The capital of Europe

Brussels, Belgium – 11th April 2009

I wake up fairly early. With no hangover. Ah good old european beer. Not giving you a hangover. Love it.

I try to get to Brussels as quick as possible. To try and tee up some sort of accomodation, as this was the one night I was unable to secure any sort of accom. Oh well. If worst comes to worse I will sleep in the train station. Woo.

For those ill-informed. Brussels is the Capital of Europe. Yep, you read correctly. It is the base for the European Union or the EU and all the important decisions they make are made here. You would think they’d choose a better city, but I guess the anonymity of this city is also good.

The train to Brussels only took about 30 minutes. As is the norm in Belgium. Nothing is far away.

I secure my bag in a luggage locker at the station, then head into town. I make my way to the tourist office to get a good map a use-it map. Its in the Grand Place – the big square in Brussels.

First impressions walking down to the main square was “ugh some of these buldings are fairly delipidated.” Though the Grand Place sorted that out pretty easily. It is a magnificant square that surely is ‘grand’ in all aspects. I go to the tourist office and grab a map – upon looking at it, the company ‘use-it’ have a store with free net access.

So I go there to try to find a place to stay for the night. As my only other options are sleep at the station or find a cheap hotel. On arrival, the two guys and girls at the tourist office were very helpful. Despite all of the computers being used they offered myself waffles and coffee. For free. Woo.

Whilst I was waiting, they asked me what I needed to use the net for. And I said I needed to find accom as I couldnt find any anywhere. They suggested couchsurfing. Which I said ‘I tried, so far no good’. One of the guys, Bart, was kind enough to offer myself a place to crash at his. So I agree and we’ll meet up later.

I stumble down a few alleyways, to Deliriuml ( a bar with 250 types of beer). But its only early and I have the night to drink. But across from the bar is the real attraction. In Brussels the most famed statue is of a Little boy peeing called the “Mannekin Pis”. Here, outside of delirum, is one of the opposing gender doing the same thing. Classy I tell ya.

I walk down the road, to a spot that has free views of Brussels. Its a parking lot. But hey, its free. And the views are pretty good too. I can see as far north as the Atomium (a massive size atom).

I go down and walk to this church. Nothing fancy you know. But the best thing about this church is that to stop people urinating in the streets of Brussels, they put a urinal up against the side of a church. Actually pissing onto the stone of the church. Random.

I curiously wander around the place. Going down side alleys and back streets. I run into a statue of a dog pissing. Before find the Mannekin Pis.

I stumble on a few awesome record stores as well. Pretty happy I don’t have room for vinyl otherwise I would of stocked up. There was even a store that had Mister Zimmerman on the outside.

I forgot to mention, everywhere in Brussels, blank walls have been filled in with Cartoon Sketches. Its a cool way to beautify a somewhat drab city.

I grab my bag from the station, and jump on a bus to meet Bart. Though I get it going the wrong direction. Whoops. And I end up getting there late. Bart has to go to a meeting. So he gives me his keys and says to make myself at home.

I have a quick shower, then head off into Brussels for night time exploration. After having a few beers at Delirium, I get a really healthy meal of a baguette stuffed with sausage meat and fries with ketchup and mayo on top. Healthy! I go to a place where everyone seems to congregate and drink on the steps of an important building fo some kind.

I am amazed at the contradictions of this city. One minute amazing street art and gorgeous buildings. The next, you have buildings that you expect to see in Eastern Europe or Russia. Weird.

This entry was published on August 22, 2009 at 4:46 pm. It’s filed under Backpacking, Belgium, Brussels, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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