A weekend in Brussels

This summer I had the opportunity of visiting Brussels along with many other European cities. To be very honest, before visiting, what mainly attracted to me were the guild houses since I am a huge fan of art and architecture. But I was wrong. There is so much more in Brussels.

Luckily my hotel was not too far from the Grand Place. As soon as I stepped out of the Bourse Metro station, everything came to life! There were streets filled with restaurants, people casually chilling after work, having a drink, cafés covered in banners and lights. I walked and walked, looked at the locals with such interest. I always feel you learn so much from interacting and observing the locals.

However, best was yet to come! I walked till i reached la Bourse, then made my way towards the Grand Place. And the street was filled with chocolate and souvenir shops. One thing that left with me from Brussels were chocolates! (I finished by the time I got back to my country). I absolutely loved indulging in those designer chocolates. The fragrance, the immense variety of flavours, decor of the shops, taste of the chocolates, sampling, I had never experienced something like this in other European cities. So one thing that I am sure about is, Belgian chocolates are to die for. Next, came up those amazing waffles at every little corner. I was pampering myself with the sweet delicacies after every 30 mins and I was so sure I won’t be leaving brussels without gaining 2-3 pounds.

The day I reached Brussels, I was blessed with such a stunning view of the sky! It was a bright shade of blue with a pattern of white fluffy clouds everywhere. So when I walked towards the Grand Place I literally couldn’t stop staring. The architecture was exquisite. The dazzling gold of the guild houses against the whimsical sky was a sight to be seen. It was one of the most beautiful squares I had ever come across. Moreover, the cafes and bars surrounding the square, or just the tourists and locals hanging out and sitting in the middle of the square, laughing, having drinks and just enjoying, It all summed up to that beautiful environment of the area. That was where I decided I had to paint the reason I came here for! The guild houses. All across Europe I had been painting some of my favourite monuments on small canvases, and in Brussels this was it.

On my ‘things to see list’ next was Manneken Pis. I had no idea about its significance or its size, but it seemed pretty amusing to me. While looking for it in the streets I came across this small group of people taking photos of something which I couldn’t figure out. It turned out to be the very small but famous Manneken Pis pissing! For many tourists, its pretty underwhelming due to its size and I could say the same. Unfortunately I couldn’t view it in it’s different costumes.

The next day I had planned to check out the Atomium. Reaching the Atomium was a bit of a hassle since its really far off from the rest of the landmarks, but how could I say no to one of the most iconic landmarks of Brussels. It indeed is a pretty impressive structure. I decided not to go inside due to the long queues and thought it wasn’t worth it, so I only took a couple of photos of the massive structure.

When I got the map of the Atomium area, I spotted Parc de Laken with a beautiful Chinese and Japanese Pavilion. It was a long long walk, and by the time I got there, around 4pm, it was closed. So i can’t say if its worth all that time and effort, unless one has plenty of days in Brussels. For me, since I have never witnessed Chinese and Japanese structures, I really liked the pavilions reflecting their local architecture.

Last but not the least, the Royal Palace of Brussels was next on my list, which was luckily open during the summer. I can’t say its one of the most impressive places I have been too, but the ‘Mirror Room’ with the beetle’s wing chandelier was the best part. For me, the fact that they had opened it for public without any charge was a great deal.

That was the end of my journey. To spend my last few hours in Brussels I went back to the main square, since for me, I just couldn’t get enough of it. Whenever I think of Brussels, thats how I remember it. I had a lovely experience in terms of my interaction with the local people of brussels since I had no issues in communication, which at times can be quite problematic while exploring new countries. I had a great time wandering around in Brussels, my favourite part being the Grand Place for its beautiful ornate architecture, indulging in the amazing waffles and chocolates and going back home with plenty of magnets!