A Travellerspoint blog

If it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium

overcast 8 °C

It takes exactly two hours to scoot from the centre of London to the heart of Europe on a Eurostar high speed train through the Channel Tunnel, so we had lunch in London and dinner in Brussels, the administrative centre of the European Union. The kingdom of Belgian was in the past one of the world’s great colonial powers and its previous glory can still be seen in its grand plazas and opulent architecture…
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The enormous gothic buildings surrounding the Grand Plaza in Brussels were built at the end of the seventeenth century to replace the earlier wooden ones that Louis XIV’s French army destroyed. Many of the city’s wide boulevards and winding cobblestone streets date from the seventeen hundreds, though many have earlier roots. Also dating back in time are the artistic skills which has made this nation the centre of lace and tapestry making for centuries. This Brussels tapestry dates from the mid fifteen hundreds…
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But we are not just here for the history and the architecture – we are here for the beer…
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Belgian beer is world renowned and here there are more than 1,500 different labels on offer. An arctic chill has swept over northern Europe so we need no excuse to sit in a warm bar and try as many beers as we can…
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This is the most iconic Belgian beer. It has been made by Trappist monks in Westmalle Monastery for more than 200 years and is strong enough to knock over a donkey. But Brussels isn’t just famous for its beer. There are the cones of sizzling French Fries, (or should they be called Belgian Fries?), smothered in creamy mayonnaise – no Yankee ketchup here…
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And there are delicious fresh waffles piled high with all manner of decadent toppings…
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Although there are waffle-makers on almost every corner in Brussels they can’t compete with the sheer number of chocolatiers...
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All these old tools are actually edible confectionary…
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Brussels is a chocoholics nirvana, with shop-loads of sweet temptations every few metres.
However, by the time we had waded through buckets of beer and a ton of chips and waffles, we could only manage a little chocolate – but there is always tomorrow.

No matter the weather, every visitor to Brussels has to visit its most famous symbol – an icon of such stature that it appears on every tourist guide and piece of city literature. It is such a revered emblem of Brussels that it can be compared to the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. It is, of course, the mannequin a pis…
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Yes – it is a small statue of a young boy taking a pee. And it is small; so small that most first timers say, “Really - Is that it?” Yes – that is it; just 18 inches tall; stuck in the corner of a backstreet. And no one really knows why it’s there – maybe it was just a clever marketing gimmick by the waffle shop across the road that got out of hand.

Posted by Hawkson 10:09 Archived in Belgium

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Comments

So glad to see your travels are not just about antiquities. Hope you remember your exploration of beer and chocolates, both intoxicating.

Love the "folk art".

by Sue Fitzwilson

Yum - fries with mayo! AND chocolate for dessert - lucky you. Have a feed for me.

by joyce

Fries, chocolate and beer. All the essential food groups. Who could ask for more? Sorry about the cold snap. Glad that pis is sort of dressed for it.

by Tom

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