Friday, September 1, 2017

Day 7 - Brussels, Belgium

Day 7 - 3rd May 2017

After all the travelling, we decided to stay put in Brussels for the day. Too bad our day was still a rainy day. Which means hide the sunglasses, bring on the umbrella!

Once we're out, we realised that we stayed very near to the Bourse de Bruxelles (Brussels Stock Exchange) building, thus is was our landmark in case our phone battery went flat (we only use digital map in our phone). 
Photobomb-ed by a man for this photo

We headed to the most important tourist destination and the most memorable landmark in Brussels, the Grand Place aka Grote Markt, which is the central square of Brussels. It is also one of the UNESCO site for it's beauty. Despite the rain and gloomy weather, the architecture and designs on the buildings surrounding the square really does give the "WOW" feeling.

Just right off the Grand Palace, the Everard t'Serclaes statue which brings luck to those who touch it is located just along Charles Buls street. There's a legend that says rubbing the arm will ensure one's return to Brussels. So let's see if it's true...

Then we headed off to another of "Must visit in Brussels", the Mannekin Pis, which is a statue of a little boy urinating into a fountain's basin. Apparently this statue embodies the sense of humour and independence mind of Brussels citizen. So... 18SX pic coming up...!!!! LOL

The statue is actually very small. Imagine fighting to the front among China tourists to get a photo of a little boy statue pissing.. 

Along the way, there were many shops selling the must-eat waffles, with their window displaying heavenly colourful yummy waffles.

Throughout the day, we managed to try FOUR different types of waffles! What is diet when one is on holiday?
Plain waffle with sugar powder
With two scoops of ice-cream
Savoury waffle - if I'm not wrong it was Salmon filing
with Strawberries and chocolate syrup
Of course another famous food in Belgium is their artisan gourmet chocolates. Being a chocolate lover, I thought I was in paradise! I was prepared to indulge myself with chocolate covered breakfast, lunch, dinner and even for tea-time and supper. But to my horror, they were super expensive. Like made of gold of something. I could only swallow my pride and ate the free samples. #poortourist 
Nuts, bolts, spanner, scissors, etc - ALL EDIBLE CHOCOLATE
We also managed to visit Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, a shopping arcade, and where both Meichi and I tore our wallets buying handbag in Longchamp. 

We also headed to St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral.

As usual, I was mesmerized by the beautiful stained glass inside.

How can one say they are not beautiful?

I'm not a very religious person, but I always enjoyed the beautiful carvings and sculptures inside a church/cathedral. 

There were rows of very green trees and somehow I loved them. So pretty! 
Random roof design at the next door building
After a quick walk inside and around the cathedral, we decided to go back to our accommodation to put down our Longchamp bag before we headed to a further location.

Oh ya, another thing about Brussels is it was the place of origin of the cartoon TinTin. Many buildings will have random cartoons of TinTin. I didn't really read TinTin comic when I was young. Maybe if they were ShinChan or Doraemon cartoons, I might've go crazy over them!

We took the Metro and stopped at Heysel (Heizel Line 6) and within a short 5-minutes walk, we reached Atomium. 

We managed to pay student price (thanks to our young Asian face, and maybe the luck from Everard t'Serclaes we touched earlier during the day?) for the tickets and up we go! Not all the spheres were open, but overall we get to visit three levels of the spheres. I love to go up somewhere high to have a high view of the city (although this sphere was not really high up). Don't worry, there were escalators for most of the ride up to the top spheres. 

There was also another attraction nearby Atomium called Mini Europe but we skipped it as we felt that it was pricey and based on my research before the trip, the reviews were quite bad. We managed to have a free view of it from the top of Atomium though. 

We felt that the Everard t'Serclaes was really lucky because when we were up there, we paid once for the machine that presses the coin into souvenirs, but we got two! 

The Atomium is actually a museum but honestly there wasn't much there. But we still managed to walk until the closing time!! After that, we still hung out outside Atomium to take pictures of the special building. We were very lucky as the clouds cleared and blue skies appeared, our first blue sky for the day!

We headed back to the city and again, rain welcomed us. Haihhhhhh We continued to find the next pissing statue, but this time it is Het Zinneke - a pissing dog!

When in Belgium, one must also visit The Delirium Cafe, which is actually a bar with a super long list of beer. They hold Guinness World Record in 2004, for having 2004 varieties of beer!

And right across the bar was Jeanneke Pis - pissing boy's little sister! I think the fountain was close because it was really late at night when we were there.

Up until today, I still find it really funny to have a series of pissing statues all around Brussels and they are one of famous landmarks of Brussels.

At a different day, we actually went to the Grand Place (Grote Markt) again for the night view. But I'll just post it here since this is the whole post about Brussels.

I didn't manage to stay there for long, as I remember standing there, freezing from head to toe as my jackets were not thick enough.
Self reminder - bring warmer jackets although it's spring season!!

*** to be continued....

Read all about :
Day 1 & 2 in London - here.
Day 3,4 & 5 in London - here.
Day 6 in Antwerp - here.
Day 7 in Brussels - here.
Day 8 in Bruges - here.
Day 8 in Ghent - here.
Day 9 &10 in London - here.

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