Brussels, the capital of Belgium, offers vibrancy and history all in one place. Every alley you turn into, you can find yourself transiting from a modern street into a corner filled with arts and history.
I didn’t have high expectations and intended to just go with the flow – meaning I don’t have any fixed places to go and only shortlisted some main attractions. But oh boy, their strong cafe culture really surprised me in a good way.
Almost every street, there’s a decent, legit coffee roastery cafe. They have a wide variety of eating options as well, which made our daily food options so much easier.
Price wise, the standard living in Belgium is definitely cheaper than that in Netherlands. For eg a bottle of mineral water cost 2.00euros in Albert Hejin as compared to 0.90euros in Carrefour.
Our first meal was The Avocado Show. It was few steps away from our hotel and besides looking every bit IG-worthy, their food was awesome! I ordered the beetroot hummus avocado toast and a cuppa latte while Minz had curry mango avocado toast with kombucha. So so good. We were so full and satisfied after this lunch.
After much refuel from good food, we explored the Grand Place. It was relatively crowded as it was a Labour Day and entry to Museums and Churches was closed. We saw groups of tourists crowding around the famous Manneken Pis, just to snap a photo of it.
During our first night in Hotel Saint Nicolas, I caught a bug creeping over our bed frame. To my horror, the bed board frame had hidden bed bugs who were prolly waiting for us to sleep to have a good feast on us. We quickly informed the reception and they moved us across the street, to another building up another spiral staircase to a room. It’s really important to inspect your bed especially the bed frame and mattress before you settle into your room. I’ve bad experiences with bed bugs before I always spot check and automatically become extra sensitive whenever I check in to hotels.
I requested for a refund (when we are back in SG of course) and thankfully, they proceeded.
We had brunch the next day at Capitol Cafe, and their bagel with cream cheese was delish. We then made our way to Ghent for a day trip, which I’ll cover in a separate blog entry.
At Bruxelles central station, it’s like the Grand Central Terminal of NYC, and it’s quite chaotic. There’s no escalator going down and I remembered I had to lug my 20kg luggage down the spiral staircase with the crowd rushing past me. I felt I was a champion that day haha.
We had dinner at this famous cafe Peck 47, which is located just beside our hotel. Their range of latte is extensive and I ordered beetroot while Minz ventured into a charcoal latte.
Third day in Brussels, we decided to go to Atomium to have a look. But not before we had some coffee and bagel again. This time, we tried Coffee Fellows, which is a famous coffee chain in Belgium.
This Atomium is one massive, gigantic thing. Initially we were still worried how to find this place while alighting at the train station but the worry seemed to be unnecessary.
We saw tour buses and coaches stopping at the roadside, for photo opportunities. We spent around half an hour jumping and swirling around haha.
We headed back and shopped around. The Primark here was less exciting but there’s a lot of shopping brands that offer affordable shopping options.
Their Hema store is a Dutch retail chain store that’s like a combo of H&M and Ikea. Their ground level sells clothing, knick knacks, etc. Their second level offers eating area with lots of variety, which is self serving like Ikea-style.
Our way back to Amsterdam wasn’t as good as how we arrived – the train was smaller size and we couldn’t fit our luggage into the overhead compartment or into the seats. So we had to endure the 3-4 hour ride sitting near the doors like what you see in the picture.
All in all, Belgium is worth a visit but I doubt I’ll go back there anytime soon.
What are your travel experience in Belgium?