When I landed in Brussels a couple of days ago, the resident manager of the Citadines Toison D Or told me, ” Brussels is a city where you must relax. ” And I completely agreed.
As a tourist there are so many must dos in Brussels – the Grand Place, the Royal Palace, Manneken Piss , the Grand Palace of Justice, Mini Europe, Atomium, EU Parliament to name a few. And then there are museums and squares to visit besides of course chocolates and beers . But if you are like me with just three days on hand and a weekend to boot, then I would recommend these five of my favourite experiences in the city.
Antique market at Sablon
Every weekend, there is an antique market that opens up at Sablon..and guess what, it is just ten minutes from the residence where I am staying. I was there all of this morning,roaming around the stalls and talking to the dealers. There were paintings, tiles, books, records, porcelain wares, jewellery. It was just a kaleidescope of colours. I was particularly fascinated by some figurines of warriors which were hand made apparently. Some of the chandeliers and candle stands looked so medieval. I finally gave in to some temptation and bought a pair of owls. I was told that there is a flea market as well which is more colourful and lively and i hope to get there tomorrow..if not, the next time..
Comic strip museum
There are several museums here – history, arts, culture, music, chocolates, beer..but my favourite remains the Comic strip art museum. I had written an entire post here on how comic arts are a part of Brussels. Walls of streets and hotels have comic art strips on them. The museum describes the history of comic arts, techniques used in them and has a section on some of the famous artists from Belgium, Herges and his creation Tintin being one of them. I was also fascinated by another section where every part of Brussels was depicted in some comic strip or the other.
Have some beer with puppets
Once you are done admiring the Grand Place, take a tour into the lanes and you will discover the Royal Theatre Toone. There is an ancient marionatte theatre, here with wooden benches and a small gallery which also serves as a pub and cafe. The . Most of these are in the local dialect and they narrate tales of legendary warriors but the place is so quaint that even if you dont understand the story, its worth a watch.
Get your hands groovy with chocolate
There is an aroma of chocolate the moment you enter the streets of Brussels. Every street is filled with chocolatiers..some still make hand made chocolates while others, the big retailers get them made in a factory outside the tour. I decided to attend a chocolate class just to get my hands groovy with chocolates. And the good guys at Citadines signed me up at Zaabar, a great place where the hostess Nikki made us create truffles and chocolates..and must say, she was quite good with a great sense of humour.
Try the local beers
Belgium I hear is home to hundreds of beer and if you have not tasted the local beer then you have not had the taste of Belgium at all. You can visit the traditional bars here or go on an organised brewery tour which will take you outside the city as well or like me, just sit and do some beer tasting. I tried a Lambic blend, a dark beer at Brugges but it is Trappist, made by the Abbeys of Belgium that is considered very strong. Belgium is also very famous for its fruit beers and I had one of that too..Next time, I would probably visit the breweries in and around Brussels to get high on beer..
What would you like to add to the list ? Anything offbeat and interesting..tomorrow is my last day in the city and I hope to explore more..but then In Brussels, you just got to chill and take life easy.
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