Moving on to the Low Countries and Brussels is our next destination. A rail workers’ strike effectively reduced our time in Brussels from 1.5 days to a mere day trip. As a result, my planned visit is disrupted and to make do with the given time instead. Not going to let this setback affect our holiday mood, though. But rather, this perhaps gave me one reason to come back here again in the future.
The Eurostar train bound for Brussels departs from the stunningly beautiful St Pancras Station. And sharing the red-brick building is the posh St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London.
We arrived at Brussels Midi two hours later, locked up our luggage at the storage facility before heading out.
The Grand Place of Brussels
The Grand Place (Grote Markt) is an iconic cobbled town square surrounded by beautiful historical buildings. While constructed in different architecture styles, the unique blending coexists rather nicely and visually stunning. There is also a bi-annual event happening around Mid-August where a huge flower carpet will be displayed. But it’s unlikely for me to see that in person since I have never thought of visiting Europe during summer…
One of the most noteworthy buildings is the imposing Town Hall (Hotel de Ville) being used as a civil building. The whole building is decorated in great abundance of statues and ornaments which totally outshine the others.
Facing the Town Hall on the opposite side is the King’s House (Maison du Roi), although no king has ever lived there before. The building now houses Museum of the City of Brussels (Musee de la Ville de Bruxelles) where the original Mannekin Pis and his extensive wardrobe is kept.
In addition, the numerous beautiful guildhalls elevate the charm of the Grand Place to yet another level. The popularity of the town square makes it tough to take a photo due to the crowds.
Somewhere in between the street leading from Grand Place to Manneken Pis is this Waffles Factory, and their waffles are quite good.
Unlike other famous statues of prominent historical figures, the beloved statue of Brussels is a naked little boy peeing into the fountain’s basin. The cheeky Manneken Pis statue is among the city’s best-known landmarks. There are many explanations about why the statue was erected but nobody seems to know for sure.
Whichever the case, Manneken Pis is well-loved and has received many costumes to dress up for different occasions. But we only get see his birthday suit that day.
Many of the souvenir and chocolates all around Brussels come in the form of Manneken Pis.
Finally, how can we not to talk about Belgium chocolate? This specialty of Belgium is renowned all over the word for its fine quality and taste. But there are countless chocolatiers in Brussels till we are literally spoiled for choices. Hence I decided to go with chocolate brands not found in Singapore and ended up in Pierre Marcolini Chocolatier.
And wow! The chocolates at Pierre Marcolini are goddamn good!! While it’s on the pricey side but the quality totally make up for that. Maybe that’s why it is called luxury chocolate?
We explored the area a little more before it’s time to return to Brussels Midi. If only we have more time, there are still so many things which I would like to see especially the street arts. Next time ya, Brussels?