What I did and saw:
Grand Place of Brussels-
The Grand Place of Brussels is one of the most beautiful plazas I have ever seen. It is surrounded by magnificent Guildhouses, and while I was there a free light show was put on every hour at night.
Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert-
Another one of the many beautiful things in Brussels is the Royal Galleries of Saint-Hubert. It is a covered mall with a variety of shops (and about every other one is a Belgian chocolate shop). It is worth walking through and sampling some of the Belgian delicacies.
Manneken Pis and Jeanneke Pis-
Manneken Pis is one of the more famous statues in Belgium. It literally translates to "little pisser," and while he is shown in all his glory some of the time, he will also be dressed in a variety of different outfits. For example, he was dressed in a Santa Claus costume for Christmas. It is believed to have originated from a time when leatherworkers would pay children to pee into jars so they could use the ammonia in the tanning process, but it has come to signify the sense of humor of the Belgian people. Since the construction of Manneken Pis there have been other versions built in the city such as Jeanneke Pis (girl) and Het Zinneke (dog).
Brussels Christmas Market-
The Brussels Christmas Market was outstanding. It is very large and is full of stands with delicious food and drink. They have delicious treats such as shaved beef and mulled wine. It is even great just to walk through even if you aren't buying anything.
Mont des Arts-
The Mont des Arts is a beautiful spot in Belgium that offers great views of the city.
Sandemans Free Walking Tour-
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I enjoy going on free walking tours, and the Sandemans free tour in Brussels did not disappoint. I had a great local guide that gave some interesting historical context (including some "Grandma history") and recommendations.
Where I ate and drank:
Balls & Glory-
Meatballs are a traditional Belgian food, but Balls & Glory puts a new spin on it. The serve a variety of different, fun flavors of meatballs.
Cafe Capitale is an excellent craft coffee place. I had my best cup of coffee in Brussels while I was there.
The BrewDog in Brussels is set in a cool building right by the Central train station. They offer good quality food and drinks at good prices in a chill environment.
Maison Dandoy is famous for their Belgian waffles, chocolates, and cookies. Their speculoos dark chocolate cookies are one of the best things I have ever tasted in my life.
Delirium holds the Guiness World Record for most beers offered. The menu is more like a book, and it is a cool place to hang out with friends (or make some new ones).
While the waffle I ate at Maison Dandoy was more expensive, the cheap tourist waffle at Le Funambule next to Manneken Pis was still tasty, mostly thanks to the scrumptious speculoos spread.
Aksum Coffee House-
Located inside the Saint Hubert Galleries, Aksum looks great from the outside. However, despite its pretty decor I found it overpriced relative to its quality, and they also did not have any filter coffee options.
Le Bistro Porte de Hal-
I ate Christmas dinner at Le Bistro across the street from Porte de Hal. The food was very good and the service was excellent. I was able to try some of the famous Brussles "moules-frites," which are steamed mussels and fries.
Taverne Manneken Pis-
Located across the street from Manneken Pis, Taverne Manneken Pis offers good Belgian snack and drink without a significant upcharge considering the location.
Where I stayed:
Jacques Brel Youth Hostel-
Jacques Brel had one of the best hostel breakfasts I've come across. It was a great place to stay, and the staff were very kind and helpful. I would definitely recommend staying at Jacques Brel.
How I got around:
While in the city I walked to get around and take in the beauty of the city and Christmas market. I also traveled by train to Ghent and Bruges during my time in Belgium.
My favorite thing:
My favorite things about Brussels are the dark chocolate covered speculoos and the delicious trappist craft brews. The Christmas market was also outstanding.
My least favorite thing:
I am not a big fan of the cold, but Brussels has moved to the top of my list of favorite cold cities.
For next time:
Next time in Brussels I would like to have more of the tasty food and drink, as it was some of the best I have tasted. I would also be interested in visiting Antwerp next time I am in Belgium.
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