Although this was my third time in Brussels, the city offered a lot of delightful activities to keep me/us occupied for two days. Taking the Thalys from Köln to Brussels is probably your best bet; in two hours you are among the French/Dutch speaking people.
The Bruxellois have an interesting flair. The resemblance between them and the Parisians is uncanny, however they have their very own little twists around the edges. For instance, everyone knows that crêpes are a big thing in France well they are an even bigger deal in Belgium. The twist to crêpes in Brussels is the enormous fire that surrounds the sweet and savoury treats. Just to be clear I am in no shape or form suggesting that the fire twist is a negative thing, but I am pointing out that it’s a Brussels twist that makes them stand out.
So we had booked a table at a well known restaurant called Aux Armes de Bruxelles. The food was magnificent! Anything from oysters, to escargot and foie gras as starters, and as mains you could order fish, meats, lobster, pasta, moules-frites… Then there was the dessert menu which offered ice cream, crème brûlée, blah blah until you got to the crêpes part. There were two choices when it came to ordering your crêpe: with vanilla ice cream or without. I thought if I was going to do it at all, I might as well do it right, so I did.
“I will have the crêpes with the ice cream, please.” To which the server responded, “Très bien Madame”, and the rest was history. So in the middle of the restaurant there was a pan on a stove. The server put a bit of Mandarin Napoleon liqueur with half a kilogram of butter and started to fry the crêpes in that caramelized butter liqueur mixture. Then someone brought out a white plate and the server placed all the pan contents on the plate and walked towards me to tell me to get my camera out. Surprised, I took my phone out and had it ready. At which time the server dumped about 1/3 of the liqueur bottle back into the pan, which created flames of fire that almost touched the ceiling of the restaurant. Check out the evidence below and note how entertaining these people can be :). But they sure do know how to make flambéed crêpes!
Next day, I realized that I spent the whole night dreaming of different fires – lol. So after a quick breakfast we headed out to the outdoor antiques market on Place du Jeu de Balle. Beautiful day it was, sunny and full of people’s antiques all gathered on the floor and spread out to fill an entire square.
After a serious effort of trying to find something to take home, we gave up and walked to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts where for 8€/person you are among great paintings of religious events that create the foundation for religions still followed today. I was in awe from all the fine craftsmanship and how certain animals and people were depicted quite beastly in these paintings and there is, in my opinion, an ever so slight sadness to all these paintings. I was able to photograph a painting I was quite taken aback by. Its beauty for me came from the attention of details manifested – quite inspiring!
Then came, of course, the infamous love for Belgian beers, and what other city to best enjoy these than Brussels. Here are a couple of my favourite ones, but the choices are endless really. And cool fact, you can make and print your own label on a beer called Vedett. I had to put my glutenfreeism to the side for one day …
I am sure you can figure out my other love when in Brussels… Pierre Marcolini is by far my favourite chocolatier and every time I’ve been here I end up walking away fully stocked and happy. Hello sugar high!
I just want to mention our hotel, because honestly it’s the best! I highly recommend everyone stay at Hotel des Galeries (right in the centre, amazing bathrooms and beds and super friendly staff). The hotel has been opened since July 2014 but they are getting ridiculously good reviews and they deserve all the fantastic rave.
Here was my view in the hotel room if you looked out the window left:
And here was the view from the right: