The epicentre where many international organisations’ headquarters (such as the European Commission, European Parliament and NATO) are located, Brussels also makes me think of fine chocolate and the many types of beer to sample.
Woke up late and grabbed a few bites of breakfast from our hostel, Sleep Well Youth Hostel (20 to 30 Euros per night depending on how many people you share with).
The Cinquantenaire Museum is situated in a beautiful park and it is part of the Royal Museums of Art and History (a group comprising of four different museums). This is the place to go if you want to delve into archaeological artefacts, from prehistoric ages to Antiquity, such as Egyptian, Greek and Ancient Rome. My favourite pieces are from the Non-European Civilisations collection where I saw huge stone sculptures from Easter Island in Oceania. Entrance costs 5 Euros and will keep you busy for the whole morning.
Parc de Cinquantenaire 10, 1000 Brussels
There isn’t much to eat near the museums, so we wandered around and bought some waffles off the street to eat while we headed to our next stop. Belgium waffles are like French crepes in that you can get them with a plethora of toppings (from fruit to sauces and more). Around 2 to 5 Euros depending on toppings.
Belvue Museum and Coudenberg
To get a comprehensive feel for the history of Belgium without being bored to death with artefacts, the Belvue Museum is a must. Following the route they suggest, you will learn about the lives of the royals (from around the 1830s) who ruled Belgium and get a glimpse of past pop culture. The site itself is also a historical monument, housing the royal family and later on became a hotel (also frequented by royals).
7 Place des Palais, 1000 Brussels
This former Palace of Brussels connects to Belvue and you can explore the underground areas and structures of a palace which had been one of Charles V’s main residences. Steep staircases lead you to various sections such as the kitchen, cellars and other rooms. But they are empty as a fire in the 1700s had destroyed most of it. This little adventure will show you how it paved the way for today’s royal district. Entry fee is 5 Euros (includes entry to Belvue).
Mont Des Arts, 7 Place des Palais, 1000 Brussels
Dinner and evening activity
Le Char D’Or
This place looked decent so we sat down to eat. I ordered the roasted chicken and it wasn’t bad, except for the other parst being a little burnt on the side. The atmosphere is lively and cozy, with a huge stove-like fire crackling in the middle to keep customers warm. A bit pricey (almost 30 Euros for a dinner).
Rue du Marche aux Herbes 89, 1000 Brussels
A trip to Brussels would not be complete without visiting the famous Manneken Pis (yes, a naked bronze sculpture of a little boy urinating into the fountain which it stands on). Many stories revolve around it and this statue is dressed in various outfits throughout the year. Talk about keeping him in fashion!
Rue de l’Etuve 46, 1000 Brussels