What to do in Brussels

It took me a while but here it is…

Every year my dad, brother and I go on a trip for a couple of days. We try to do some out of the box stuff to make everybody happy. I was in charge of food and drinks, my dad for the accommodation and my brother for the sight seeing. To prevent my brother from filling the days with boring boys stuff, I planned some girly things as well.

I will not bore you with all the usual Brussel “high lights” like;

*Mannekepis because it’s way to small and over crowded to be interesting,
*The Atomium because you have to wait in 3 different lines for hours, and who has got time for that.
*The mossels because most of the time they are tasteless and boring.
*The waffels because well.. a waffle is a waffle and you can find them on every corner. Ofcourse I tried one and shared it with my brother.2017-06-19 01.35.44 1.jpg

So what did we do for those 4 days in Brussels… We walked, a lot..
Of course you can rent a bike or take public transport, you can even order an Uber. But to compensate all those beers we had, we needed to walk it of.
Let me tell you, please don’t go during a holiday weekend like Easter or Pentecost like we did. Almost everything is closed.

We arrived on Friday afternoon at the ““van belle hotel” . My dad found this hotel for a very good deal. My dad is a typical dutch guy and wants the best for the cheapest (dubbeletje op de eerste rang)
After we dropped our bags in the room we went to the city centre, this was just a 15 min walk.

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la maison du the” the cutest little tea shop I have ever come across. You can get all types of herbal teas and of course many types of coffee beans. We spend a good 20min in this small shop that looked like an old fashioned pharmacy.I bought a bag of “ pomme d’ amour” a blend of apple,lemon, vanilla and real pieces of merengue. It tastes like caramel winter, like a nice lemon merengue pie in a cup. I also bought a bag of a strong aloe vera blend with mint, hibiscus citronella and pieces of red fruit. The lovely man behind the counter helped us choose the tea and told us some fun facts. So if you are a tea lover like me you have to check this place out.
As much as I love tea, I do need my coffee once in a while and we like it strong. Not the flavored coffees or the Frappuccino’s , don’t get me wrong they are nice and all but when you have to walk as much as we did you really need something strong. So we went to “ Aksum coffee” It’s near the grand palace so you can have your coffee first and then go on your sight seeing trip. They have different flavored coffee beans, all form Ethiopia. When your travel partner is not that into coffee they have some other options as well. They also have some cakes from a small local bakery.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetIf you have a sweet tooth but don’t feel like cake and the waffles are talking to you, let them talk. Better look for a “marcolini” shop. They are known for their amazing chocolate, but believe me, leave them be, and go for the macarones. Buy a box, choose your flavors and go sit outside and enjoy it in peace. We had a small box because well…. Calories… We walked a little and took a seat at the coffee shop “berlin fabriek” . Ordered some coffee and enjoyed our little bites of heaven. And yes they are in fact Gluten free!

 

That evening we had dinner at “Caspian” a wonderful Iranian place.
Belgium food is quit similar to the dutch so we didn’t bother. We had 3 different dishes. I went for the “Fessendjan”, a stew with chicken, toasted walnuts, sugar and pomegranate concentrate. It was not too sweet, thankfully, but so very tasteful. For my dad I ordered “Sabzi polo ba mahi”. It’s fish seasoned and marinated. My brother got a “Djoudjeh kabab Bi gstokham”. It’s a skewer of chicken breast marinated with saffron and spices. All of the dishes are served with Persian saffron rice. It’s very tasteful and not too spicey.

If you like rice and non-Belgium food as much as I do you have to check out “Kumiko” . This place is in “dansaert”, the hipster artsy fartsy area of brussels. You can spend the whole day walking around here. Eating, drinking and just enjoying the neighbourhood. “Kumiko” has a perfect seating area outside surrounded by apartments for students. The restaurant serves Japanese food like ramen bowls, onigiri, donburi but also fries and burgers. I ordered the “ geisha salad” with salmon, lentils, wakame and wasabi crackers to balance all the beers and sweets.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetAgain this place had a lot of gluten-free options. As a dessert I had a matcha latte and a mochi. A mochi is a rubbery rice cake with different filling, I of course had the chocolate filling. My brother almost puked, but I loved it.

Last but not least you have to try out the beers, don’t hold back .. try them all..
No keep it within limits of course..
Belgium is known for its beers and brussels is a perfect place to enjoy them. In every bar or restaurant they have a big assortment of beers but for the real beer experience you have to go to Delirium. This bar has the most types of beers in the world. You can read all about it in my other blog .

If you’re not that into hot sweaty crowded bars but want to have some nice special beers you can go to my favorite place “ the sister”. Processed with VSCO with c1 presetThis organic café is located in one of the side street of grand place, rue chair et pain. It is literally vegan/vegetarian/ organic heaven. From the moment I saw the sign organic vodka my “wanna be all healthy heart” skipped a beat. My brother on the other hand couldn’t care less. We went in here for a quick beer before dinner, but walked out quit tipsy after enjoying our organic gluten-free beer tasting. Again check out my previous blog.
“ the sister” sells organic beers, other alcohol and of course food. The concept is really nice and I think more places could learn from this. They keep a zero waste policy . The ambiance is amazing as is the interior. I could spend many hours here, but no time.

Because it was a holiday weekend a lot of nice lunch places were closed. But you have to go check them out. I was pretty bummed I couldn’t.

There is“the little green shop” make sure to book a table as they are very popular.
Fourchette a Bicyclette” for brunch.
knees to chin” for a late Asian lunch.
MOK” for a good coffee.
Brussels Brewery” for well a nice beer.

Lately I’m into vintage and antique, I don’t know why. I read somewhere that brussels is known for it’s vintage. Every Saturday morning there is an antique market. Thank god it is there till 2 pm because who wants to wake up at 6am, right. You can find this place at rue Haute and rue blaes.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
I really love to walk around and browse for old stuff, but because I was with two guys I didn’t take the time I really wanted. If you wander around this area you will find more vintage shops. Even if you walk around in the city centre you find a lot of them. Next to the Iranian restaurant you can find the vintage shop “ episode” for example. ( to bad for me it was closed because of the holiday weekend).
Every first Sunday of the month there is a big vintage market at “ halles at saint Gery” near grand place.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset It’s a exhibition centre by day and a bar at night. Even tough it was Pentecost it was the first Sunday of the month, so I checked it out. My dad joined me to help me find some cool stuff, my brother was tired and had a nice lemonade in the sun at one of the many bars around.

So what’s left is the sight seeing. I will not go in to full detail, because well they are not very new and you can find them in every book or flyer of Brussels. We went to see the St. Michael and Gudula cathedral, a very big impressive place. I wanted to see the Musical instrument museum, but only the outside because of the amazing architecture.
Then you have the MIMA museum near the Dansaert area, they chance exhibitions every now and then so look up what they show before going in.
For the guys there is Autoworld, next to “ parc au cinquantenaire”. So let the guys be guys and for the ladies go walk around and chill.
Another nice educational thing to do, is visit the Parlamentarium. It surprised me how cool it was. You get headphones and a device which activates the information of the pictures. It’s a nice interactive thing to do and kid friendly.

This was our weekend, I hope it was helpful. Now I need to go detox from all the beers and food we had.

 

Cheers and good day.

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