This is the last story of trip to Flanders we did in the summer of 2013. After visiting Ghent, Antwerp and Witches, we left for the last day the belgium capital. We expected very little from this city, but we were very positively surprised.
Let's be honest, before travel to Flanders, what we least wanted was visit Brussels. For some reason, we had in mind the preconceived idea that it is only the capital of the European Union and we thought it would only be a gray city full of concrete office buildings without any grace, in addition to the inevitable port of entry and exit to the country. But no!
Discovering the center of Brussels
The first pleasant surprise of that day was that the Brussels Central train station It is in the heart of the city and, as it is one of the main stations, it has many services, including the rental of lockers. So we left our luggage there to travel the city without loads. Upon leaving the station we go to the nearby Brussels tourist office located in the GrassMarkt street and we got some plans to not miss any detail of the center.
The second stop was the Grand-Place or Grote Markt (in flamenco) and there, our preconceived opinion of the city changed radically. We found this place beautiful. The impressive buildings that compose it have so many details that it is difficult to focus the look on a single point and do not stop looking around. Seeing it, it is hard to get the idea that it was rebuilt almost completely in the late seventeenth century after being destroyed in a French bombing. It is chaired by the Hotel de Ville, which is the city hall and one of the most beautiful buildings, and on the sides stand the mythical guild buildings so unique in Flanders. The Grand-Place looks like a book on the history of architecture, because it includes Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassical and neo-Gothic buildings.
If the Grand Place is the nerve center of classical Brussels, the Manneken Pis It is without a doubt the most famous symbol of the city. The meon boy is a small bronze statue, about 60 centimeters, located in a fountain that lets a trickle of water go, and you can imagine where. This figure dates from the fifteenth century, but the original sculpture was stolen and a new one was installed in 1618. It is so popular that it even has a collection of more than six hundred costumes with which they dress it on designated dates. It is so famous that it has had a couple of extra variations in the city, such as the Jeanneke Pis, the girl meona, or even the Zinneke Pis, the meon dog (although the latter is only a statue and not a source).
After walking through the historic center of the city we moved to the nearby Royal Galleries Saint Hubert, the oldest in Europe. An architectural work of art two hundred meters long, covered with a window that lets in a lot of light. At present, the interior includes several shops, chocolate-boutiques and also the Mokafé coffee shop, famous for its waffles.
Like chocolate, beer and chips, he Waffle is one of the typical Brussels dishes. Of course, the Belgians take them only with icing sugar sprinkled on top. The more additions they get, the less authentic it is. However, at the Mokafé they gave you the option of adding more ingredients and we couldn't resist eating a waffle with strawberries and cream. It was great!
Do you sound Tintin, Lucky Luke or the Smurfs? All these comic characters came out of the pen and inkwell of Belgian authors. Brussels is a joy for all fans of the world of illustration or for those who simply want to enjoy the characters they have read in the comics. Through forty murals, most of them in buildings of the historic center, we can discover the history of the comic in the city.