After a crazy and chaotic day touring Paris, Brussels seemed incredibly peaceful and much more relaxing. It may have been due to the fact that we were now on a tour bus and spent most of the travel time napping or maybe it was because many of the streets near the tourist hotspots seemed deserted to me since I had become accustomed to the bustling streets of Paris. For proof, just look at the photos, and you’ll notice the absence of hordes of people. The city square, however, was lively and filled with tons of people.
One of the famous monuments in Brussels is the Atomium. The structure consists of 9 steel balls that represent the atoms of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.
Belgium also has its own Arc de Triomphe but it’s larger than that in France. Once again, very few people were here as opposed to the crowds milling around the Champs-Elyseés.
Brussels is also famous for its sculpture, Manneken Pis which literally means Little Man Pee. According to one story, in the 14th century, this little 4-year-old boy happened to come across a burning fuse placed by the enemies near Brussels’ city walls. He just happened to have the brilliant idea of peeing on the explosives to extinguish the flame and saved everyone. And now he’s an iconic symbol for the city of Brussels. I never thought pee could be so useful…
Now of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the many delicious things Brussels has to offer. I was dying to try some Belgian waffles considering waffle shops were everywhere on the streets near the city square. You can get a plain waffle for 1 euro while toppings cost extra. Although I picked a simple waffle with chocolate on top for 2.5 euros, many people chose to spend 4.5 euros on a fancier option: a waffle topped with strawberries, bananas, whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate. Now usually, I’m not a big fan of waffles but these were delicious! Hot and fresh from the grill, and the chocolate sauce on top was tasty. No wonder it’s the chocolate capital of the world.
Other Random Observations of the Day:
- Apparently, truck drivers in Europe are required to take 1.5 days off during the weekend to rest and relax. Restaurants near the highway offer food and showering facilities for these truck drivers, and they sleep in a foldout bed in their trucks. We passed many trucks just chilling out near the highway. I wonder why we don’t do that in the States.
- Also, Chinese food here in Belgium lacks flavor. We went with our tour group to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, and the dishes all seemed to be lacking salt.
Next up: Amsterdam!