Back from a gorgeously sunny long weekend in Brussels. In some ways Brussels reminds me of a much more compact London – the contrast of beautiful centuries-old buildings juxtaposed with streets of kebab shops and tacky souvenir places.
We didn’t do an awful lot apart from walk around the cobbled streets, eat a lot, drink even more due to the 30 degree heat (that’s uncomfortably warm for someone from chilly England) and do a bit of touristy sight-seeing. We did make a trip out the Cantillon Brewery which was a highlight. Nestled in an unexpected neighbourhood full of import/export clothing shops, it’s a traditional – still fully-functioning – brewery which produces wonderful sour lambic beer and kriek (cherry beer).
The Belle Vue museum was also a highlight. Set in a pretty square near the Parc de Bruxelles and Royal Palace, it charts Belgium’s history through its art, culture, ephemera, and people. Unlike most museums, it wasn’t stiff or dry at all, very visual and informative. There was some particularly lovely type specimens and Art Nouveau pieces.
We ate some great food too – many frites avec mayonnaise, waffles and some good restaurants – Soul, a veggie/organic specialist, Bonsoir Clara, a trendy bistro, and Bleu de Toi, whose specialty was stuffed baked potatoes (mine contained mushroom and truffles, mmm) which we ate on a pretty terrace. And we brought back as much beer as we could carry as it was so cheap!
Off to Brussels tomorrow until Saturday. Being the organised/bored at work type, I made a cute Google map of all the places we want to hit. If you’ve visited, please feel free to suggest other places to me. I’m mostly looking forward the Belgian fries, picking up some truffles (both the chocolate and fungi varieties), and seeing some nice Art Nouveau architecture.
Photos and stories on my return..