Part two of the spring break trip led us to Brussels, Belgium. It wasn’t quite as exciting as I’d hoped, but there are lots of cool things to see during a brief stay, as well as the most amazing thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.
We took the bus from Amsterdam to Brussels for an amazing €5.50 each way. I still can’t believe how inexpensive it was. I booked the tickets about 2 months in advance though, so I’m betting if you buy them at the last minute, the deal won’t be quite as good.
The metro was easy to use, but we often had trouble getting the automated machines to accept our change. This was a particular problem at the metro stop nearest our hotel where there were only two automated machines and no humans anywhere in sight. You might be better off buying all your metro ticket needs at the main terminals instead of in the little stops along the lines.
Our hotel, Hotel Aristote, was in an excellent area, but once again, not all that comfortable. Again, two twin beds pushed together and really hard, but after our Amsterdam accomodation, it felt like a palace. We even had a private bathroom.
After arriving, we just wandered around the city, heading over to the Grand Palace, which is this breathtakingly gorgeous area. There are also tons of cafes and bars in the same area. We also stopped and saw Manneken Pis, a strangely famous statue of a small boy peeing, and his sister who lives down by the Delirium Cafe. And, of course, we ate some chocolate.
From there we headed off to check out the highlight of our trip – the Delirium Cafe. My boyfriend is a beer connoisseur and this was his mecca. The Guinness Book of World Records declared the Delirium Bar as the place that serves the world’s largest selection of beer. We stopped in and had a few pints before heading off to dinner.
I’m not much of a beer drinker, but it seemed like the place to give it a try. Tim was also certain he could find a beer I would actually like. It didn’t take long. I think I could drink cactus beer everyday and be pretty content.
We stopped by there again the second night we were in Brussels and went at our drinking with more purpose. We spent several hours sampling the assorted offerings of the cafe. Also, despite both being in our twenties, we have the tendencies of 50 years old and are not fond of loud, super crowded bars. That being said, if you are like us, stop by the cafe in the afternoon, especially on a weekday, like we did the first time. If loud, crowded places are your scene, apparently the Cafe is the place to be Friday night, which was the second time we stopped by there.
The next day we headed out to the Atomium and Mini-Europe. If I were you, I’d give Mini-Europe a miss. I’m a sucker for strange tourist traps and all, but this was a little strange. It was just a collection of large scale models of European landmarks. The Atomium, however, is pretty cool and I really regret not buying a strange T-shirt that said “I ♥ the Atomium” of the front and on the back it says “…and the Atomium hearts you too.” We opted not to go in, but it’s definitely a photographic area.
This was also the day I ate the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted – a real macaron from Marcolini’s. I bought 9 for a little over €12, which I debated over for quite a while and then finally decided to go for it. I wish I’d bought twice as many.
On the final day before heading back to Amsterdam to catch our flight, we swung by the Musical Instrument Museum, which is certainly worth seeing if you have any interest in music at all. The former band geek in me thought the wall of trumpets was pretty awesome. They give you a headset that plays music by the different instruments as you walk by them. It was occasionally on the fritz, but it was still a great place to see.
Overall, our trip to Brussels was full of yummy food, great beer and the most amazing junk food I’ve ever eaten. I wouldn’t mind going back, but there are a lot of other places to see first.
Eurolines – the best way to get around mainland Europe.
Delirium Cafe – the world’s largest beer selection.
Marcolini Macarons – the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten.