know, I know. I’m in Brussels! I should splurge on chocolate. Unfortunately, I’m also a poor broke college student). On the bright side, I know what I’m getting the next time I’m in Brussels….
After that, we went into a comic book store. Apparently Brussels is a huge comic city to the point that they even decorate the buildings with comics. Mind you, I think that’s better than illegible graffiti (not that there’s anything wrong with that). We passed a church or two, absolutely breathtaking and large, but it was a little too cold to admire it for long (my toes were going numb) so we went into a café and not just any café….
Le Pain Quotidien. Le Pain Quotidien is one of my favorite cafés in New York and so, imagine my surprise when I found that this cozy little chain was not originated in France, but in Belgium. Brussels to be exact. It was so nice to be there, like I was back home in NYC for a bit and the food was quite delicious. I had a hot chocolate and an apple muffin. After our little snack, we went to the top of Brussels to look down on lower Brussels as well as see the Justice building.
It was so amazing to see the entire city of Brussels spread out before me. After taking photos and wandering around, we took the elevator back down and headed back towards home. But not before wandering around the city some more and stopping by some more stores…
After we got home, we warmed up with a pot of cheese fondu. Interestingly, this cheese fondu was made with tomatoes and it was absolutely delicious. Our dippings were: potatoes, bread, tomatoes, pickles and pineapples. It was so delicious we cleaned out the pot 🙂
Brussels was, most definitely, one of my favorite cities and I can’t wait to go back again some day. Next time, I plan on visiting the chocolate museum, the comic book museum as well as eating proper Belgium waffles and pomme frites.
Off to Milan!
Hugs and puppies!