|Population||Ca 1,2 million|
In Brussels, you feel the pulse of the big city all the time while you stroll around the cobblestone streets that whisper about a forgotten era when we lived at a slightly slower pace. Belgium’s capital has a lot to offer such as waffles and cherry beer, festivals of various kinds, fun shopping and cool vantage points.
Strange sightings, a carpet of flowers and cat festivals
To get a really good view of the city, you should visit the “Atomium” artwork that was built before the 1958 World Exhibition, Expo 58. The idea was that the very large sculpture depicting an iron crystal magnified 165 million times would be dismantled when the exhibition was over, but it became so popular that it was allowed to remain. Some of the 9 spheres are open to the public and the diameter extends to 18 meters and each weigh 250 tons. There are restaurants and exhibition halls in the huge globe and if you reach the globe at the top you get a really nice view of the city and the next attraction we want to tell about – Mini-Europe! It is a tiny variant of famous buildings from all over Europe. Here you get the chance to see all of Europe in an hour, from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the City Hall in Stockholm and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The small miniature world is built in scale 1:25.
In May, a big festival is organized with the theme of cats. It all stems from when people threw cats out of the balconies to keep the number of cats down … No one really counted on them to multiply when they were first welcomed into town to keep the number of mice and rats in check. Thankfully no one is throwing cats off the balconies anymore but there is a risk of rain with toys. In mid-August every two years, a large carpet of colorful flowers is produced in the Grand-Place square, very beautiful! If you do not have much left over for cats or flowers, you can instead go to the Brussels Summer Festival with over 250 concerts and theater performances.
Waffles, cherry beer and shopping
Surely one of the best things about traveling to other countries is to taste the food, drinks and sweets that belong to the country and the culture? In Brussels, you should of course put your teeth in a pair of (read seven) Belgian waffles! The classic version is a simple waffle with some sugar on, but there are many varieties with different kinds of syrups, fruits, cream, chocolate sauce and ice cream. Belgium is also known for its many beers, so try the slightly odder varieties such as fruit beer and cherry beer. Do we even need to mention Belgian chocolate? Tip: bring an empty bag from home and fill it with chocolate.
Once you have filled up the sugar supply (maybe even accidentally overdosed) you can get rid of all the excess energy by going shopping. If you want to shop from the big brands and well-known chains, you can find what you are looking for at City 2, a shopping center with about 150 stores. If you want to find really nice vintage clothes, look for Melting Pot Kilo where you buy clothes at a kilo price.
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