We'll admit we never thought to put Brussels on our travel list. Our visit happened purely out of convenience. We were planning to spend a few days in Bruges and Brussels had the closest international airport. We thought, "Why not fly into Brussels and stay a night? We can see the city." It made perfect sense, and it ended up being a good decision.

We think of Brussels and we remember the breathtaking architecture, the sweet smell of chocolate shops lining the streets, and the taste of sugar crystals on our tongues after eating a warm, chewy waffle. While we didn't have a long list of tourist attractions to visit, we loved the city's atmosphere and enjoyed just walking the streets and hanging out in the squares. We had a lovely time in Brussels, even with our horrendous jet lag.

Destination: Brussels | Belgium | Europe

Traveled: April 2014

Accommodation: Novotel Brussels Off Grand Place

Strategy: We had one day to see the sights of Brussels before we started our journey to Bruges.

Adventures: Grand Place, Manneken Pis, Galerie Royales Saint-Hubert, Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, Atomium

Memorable Moment: Standing in Grand Place surrounded by awesome architecture.

Takeaways: 1) Jet lag is getting worse as we get older. 2) Most menus are not translated to English. 3) Once we figured out the Underground in London, metro systems in other cities are a piece of cake. 4) Waffles are not just for breakfast. 5) Each beer is served in its own special glass.

Foodstuff:  We had our first experience with frites (fries) in Brussels. These fries are served straight from the fryer, usually in a cone with a big glob of mayonnaise on top and with a little fork to save your fingers from the messy sauce. Delicious!

Waffles. They're famous in Brussels but not as a breakfast food. They're mostly sold as street food to be eaten as a snack or dessert. And they're amazing. There are two types of waffles depending on the batter: Brussels waffles (rectangular, smooth edges, often with sugar on top) and Liege waffles (uneven edges with sugar crystals inside). We're partial to the Liege waffles.

There is also no shortage of beer and chocolate here.

Recommendations: 1) Bring a book to help translate menus from French to English. 2) Eat as many waffles as you can stomach.

Next Time: Horta Museum


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