9.01.2011

France! Day 35: Brussels

08.06.11

Here we are in Brussels, Belgium! :D After being dropped off, we had a little under 2 hours to walk around and check out the little shops. 
Small Belgium flags hanging everywhere!




There were a lot of people browsing, strolling the through the maze of side streets. As we walk through this one street, we see all these flags strung up from different countries. Of course I start looking for the Canadian flag. It’s not there! :( Unsurprisingly, the flags are only from European countries. 
 





We see a lot of shops from where an absolutely intoxicating smell wafted. What am I talking about? Why waffles of course! :D The Belgians are very well-known for their waffles so I knew I had to try one.


<-- I must say, very attractive & effective signage! And to the left you see the rather typical huge plastic jars of Nutella sitting on the shelves. And below, samples of all the available waffle variations. 







Goodie my parents are so down for it! Unfortunately, we just had lunch so we weren’t hungry at all. Instead of going all out and getting chocolate-drizzled, fruit & ice cream-topped waffles, we got a plain, regular, not even sugar-dusted waffle. 


My parents don’t have much of a sweet tooth hence the regular waffle. And what better way to try something new than to try it undressed?! :D It was fresh, hot, and near perfect! The waffle was so crunchy but still soft in the center. I wouldn’t mind trying an over-the-top one now!


We then ventured into a familiar store, Leonidas. They specialize in selling fresh Belgian chocolates and have locations all over the world, Canada included! :D It seems like they’ve expanded into selling macarons and other confections too. My dad bought 11 chocolate bars from them…crazy man haha But I’m sure his coworkers will appreciate his thoughtfulness. :)


I turn around in the little shop and I see gelato. Yes?! And it’s only 1€ so you can’t really go wrong with that. I highly doubt they make their own in-store gelato but I’m not going to be picky with a price like that. 


We decided to try a scoop of cappuccino gelato. Mmm! It was creamy and light. Nothing overly special but it was very enjoyable. 


Okay so we’ve got 2 out of 3 Belgium specialties covered: waffles & chocolate. So what’s the last one? 


Beer!! This shop boasts a wide selection—250 beers to be exact. Now I wouldn’t doubt that since I’m not going to go around counting everything because believe me, there were a lot of bottles! I’m not a huge drinker so I’ve got no clue what’s good or bad. I do have a friend who’s a beer enthusiast so I picked up a bottle of Trappist Rochefort 8 for him. <-- he said it was good so mission accomplished! :D


I was a little sad that we couldn’t sit at a brasserie to enjoy some beer and light munchies. There wasn’t enough time for that so we could only pass by. There were some really cool glasses in which they serve certain kinds of beers so it was too bad that we missed out! 


Here is the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. It’s a pretty famous shopping strip. Its two major sections are named Galerie du Roi (King’s Gallery) and Galerie de la Reine (Queen’s Gallery). There are outdoor cafés and luxury stores that call these galleries home. 
Beautiful galleries built in the 19th century!


You’ll find a lot of chocolatiers as well. 
La Belgique Gourmande: Home to both fancy schmancy & quirky cute chocolates!


Chocolates here aren’t only sold individually in fancy boxes. I found some chocolate packaged with childrens’ themes! They are absolutely adorable and I bet they hold some delicious chocolate inside too! Tintin is the French part of my childhood in one word. Le Chat (a beloved and popular French cartoon) is there too. 


Lastly, here we’ve got the Atomium. It’s a monument built for Expo ’58. It forms a unit cell of an iron crystal, but exponentially magnified. Can you believe that inside the spheres are exhibit halls?! Cool!


Although my parents and I only spent a day in Brussels, we still had a blast! I’d return in a heartbeat because we haven’t really explored the city. Plus, my friends’ landlord in Paris recommended one restaurant by the marina where they serve amazing cod. I believe that just might be the perfect excuse to return! :D

2 comments:

  1. Delightful post! I absolutely love the waffles and the huge jars of nutella!! and that each brand of beer has its own specific set glasses for the types of beer they produce -- I even heard from somewhere that a special glass was made to mark some event in the country -- crazy, but necessary! when you go next time...go in early April -- when the country goes absolutely nuts for the ronde van vlaanderen...as if they aren't crazy about their *national sport* during the other months out of the year.

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