First impression of Brussels after arriving in the train station: Yuck. And as we progressed to our hostel in the low-income part of town, my second impression wasn’t much different – but I was pleasantly surprised by the price and variety of food: Persian, Turkish, Greek and all kinds of African food too.
But after a nice walk through the rough parts (which are not even that rough, but you may stand out depending on your ethnicity), we walked to the city centre…and Brussels is cute! It’s small, stony and elaborate like typical Western European cities.
I really loved the vibe of Brussels: quirky, easy-going and very fun. It had great bars and even better beer.
The #1 reason you want to visit Brussels (besides laughing at how neutral everything is, since it is the seat of the EU parliament) is the FOOD.
I read the super cool blog by Alex (http://adventureswithalex.net/2011/08/07/belgiums-holy-trinity/) before going and it is all 100% true. You MUST try the
1. Chocolate – or better yet, visit the Chocolate Museum in Bruges. It’s kind of hilarious because it’s made for children, and it’s big sell is a giant Chocolate Obama that actually looks nothing like Obama.
2. Waffles – Get them plain with sugar if you want to act like a local. They are delicious.
3. Fries – Ask for them with Samurai or Curry Ketchup sauce, it is freaking delicious!
4. Beer – I liked Vedette Blanche but I’ve been told that’s a girly beer to only be had in summer, and Westmaller Trappist was good for a stronger beer.
And don’t bother finding Manneken Pis. It’s the smallest, most insignificant tourist attraction I’ve ever seen.
Instead of being disappointed by the pissing boy, hit up the gay part of town for super weird but cool stores and bars, the ghetto for cheap donair and make sure you get ready to eat LOADS!
BONUS TANGENT! But also very helpful if you’re going to Brussels in the future.
None of my friends or I looked up what to do before we got to Brussels, but this AMAZING map by Use It, Tourist Info for Young People, was the most helpful map I have ever come across. Find the Use It info office or get it for free at a hostel, it is hilarious, recommends off-the-beaten-track places, cheap things for young people to do and best of all, it’s made by locals and has no paid promotions. It is perfect. I’m actually thinking about starting one up in Vancouver, I am so in love with this map. Check it out on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/useit