Wanderlust Callin'

Belgium: Historic but still Hip!

So after having a huge debate inside my head and some good retrospection done on our Europe travel memories, I still could not decide which country to start on. Paris was undeniably topping my mind, but then Italy was also equally fascinating giving us memories enough to treasure a life-time and oh not to forget the scintillating Switzerland. So you ask me how I ended up with Belgium finally? Well, the oldest trick in the book- go in the alphabetical order πŸ˜›

We explored mainly Brussels, the capital of Belgium with grand boulevards and palaces galore. Speaking of palaces, Grand Place or Grote Markt, the central town square of Brussels surrounded by ornate gilded guild houses, the city town hall and the museum was quite magnificent and drop-dead gorgeous. ❀ It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered as one of Europe’s most beautiful squares.

 

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Grand Place or Grote MarketΒ 
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Just had to take one more with the flowers in the background πŸ˜€

Each and every architectural detail is taken care of so exquisitely and you really feel like staring at it for hours and hours. But soon enough you discover you cannot, as a delicious warm chocolaty scent wafts through the air and you find yourself drawn to the authentic Belgian chocolate shops nearby. Do make sure you pack an empty stomach for gorging on the world famous Belgian waffles and chocolate(all to be washed down with the country’s famed frothy beer.) πŸ˜‰

Every two years a flower carpet of the aromatic begonias of a rich palette, ranging from the most vivid colours to delicate pastel shades covers the Grand Place. Unfortunately, we missed that but if you have Brussels on your mind do plan it between August 12th and 16th this year. It is indeed an extraordinary spectacle and will not disappoint you in any way! πŸ™‚

Whether it is Brussels or Bangalore, if there is any chance of shopping anywhere I would smell it out. Ha! So I dragged my poor hubby to the Royal St. Hubert Galleries, which is the oldest shopping arcade in Europe! But you would never guess that from the appearance and of course their collection of luxury boutique shops πŸ˜‰ It is covered by an impressive arched glass-paned roof and looks as stunning as it was 150 years ago.

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We in the Royal St. Hubert Galleries πŸ™‚
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I seriously felt like buying the whole lot of it ❀ Gourmet chocolates!

Off we went to see the famous little peeing boy in Brussels πŸ˜€ Yes, I am talking about Mannekin Pis indeed πŸ™‚ Overrated or not , this is an attraction nonetheless and there are several legends associated with this little guy peeing his way to fame! One of them which I particularly liked is this one. Brussels was besieged and the attackers set up fire to burn the city before they left. Fortunately, a little boy who was walking down the street saw the burning wick. He did not know where to find water, so he decided to pee to put it out. When the Belgians heard about it they were overwhelmed with joy and erected a statue honoring his epic act. Oh and between he is dressed up in different attires daily and on the day we went, his dress matched my hubby’s perfectly πŸ˜€

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Close-up view of the little guy – Mannekin Pis.
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So funny that Vishnu’s dress is matching with the li’lΒ boy πŸ˜€ Haha !

While we are still talking about statues, I did not miss the chance to fondle the whiskers of the beloved mayor of Brussels, Charles Buls. The story goes he was behind the protection and maintenance of the beautiful old buildings of the Grand Place. The statue adorns the cobblestone city square and the place is lively with a lot of street artists performing and ample opportunities to buy souvenirs or chocolates or any Belgian specialty. It is also pretty close by to the famous Rue des Bouchers (Butchers’ Street), which is Brussel’s restaurant row, a pedestrianized cobbled street lined with a multitude of restaurants, bars and cafes housed in 17th-century step-gabled buildings.

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Charles Buls would not terribly mind me enjoying his smooth stubble. Will he? πŸ˜€
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Rues des Bouchers

Our next destination was the iconic symbol of the town, an ode to scientific progress, an elementary iron crystal enlarged 165 billion times- the Atomium in Brussels. You can actually visit each of the spheres, and there are various exhibitions hosted there devoted to architecture, design and society.

 

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The magnificent Atomium!

 

 

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Those lovely flowers and Atomium in the background was a perfect photo-spot ❀

 

I had seen the picture of this architectural marvel in one of my Science textbooks when I was in 6th or 7th grade and since then it was always there in the back of my mind to see this for real! And now the wish has come true. πŸ™‚ My man loves taking perspective photography (where you seem like eating the sun or pushing the leaning tower of pisa, that kind of photos πŸ™‚ ) and we had a ball experimenting that with the atomium πŸ˜›

 

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Look I am holding the Atomium !! πŸ˜‰

 

 

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Got confident, so holding it with one hand 😎

 

With that, we bid farewell to this charming city with countless castles to quaint cobbled streets, innovative art museums to indulging eateries. It was a rainy day and Belgium was a last minute addition to our itinerary so we could cover only a tiny portion of its awesomeness. With over a 1000 breweries, chocolates that rival the Swiss, and frites which are more than just fries, Belgium has quite some culinary aces up its sleeve. You name it, Belgium has it – history, architecture, art, shopping, fun, food, the list goes on.

I fell totally in love with the Grand Place and my vote would go for the aesthetic architectural appeal of Belgium and oh not to forget the lip-smacking frites πŸ™‚ Is Belgium in your bucket-list ? What is it that makes you love Belgium ? ❀

P.S.- The recent attack on Brussels has left me and countless people in the world distraught. It is so heartbreaking to hear about the terrorist attacks across the beautiful cities in the world quite often. Hope the city recovers soon enough and let the Lord give courage to the frightened, the bruised and the grieving to come out of the aftermath.

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37 thoughts on “Belgium: Historic but still Hip!

    1. Glad you liked it. πŸ™‚ I am sure your husband must know a thing or two more about the city. You know after visiting Europe I almost wanted to lead the rest of my life there πŸ˜› (just confused about the city still :P. Feel like renting an apartment in all of our fav cities and do city hopping) And here you are married to an Italian πŸ˜‰

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    1. I am glad our thoughts on the same wavelength but please do not thank me for the tribute πŸ™‚ As a citizen of the world and human at heart, I feel I am bound to do this. Brussels is such a beautiful city and so are many cities across the world and when you hear something disheartening happening to these cities, I feel we must do what we can in our own little ways. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you Dajena dearie πŸ™‚ I am so glad you stopped by and let me know your thoughts πŸ™‚ I saw that you are from Albania in your about me πŸ™‚ Do you still live there ? I so adore Europe. Visited only 8 countries, but I loved each and every one of them so much and I so much envy the Europeans who live there and have all the time in their life to do the city hopping they want ❀

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      1. Love your enthusiasm! Yes I miss it too. It is not the same being here and not being able to travel as often with two kiddies.. πŸ™‚ I live in the states, in San Diego now.

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      2. Ahh! San Diego, part of the golden coast ❀️ I hope to visit some time this year 😊 Yes, I believe it is difficult to travel wide with kids but then, even a visit to a local attraction becomes much more fun when they are around I guess ❀️

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  1. What a beautiful post Minaxi, looks as though you and your husband had a wonderful time. The chocolates look divine. Made me want to be there. On a more sombre note it was tragic recently in this lovely city and I pray they recover.

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    1. Thank you Miriam for stopping by. As usual it makes my day special when I see you by my blog πŸ™‚ We did have a great time πŸ™‚ And yes, their chocolates and frites are so yummy. Hope you get to taste them sometime ❀
      The attacks on the city is unpardonable indeed.I hope the people behind these condemned attacks are put to task soon. But sadly, if one is caught another three seem to sprout out of nowhere 😦

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      1. I know what you mean Minaxi, unfortunately it seems as those these people have infiltrated all parts of the world. But we have to keep positive and hope and focus on the good. Like your posts, which are always so lovely and full of happiness and joy. Keep it up. πŸ™‚

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  2. Belgium is awesome. I remember Brussels very well and walking around for hours in Grand Palace. I remember smelling something incredible from a distance and I followed my nose. I ended up at a waffle stand. best waffles ever! πŸ˜€

    Looks like you have a great time there. It is truly sad how the place is now given the recent events…:(

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      1. It is the same for me too, every time i order french fries i internally go like”belgiannn friesss i misss you” my friends are now like if you’re gonna complain about the fries don’t you dare order them πŸ˜›

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