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A Day in Brussels – Things to do in the land of waffles and comics

Brussels was one of the most interesting and unique places I visited in Europe, and its not very difficult to understand why so. The city has perfect touristy vibes, but not OTT flood of tourists that will make you go crazy; there is lots to see and experience, and everything is easily within walking distance of each other; the waffles and frites are to die for. In short, it has everything for everyone.

I arrived in Brussels via a TGV from Paris, which was for 20 euros under the Eurail Pass I already bought. After checking into a hostel, I headed straight for the Grand Place, the central square and what is the hub of major action in the city. It is surrounded by big buildings and cafes with outdoor seating on all sides, and was filled with tourists from all parts of the world. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After clicking a few pics there, off I headed to sample the delicacies of the city. The best part about the city was that everything was within a walking distance. Within a few hundred meters from the Grand Place were a host of shops selling the famous Belgian Waffles. We chose one and ordered a serving of the same with sugar and fresh strawberries. While there was a crazy variety available, I didn’t wanna go to overboard with the toppings. The waffles did not disappoint me at all. They were a perfect level of crunchy and hot, and the aroma was delicious. The waffles alone were good enough, with or without any toppings. I ate to my heart’s content.

Thereafter, I went to a shop named Fritland (since it had the longest queue outside) to try the famous Frites. And I was really curious as to what could be so different about the simple potato fries, that made Belgian fries so famous. I thought it might be an overhyped tourist thing, but gladly, I was proven wrong. I still don’t know what is so different about the way Belgian fries are prepared, but they were unlike fries I had anywhere else in Europe or India. They were served with a generous amount of mayonnaise, and never before I knew that this combination was such a hit.

In between loading myself up with all these calories, I burnt a few roaming around the Grand Place. I went to see one of the most important icon of Brussels, a statue of a peeing kid known as Mannekin Pis, and the female version of the same, Jannekin Pis. The legend goes that the statue is a likeness of a boy who saved Brussels from fire and disaster by peeing on the fuse of an explosive; another story depicts the boy as the victim of a witch’s spell, frozen in time as punishment for peeing on her door. Truth to be told, the statue is not very impressive, but it is an emblem of the rebellious and playful spirit of the country.

The city is also famous for its extensive comic books wall graffiti and numerous smurf and tintin statues. The Grand Place has been immortalized in numerous Belgian comic strips. The Belgian Comic Strip Center is a one of its kind museum.

The evening was spent drinking and chatting away with some of my college friends I bumped into in Brussels. We went to the Delirium Café, famous for brewing over 3000 types of beer. From there we went back to the Grand Place, where the buildings around us were now lit up in pretty colors. We roamed around the place till midnight, buying more beers from whatever shops came on our way, and talking stupid shit. For dinner and late night cravings, I hogged on more of frites and waffles, this time without any unnecessary toppings. It was a day well spent at Brussels.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Adventure, Happy Read, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Personal Narrative