Ahhhh, Brussels, the home of the sprout.

Kas and me made a trip in February 2007 when it was still the depths of winter and it was pretty cold. Ami stayed at home with my parents.

We travelled all the way by train, on the Eurostar, and had booked a reasonably priced hotel fairly close to the station (but not close enough to be really seedy). Kas couldn’t really walk far without taking a breather because Izzy was starting to grow quite large inside her, so our movements over the weekend were done generally at a fairly leisurely pace.

We travelled over during the day on a Friday and returned on Monday, so we had three nights, and hence two full days plus the dog ends of two other days.

For me, going Brussels was a bit of an hommage to my youth. I used to travel there quite regularly for weekends when I was living near Rotterdam in 1988 through to 1990. I certainly spent the weekend in Brussels four or five times over that period.

For the uninitiated, Brussels might not seem like that attractive a place to visit. After all, it’s a city. The central area is quite pretty, but it’s quite a small city and it isn’t really famed for it’s great architecture, or culture (1), or much else in comparison to some of the great European cities. What Brussels manages to do in spades though, is to present you with lots and lots and lots of different ways of indulging yourself. There are loads of good restaurants and masses of bars. It is a central hub for the Belgian brewing industry and the Belgian chocolate industry. And for the tourists, it’s got a statue of a small boy turning his bike round in public. On the outskirts it’s also got the Atomium – somewhere I’ve now been too three times. It’s difficult to describe why I like it, but it is very photogenic.

(1) Still, what would I know about culture ? Nowt, that’s what.

I find Brussels is a great place to go if you fancy a weekend of eating and drinking too much and wishing you didn’t have to go back, except by the end of the weekend you do want to go back, because stopping any longer would significantly increase your risk of pickling yourself or turning yourself into foie gras. It’s good for a few days though.

So what did we do while we were there ?

On the Friday afternoon we wandered around the centre of town looking in shopping arcades, gawping at the Grand Place and eventually ending up having the ultimate locally brewed beer in the Café À La Mort Subite.

Brussels_015 Galleries St Hubert.jpg Brussels_008 Corne Port Royal.jpg Brussels_009 Corne Port Royal.jpg Brussels_007 Corne Port Royal.jpg Brussels_001 Galleries St Hubert.jpg Brussels_016 Rue Des Bouchers.jpg Brussels_002 Galleries St Hubert.jpg Brussels_014 La Belgique Gourmande.jpg Brussels_013 Galleries St Hubert.jpg Brussels_006 Galleries St Hubert.jpg Brussels_017 A La Mort Subite.jpg Brussels_188 Mort Subite Sign.jpg Brussels_187 Mort Subite Munchies.jpg Brussels_186 Mort Subite.jpg Brussels_005 Galleries St Hubert.jpg Brussels_003 Galleries St Hubert.jpg Brussels_004 Galleries St Hubert.jpg Brussels_012 Port Royale Shop Window.jpg Brussels_011 Port Royale Shop Window.jpg Brussels_010 Port Royale Shop Window.jpg

On the Saturday morning we started off with a walk through the Grand Place to the Mannekin Pis, and then onwards to the European Parliament and the European Commission buildings.

Brussels_052 Rue Ravenstein Sculpture.jpg Brussels_019 Mannekin Pis.jpg Brussels_018 Mannekin Pis.jpg Brussels_020 Mannekin Pis.jpg Brussels_023 Sablon Bar.jpg Brussels_054 Parc de Bruxelles Statue.jpg Brussels_051 Rue Ravenstein Sculpture.jpg Brussels_060 Parc de Bruxelles.jpg Brussels_058 Parc de Bruxelles Sculpture.jpg Brussels_057 Parc de Bruxelles Sculpture.jpg Brussels_062 Parc de Bruxelles Sculpture.jpg Brussels_034 Notre Dame du Sablon Statue.jpg Brussels_033 Notre Dame du Sablon Statue.jpg Brussels_032 Notre Dame du Sablon.jpg Brussels_035 Notre Dame du Sablon Architecture.jpg Brussels_030 Sablon Shops.jpg Brussels_024 Sablon Shop Sign.jpg Brussels_025 Sablon Shop Sign.jpg Brussels_031 Sablon Shop Sign.jpg Brussels_036 Notre Dame du Sablon Spire.jpg Brussels_039 Notre Dame du Sablon Glassware.jpg Brussels_038 Notre Dame du Sablon Architecture.jpg Brussels_037 Notre Dame du Sablon Spire.jpg Brussels_045 Brussels Tram.jpg Brussels_048 Hotel de Ville Tower.jpg Brussels_044 Place Royale Lamps.jpg Brussels_043 Place Royale Lamps.jpg Brussels_042 Godefroy de Bouillon Statue.jpg Brussels_053 Godefroy de Bouillon Statue.jpg Brussels_056 Parc de Bruxelles.jpg Brussels_049 Le Relais des Caprices.jpg Brussels_055 Palais Royal Lamps.jpg Brussels_069 Rue de Louvain Sign.jpg Brussels_068 Rue de la Presse Sign.jpg Brussels_067 Rue Royale Lights.jpg Brussels_066 Rue Royale Lights.jpg Brussels_063 Rue Royale View.jpg Brussels_065 La Rotonde.jpg Brussels_022 Mannekin Pis.jpg Brussels_027 Sablon Shop Sign.jpg Brussels_021 Mannekin Pis.jpg Brussels_026 Sablon Shop Sign.jpg Brussels_028 Sablon Shop Sign.jpg Brussels_040 Notre Dame du Sablon.jpg Brussels_047 Place Royale Tram.jpg Brussels_071 Palais Royale Sign.jpg Brussels_070 Palais Royale Sign.jpg Brussels_029 Rent a Bike.jpg Brussels_041 Notre Dame du Sablon Detail.jpg Brussels_046 Place Royale Tram.jpg Brussels_050 Le Relais des Caprices.jpg Brussels_061 Parc de Bruxelles People.jpg Brussels_059 Parc de Bruxelles Statue.jpg Brussels_064 Parc de Bruxelles.jpg Brussels_072 Rue Royale Art Deco Flower Shop.jpg Brussels_075 European Parliament.jpg Brussels_074 European Parliament.jpg Brussels_073 Shell in the Floor.jpg

On Saturday afternoon we took a train up to the Atomium and did some general atomic gawping, followed by some atomic beer drinking.

Brussels_076 Atomium from Underneath.jpg Brussels_077 Atomium from Underneath.jpg Brussels_083 Atomium from Underneath.jpg Brussels_082 Atomium from Underneath.jpg Brussels_081 Atomium from Underneath.jpg Brussels_080 Atomium from Underneath.jpg Brussels_079 Atomium from Underneath.jpg Brussels_078 Atomium from Underneath.jpg Brussels_084 Atomium from Underneath.jpg Brussels_091 Inside the Atomium.jpg Brussels_089 Inside the Atomium.jpg Brussels_090 Inside the Atomium.jpg Brussels_088 Atomium Green Roof Thingy.jpg Brussels_087 Atomium Green Roof Thingy.jpg Brussels_097 King Baudouin Stadium.jpg Brussels_094 Leffe Blonde.jpg Brussels_092 Inside the Atomium.jpg Brussels_093 Inside the Atomium.jpg Brussels_095 Leffe Blonde.jpg Brussels_100 Dusky Atomium.jpg Brussels_099 Dusky Atomium.jpg Brussels_098 Dusky Atomium.jpg Brussels_101 Dusky Atomium.jpg Brussels_102 Atomium Close Up.jpg Brussels_086 Atomium Close Up.jpg Brussels_085 Atomium Close Up.jpg Brussels_096 Leffe Blond.jpg Brussels_103 Atomium Close Up At Night.jpg Brussels_104 Atomium Close Up At Night.jpg

On Sunday morning we wandered around the old town again, taking in the cathedral and some arty looking office buildings around it, and also a museum of chocolate.

Brussels_034 Notre Dame du Sablon Statue.jpg Brussels_033 Notre Dame du Sablon Statue.jpg Brussels_032 Notre Dame du Sablon.jpg Brussels_035 Notre Dame du Sablon Architecture.jpg Brussels_107 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_106 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_105 Grand Place.jpg Brussels_111 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_109 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_110 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_114 Grand Place Bloke on a Horse.jpg Brussels_113 Grand Place Bloke on a Horse.jpg Brussels_112 Maison des Ducs de Brabant.jpg Brussels_116 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_119 Grand Place Bloke.jpg Brussels_118 Hotel de Ville Clock.jpg Brussels_115 Hotel de Ville Statue.jpg Brussels_117 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_121 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_125 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_124 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_123 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_122 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_120 Roy d'Espagne.jpg Brussels_131 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_129 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_132 Hotel de Ville Roof.jpg Brussels_127 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_126 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_128 Grand Place Swan.jpg Brussels_130 Grand Place Bust.jpg Brussels_133 Herring Street Sign.jpg Brussels_155 Choccy Shop Window.jpg Brussels_156 Bike.jpg Brussels_141 Grand Place Lamps.jpg Brussels_140 Hotel de Ville Detail.jpg Brussels_139 Grand Place Street Art.jpg Brussels_138 Golden Head Street Sign.jpg Brussels_136 Maison des Ducs de Brabant Detail.jpg Brussels_135 Maison des Ducs de Brabant Detail.jpg Brussels_134 Maison des Ducs de Brabant Detail.jpg Brussels_137 Grand Place Lamp.jpg Brussels_169 Glass Building.jpg Brussels_168 King Baudouin Statue.jpg Brussels_167 King Baudouin Statue.jpg Brussels_166 Mini House.jpg Brussels_157 Maison du Roi Detail.jpg Brussels_161 Chocolate Fountain.jpg Brussels_170 Cathedral Tower.jpg Brussels_171 Office Building Detail.jpg Brussels_183 Cathedral Organ.jpg Brussels_182 Cathedral Organ.jpg Brussels_181 Cathedral Organ.jpg Brussels_180 Cathedral Window.jpg Brussels_176 Cathedral Interior.jpg Brussels_172 Office Building.jpg Brussels_146 Grand Place Buildings.jpg Brussels_144 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_145 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_147 Le Roy d'Espagne.jpg Brussels_143 Maison du Roi Detail.jpg Brussels_142 Grand Place Buildings.jpg Brussels_154 The Golden Wellie.jpg Brussels_153 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_151 The Brass Bloke.jpg Brussels_150 Hotel de Ville Walls.jpg Brussels_152 Hotel de Ville Walls.jpg Brussels_149 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_148 Grand Place People.jpg Brussels_164 Chocolate Moulds.jpg Brussels_163 Chocolate Moulds.jpg Brussels_162 Chocolate Statue.jpg Brussels_160 Grand Place Cobbles.jpg Brussels_159 Grand Place Building Detail.jpg Brussels_158 Grand Place Building Detail.jpg Brussels_165 Chocolate Statue.jpg Brussels_178 Cathedral Candles.jpg Brussels_177 Cathedral Ceiling.jpg Brussels_174 Cathedral Doorway.jpg Brussels_184 Cathedral Organ.jpg Brussels_173 Building by the Cathedral.jpg Brussels_175 Cathedral Square Buildings.jpg Brussels_179 Cathedral Organ.jpg Brussels_185 Cathedral Organ.jpg Brussels_189 Mort Subite Tea.jpg

On our final evening we “went large” with the eating and drinking around the Grand Place, but found time to take a few photos of the square in darkness, which gives a very different perspective on it.

Brussels_201 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_200 Grand Place.jpg Brussels_199 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_198 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_197 Maison des Ducs de Brabant.jpg Brussels_196 Grand Place.jpg Brussels_195 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_194 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_193 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_192 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_202 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_190 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_191 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_209 Grand Place Wall Frieze.jpg Brussels_208 Grand Place.jpg Brussels_207 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_210 Grand Place Lace Shop.jpg Brussels_206 Le Roy d'Espagne.jpg Brussels_211 Primus Haacht.jpg Brussels_205 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_203 Grand Place Gold Statue.jpg Brussels_213 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_212 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_214 Hotel de Ville.jpg Brussels_215 Maison du Roi.jpg Brussels_217 Grand Place.jpg Brussels_216 Grand Place.jpg Brussels_218 Maison du Roi Vaulting.jpg


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