Waffles, Chocolates, Mussels, and Fries

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I have so many things to blog about but I've been too busy to find the time to actually write them down.  On the down side this means I have a lot of catching up to do, but on the plus side this means I do, in fact, have a bit of a life!  I'll start by backtracking to last weekend.

Myself and two friends decided a while back that we wanted to take a weekend trip and, considering time and comparing flights, we chose Brussels.  I had heard mixed reactions towards Brussels, some feeling that there wasn't much to do there and others absolutely loving it.  I have yet to travel to a country that I didn't like so I thought this could be a good way to test that.

I had to wake up on Saturday around 3 a.m. (about the time I'm normally going to bed) and walk to Dawson Street where the Aircoach stops.  It was strange to be starting my day as the people all around me where just finishing their night.  After an uneventful trip to the airport and a bit of waiting we were off to Brussels.  The flight was barely long enough for me to take a nap (though I did manage to get a few minutes in).   From the Brussels Airport we took a quick train ride into the city and then began walking.

It was too early to check into the hostel so our first mission was food.  We found an adorable little place that was just far enough out of the city center that it was more of a local cafe.  We sat around a massive table with several other groups of people.  In the center of the table were about a dozen jars of all different types of spreads.  There was chocolate, white chocolate, honey, jams, and many other mystery toppings to put on my bread.  I saw as a personal challenge to try them all. 

From there we weaved our way through the streets to the Grand Place.  Grand Place is essentially a giant square in the middle of Brussels, surrounded by gorgeous buildings, restaurants, and chocolate shops.  We were also very lucky that our hostel was just off one of the small side streets from the square.

Me in Grand Place
We continued our wanderings and saw the Cathedral, the Royal Palace, and the Kapellekerk La Chapelle (whatever that may translate to!).   We also went on a hunt for Mannenken Pis, which literally translates to Little Peeing Man.  It is a statue of a little boy peeing and it is apparently the symbol of Brussels.  Little statues of him can be found in every souvenir shop and many of the chocolate shops have even made molds of him. 
Manneken Pis
We of course stopped in almost every chocolate shop during our walk and also felt obligated to stop and try a traditional Belgian waffle.  The way the locals eat it is apparently dry with just some confectionery sugar on top.  It was delicious but we would find out later in our trip that the waffles targeted at tourists are generally cooked with sugar inside and are much sweeter. 
Traditional Belgian Waffle

The city is overflowing with chocolate

Although it was only 3 p.m. we had been up and walking for a quite a while so we checked into our hostel and took power naps.

Sunset over the city
Though not fully refresh we headed back out in search of the "Palais de Justice".  We lucked out and reached it just as the sun was going down.  The Palace is set high up on a hill near the outskirts of the city so we had a beautiful view of the sun setting over all of Brussels.  From there we headed back down the hill in search of dinner.  Not only is Brussels known for its chocolate and waffles, but it also takes pride in it's seafood, specifically mussels.  They also invented french fries.  I still don't understand how anyone could hate this country.

After dinner we headed to a bar called Delirium.  They had over 2000 different types of beer and, although I would love to try all of them, we each just settled for a pint.  While I fully enjoy going out in Dublin at night it was so nice to look around me and see that I was not the only one wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  It was a nice change of pace from what I've gotten used to here and reminded me a bit more of home. 

We decided that since we were able to see most of Brussels in a day that we would take the train to Bruges in the morning so after our pints we headed back to the hostel where I fell asleep almost instantly.


  1. Erin,
    That sounds amazing! I'm with you- waffles, french fries, mussels, chocolate and beer?! Who could not LOVE that country?

    Miss you,


  2. Erin,

    Great post! I bet the chocolate was delicious! Did you try the one with the crunchy little bits on top? I heard those were just delightful!

    I'm so glad you enjoyed your stay in my home country, and glad I found your blog.

    Peace to you.

  3. I love all of your traveling!

    Your blog is cute-thanks for sharing!