Brussels is twice a capital city, as it is the capital of Belgium and the seat of the entire European Union. So it goes without saying that the city is monumental, to say the least. Towering church spires, humongous domes, gilded façades, wide streets…even tall chocolate fountains!
Wanna visit Brussels? Get your visas, make room for tasty chocolate treats and embrace this beautiful city with a big “Hallo!”
Belgium has two main languages: French and Flemish. While a large part of Belgium has the latter as first language, the former remains the preferred medium of communication in the capital. Other than these languages, Belgians also speak good English. So, if ever you’re navigating with maps within Brussels or from Brussels to another city, be sure to get the translation of the place names in the language of your choice. And oh, Belgium has perhaps the most efficient tourist office in Europe; you can ask for free brochures and maps to be delivered to you at home.
Other than chocolate, Belgium is famous for its beer, seafood and waffles. If you love beer, do enter any of the bars within and around the Markt area to sample some of Belgium’s finest. Also within this area are numerous seafood restaurants whose specialty includes a pot of mussels (called moules) cooked in aromatic vegetables, wine and butter, and served with mayonnaise and French fries. A pot would cost you a hefty 20 euros, but if you have money to spare, I assure you that the experience is worth every cent. Waffles sold in every street corner are a cheap and filling alternative for tourists on the go.
The Cathédrale Sts-Michel et Gudule is about 10 minutes away from the gallery and if you’re into archaeology, you might want to visit the underground site. From here you could continue either by foot or by subway to the Palais de Justice/Justitie Paleis (Hall of Justice), the two Sablon districts, and the Place Royale/Koningsplein (Royal Palace).
Shopping around the Markt area or even just looking around in every shop is sheer bliss. For chocolate lovers, there’s an endless array of stores that sell authentic and not-so-authentic Belgian chocolates. Some even invite onlookers to sample their tasty treats. Comic book lovers would also get the time of their lives by scouting for Tintin souvenirs. The official shop of this comic book legend created by Georges Remi can be found on the Rue de la Colline, also within the Markt area.