After an 8 hour train from Munich, we arrived in Brussels. We are staying in a B&B near Brussels Midi train station. There are three train stations here: Nord (north), Centraal, and Midi/Zuid (South). Most of the tourist attractions are close to Centraal, but it is only a 3-minute train ride to reach there from Midi. Fortunately, we can use our Eurail pass so we don’t need to buy tickets for the short ride into town.
We were pleased to see that the signage is bilingual; unfortunately, English is not one of the two languages displayed! Most people here speak French. I believe that in other parts of Belgium, Dutch is more common. There were a few signs we found with English translations, but fewer than we have seen in other countries. It is also noticeable that the population here is much more diverse than in other cities we have visited. Many refugees are living here. Also more noticeable is the police presence, especially in the areas frequented by tourists. Given the terrorist attacks that took place here a couple of years ago, we were happy to see armed police patrolling.
There are many interesting museums located here. Unfortunately, they are closed on Mondays, which is the day we were in Brussels. Actually, by this point in our trip, we are experiencing museum fatigue, but I would’ve enjoyed visiting the Musical Instrument Museum if it had been open.
I did spot some interesting murals around town, and of course, there are always statues in any European city. And yes, there was indeed a horsy statue!
The town square (Grote Markt or Grand Place) here is especially impressive. It is said to be one of the most impressive town squares in Europe. My pictures do not do it justice. There was a beer festival that took place here over the weekend; the cleanup crews had quite a job ahead of them!
One cannot visit Brussels without seeing the statue of Manneken Pis. It is definitely underwhelming – very small in size. I took pictures of it with a few people to give the perspective of size.
Naturally, the local shopkeepers take advantage of offering Manneken Pis merchandise:
My favorite, however, was the mural of Manneken Peace:
And, to give them their due, there are also statues of Jeanneke Pis, which I never would’ve found if it weren’t for Google Maps and also Zinneke Pis, which was much easier to find.
There are chocolate shops everywhere; also a chocolate museum (though we did not visit it). Waffle shops are also quite prolific as are shops selling pommes frites with mayonnaise and other tasty sauces.
I enjoyed finding street art along the way:
There are plenty of churches. As usual, the Catholic churches are much more beautiful than the Protestant ones!
The architecture here is quite lovely – exactly how I had pictured it would be.
And, I always find a few things that amuse me that I must take pictures of:
We will head to Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp during our remaining days in Belgium.