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Travel tips - Brussels

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Inky_Wretch, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Heading to Brussels on Sunday for a week-long work trip. I'm pretty booked up in the last half of the week, but if anybody has been there and has any restaurant or sight-seeing tips, I'd appreciate them.
  2. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll Well-Known Member

    I was in Brussels for a couple of days last July... at the same time as the NATO summit. That made for some interesting sightseeing.

    There are a lot of embassies around, if you're into that kind of thing. The U.S. was the only one with any sort of obvious security (which got angry at me for taking a photo from across the street!)

    I also had a fabulous free walking tour through the Global Greeters Network. They're locals who enjoy their hometown and want to show it off. I also bought the Brussels Card, which is one price for a lot of museums -- and you can add transit too.

    There's a Smurfs museum if you're an '80s kid. Go see the Manneken Pis, a statue of a little boy peeing. He has a lot of costumes! Buy authentic Belgian chocolate (in discount stores!)

    Do you have enough time to take the train to Paris or Amsterdam? I've also heard good things about Bruges, though I didn't go.
    Inky_Wretch likes this.
  3. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    I might be able to squeeze in Bruges. Maybe. I think Amsterdam or Paris might be too much for a day trip. I don't land in Brussels until early afternoon on Monday, then I'll have Tuesday and Wednesday morning free - along with most evenings (unless clients request dinners, which I'm going to try to avoid).
  4. ChrisLong

    ChrisLong Well-Known Member

    Try the beer, best in the world.
    FileNotFound and Inky_Wretch like this.
  5. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    Skip the sprouts.
    HanSenSE, Moderator1 and Inky_Wretch like this.
  6. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    My research has revealed the bar with the Guinness World Record for number of draft beers available is two blocks from our hotel.

    Challenge accepted.
    ChrisLong and John B. Foster like this.
  7. GilGarrido

    GilGarrido Active Member

    Was there about ten years ago and spent some time on a rainy day in a toy museum that was pretty good if you're into that sort of thing. Was in the central part of town, but that's all I remember.
  8. typefitter

    typefitter Well-Known Member

    Brussels is one of those European capitals that doesn't have the sights of Paris or London, say, but it is a perfectly pleasant and pretty place through which to wander. Just soak it up. Get a paper bag of fries and mayonnaise and walk. And drink the beer.

    Bruges is absolutely worth seeing. It's impossibly gorgeous. But a warning—if you're going by yourself, it's so beautiful that it can feel lonely. I don't know if that makes sense, but Bruges is the loneliest I've ever felt in my life. I was on a work trip, like you, and decided to spend a free day there. Everywhere I looked, someone else was in love. I was married at the time, happily, and all was right in my world. I still found being in Bruges alone to be crushing. In fact, I plan to take my girlfriend there, even though both of us have been, to reclaim it. Because it's a spectacular place, and my memories of it are weirdly sad.*

    *Your mileage may vary. My brain is not an easy one to carry around inside my head.
  9. misterbc

    misterbc Active Member

    By all means ride the ‘hop on hop off’ busses, there are 2 routes and both worth the time. One does the south the other goes up to the Worlds Fair site. It’s a beautiful city, very underrated. There are great walks near the train station especially a huge park, can’t remember name, with lots of stairs but views and neighbourhoods to explore. There’s a musical instrument museum, too. The one bus route goes by the area including a great view of the EU buildings. The north bus goes through many neighbourhoods and you can see the changes in each depending on which nationality lives there. The WF site is beautiful. Lots of restaurants etc and a beautiful tram system. Always exhibitions happening everywhere. Chocolate shoppes on every block. Varied architectural sights, too.
    Brugge is post card perfect but can be seen in a few hours. If you have an interest then book a tour of WWI battlefields, which will include a museum, Ypres, Flanders Field, German and Allied cemeteries etc. Small busses hold about 8 people and have expert commentary. They pick you up near centre of town fairly early, it’s about 10 hours but the memories will last you the rest of your life.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
    Inky_Wretch likes this.
  10. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    A dear friend told me the same thing about Bruges. Gorgeous, but marred by being there solo.
  11. misterbc

    misterbc Active Member

    Also, if you care, take the train to Spa an absolute blast from the past and rich in history as a former and current place for people to visit spas. You can cab or catch a bus to Spa Francorchamps one of the two or 3 most famous auto race tracks in Europe. LeMans and Nurburgring being the other 2. Monaco as well but it isn’t a dedicated track. There is sports car racing or other events almost everyday and you can pay to have a driving tour of the track. Fantastic place.
    Inky_Wretch likes this.
  12. LanceyHoward

    LanceyHoward Well-Known Member

    I acknowledge that Bruges can be marred by being alone it is a short train ride. While there I took a tour of the nearby WWI battlefields and enjoyed them. I also at one point read a book of the battle of Waterloo by Berbard Cornwall that was very good (it made the Economist's ten best books of the year). The battlefield is in exurban Brussels. I really enjoyed the battlefield especially since I understood the significance of things like the farmhouse on the right flank (a very big deal in British military history).

    And I don't know if they offer these trips from Brussels but I visited the Ardennes, which was the site of the Battle of the Bulge. Literally every town has a museum but I enjoyed Bastogne museum, the battle where Patton cut out the a goup fo Americans who had been surrounded but were holding on (that is the unit where to commander, when the Germans requested surrender, responded "nuts".

    In Europe you can take cheap, reliable local trains that kick AmTrack's ass or you can spend a lot more and take the high speed trains. If you have the time I would spend the money and go to Ammsterdam or Paris.
    Inky_Wretch likes this.
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