Staying at home is a no-go. This rule also applies in good old Europe. And what better place to start than in Brussels, the heart of the European Union (spoiler alert: we did not visit the European Quarter).
Brussels is a ca. 2.5h train ride from our new home in Bonn. Home of Belgian Chocolate, Waffels, Fries, Beer and plenty of other things that will eventually force to buy a wheelbarrow to carry your belly around.
Day 1 (13.01.)
We stayed at MotelOne, which is about 15min by foot away from Brussels Noord Railway station. The hotel was nice, but a bit away from the action (the downtown Ibis looked pretty nice).
After a quick and ok breakfast at Pauls, we started our sightseeing with the Kathedrale St. Michael and St. Gudula, whose twin towers overlook the lower town.
Next stop is the Comic Museum. After all, this is Herges hometown. Most interesting are the concept sketches, which show the evolution from first idea to final print.
In the afternoon, we visit the beautiful Grand Place and Galleries and explore the small streets around. Of course, we buy chocolate and visit the chocolate museum.
The Manneken Pis may be Brussels’ strangest statue; except for its many chocolate replica.
As I have some work to do (first project week, so weekend work is a good start), we take a break at the Mariott bar. After work well (?) done, we reward ourselves with a dinner at T Kelderke at Grand Place. Food is decent but not great. We sit by the fire and get some heat back into our cold bones.
We end the night in a Jazz bar around the corner.
Day 2 (14.01.)
We sleep in, check out and search for a breakfast place. The latter turns into a mission impossible as the good places are either closed (Sundays, for the winter or permanently), or are crowded (either actually crowded, or – one place in particular- half empty but the overworked waitress kept telling us that there is not one seat free). We finally manage to eat something and check out the royal quarter. The Royal Palais looks massive from the outside.
The Magritte Museum opposite on Royal Place is nice.
After Magritte, we take the subway north to visit the Atomium. The Atomium was built for the World Fair in 1958 but never dismantled. It resembles a crystal lattice structure. Its highes sphere reaches over 100m. The elevator takes us to the observation deck from where we have a nice view over Brussels. Then, we can walk through some of the spheres and pipes to explore the structure.
On our way to the train station we stop at Sacre Coeur, one of the worlds largest churches with an architectural mix of art deco and a bomb shelter.
From Brussels Midi, we take the ICE back home.