Too much of “Belgitude” in Brussels

The Atomium in Laeken, Belgium

I ´ve got inspired by Len of Lens Journey´s post about Brussels. His post had made me dream of visiting Brussels and explore this city more than it´s gastronomic delights which is famous for. Whether it´s the world class Belgian chocolates and Pralines, mussels, waffles, and yes, the famous Belgian Beer, Bruseels have it all. My neighbour says that German Beer is still the best, and better than Belgian´s, but I think it´s a matter of personal choice! Anyway, I didn´t went to Brussels just for the beer, I wanna see something else that this beautiful city has to offer.

The Grand Place in Brussels
Triumph Arch in Parc du Cinquantenaire or Jubelpark (also known as Park of Fiftieth Anniversary)

Of course, I spent quite a time admiring the Grand Place, the heart of Brussels, one of the most beautiful square in Europe.I lost counting just how many statues in here!

Upon entering the border, it started to pour, it pours and pours the whole day. My first day in Brussels is spent in wet, rainy, and yet a day full of surprises.

Street art in Brussels where Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix make a jam

Because it´s raining, and we haven´t had lunch yet, we decided to grab a light meal. There´s this trendy restaurant just in front of Brussels´s Central Station called “Brewdog” which has a trendy vibe of a container-bar decor.They have decent chicken wings, burger and yes, beer.Yes, beer for lunch is also acceptable,afterall, we are on holiday!

Mont des Arts (Hill of the Arts)
Checking out the Galeries Royales Saint Hubert

Exploring Brussels on a rainy day is quite unforgettable. First I lost the umbrella that we´ve borrowed from the hotel,then the trams were cramped, busy and noisy.I haven´t had the chance to took nice photos because it´s raining . I took a quick stop to check out the church of But nevertheless, seeing “Groote Markt or the Grand Place is still a wonderful experience.If you are in Brussels, this is the first place that you should be.

Belgian Waffles for breakfast, lunch and why not Dinner?

It´s a beautiful square, with lots of architecture that made me stare up most of the time, noting the fine details of the City hall, the quaint shops like Godiva and Starbucks which looks more than a part of a palace than a normal shop. The Maison du Roi is quite impressive and I was just impressed how much this square retain it´s grandeur and rich history, after all, this square is listed in UNESCO world Heritage Site.

Manneken Peace Mural in Brussels
Parc du Cinquantenaire, a stones throw away from the EU Parliament Building
Taking a peek of the delicious and mouth-watering chocolate selection in Brussels

After checking out some unique doors in Brussels along the tiny alleys, we are bent on finding the famous sculptures where “Belgitude” is best shown. Talking about “Belgianness“, there´s a lot to be seen in the busy streets of Brussels.People are happy, carefree and I can sense a lot of free-spirit in this lovely city.Tourists flocked to all famous places, and of course, traffic is crazy.

Public Art in Brussels
Make us Young!

The word “belgitude” was invented by Belgian sociologists in the 1970s, to describe the painful reality of belonging to a country with little national pride, a history of being invaded, and bitterly divided politics. Being the seat of the UN and NATO, Brussels had made it´s landmark as one of the most safe country, or rather the capital of Europe.Think about it, this country seemed to be not even having an official language. Really, people speak French, German and Dutch and sometimes English! I went to a shop and personnel is speaking in French and then dine in a restaurant where German is spoken and explore the places hearing the Dutch language! Even road signs are written in two languages,in French and German and I was really amazed that highways in Belgium is always light up.

Talking about Belgium´s national symbol, the Atomium , which I find really a cool structure didn´t even come to first place. It´s Manneken Pis who has the world´s fanfare and adoration. Upon seeing this little urinating boy statue, I was kind of bewildered why people are crazy about it. People are flocking just to have a selfie with it which I find really crazy.It´s just a normal boy, doing his thing! Then there´s the Jeanneke Pis,the peeing Girl, and Het Zenneke, the peeing Dog.

The thing is, you need to pay before you can use a public bathroom in Brussels!

Waffle day everyday!
Manneken Pis in Brussels

Brussels is also super green and there are really many shaded areas because it´s just turning into a city of green oase.Brussels has ranked in sixth place with an “index score” of 69.2, based on how it scored on 13 categories including pollution, meat and poultry consumption and air quality.

Some public art

With beautiful, luscious parks and open spaces. I love navigating the streets with lots of street art, pretty gardens and public art spaces. It´s no wonder this place is a festival magnet too, there´s a lots of arts and music vibes as well.Too bad I didn´t visit in mid- August where the Grand Place is turned into a giant carpet of Flowers during the Brussels Flower Festival.

Food and sightseeing always go together. I find Brussels very international. Speaking of waffles, I´ve tasted more than one so I am convinced, in Brussels, Waffles is life. I´ve tried both the famous Belgian waffles and the Liege waffles and I must say that they have the right to be proud of it. Though I myself can´t eat waffle everyday, it´s just too heavy for me especially with all those toppings and sweet stuff. They say that Belgium invented “French Fries” but in Brussels, people prefer to eat fries with mayonaise and I don´t disagree because it´s delicious! In every village, you can find the “Fritkot” , a kiosk or a van selling the famous Frites!

Belgian Flag hanged in the Arch of Parc du Cinquantenaire
Manneken Pis Chocolate Fanfare
Het Zenneke, the peeing Dog in Brussels

The word “belgitude” was invented by Belgian sociologists in the 1970s, to describe the painful reality of belonging to a country with little national pride, a history of being invaded, and bitterly divided politics.I find this charming city really interesting.From it´s quirky and funny cartoon strips, to iconic odd images and displays, it seemed to me that Brussels is just the way it is, because of it is really what the city is.I had an awkward time explaining to my daughter why Brussels has many statues of public urinating, and odd, erotic chocolates and pastries, even rainbow pedestrian crosswalks! I guess it´s just the way it is or more of a Belgian Zen, or the ability to cope with a way of life that is sometimes disturbing, sometimes wonderful, but always weird.Oh yes, in Brussels, I have seen many weird things.Take for example  the new Belgian passport features cartoons of the Smurfs, Tintin and Lucky Luke instead of soaring peaks and gothic cathedrals.

Weird, but yes-unique in many sense.

The best of both worlds in Brussels

I haven´t seen it all but there are so much more to see in this city.But then, it´s always a reason to come back.

Until then, Tschüss!

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