A September 2002 trip
to Brussels by UK Flower Girl
Quote: We travelled from Central London to Brussels on the Eurostar, which takes you through the Channel Tunnel. We spent two and a half days taking in what we could in this compact capital.
Here are some of the best things to see
If you don’t need to take a journey on the metro, go down into some of the stations as they double as art museums. We could have spent half a day just browsing the art in the Metro stops.
We were lucky enough to stay in this beautiful four-star hotel that had just been renovated--and it showed. Renaissance moved into the building in 2001. It was modern and luxurious in all aspects. It is located in the Quartier Leopold near the European Parliament and the Palais Royale and only a few minutes from the nearest subway stop--Troon. It was, in fact, the first luxury hotel to be located near the European Parliament.
Our room was very tastefully decorated and it was spacious and spotless. The bathroom was spacious and clean and the towels were fluffy (always a bonus with me!) The room also had all of those extra amenities such as trouser press, ironing board, hairdryer, working desk, etc.
Once again, we purchased this room using Priceline.com for just under $100 -- I think the average rate is about 200 euros per night.
We were very comfortable in this hotel and room. We had a street view which wasn't too bad considering there wasn't much of a view from anywhere in the hotel. It is in a convenient location being close to a Metro line. It is also very close to those of you who need to attend the European Parliament!
I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone who visits Brussels for its quiet and very convenient location. It is really a beautiful hotel and well worth the money spent.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 3, 2004
Renaissance Brussels Hotel
RUE DU PARNASSE 19
32 2 505 2929
The best place to find a great restaurant is out of the main square, the Grand Place. It is very tempting to sit in the main square to eat because there are so many people around and it just looks like something you need to do. It is less expensive to go elsewhere.
There are several very narrow side streets that branch off of this main square. Owners will stand outside and coax you into their restaurants. Try something new. Brussels is famous for its mussels. You will see big pots of steamed mussels everywhere you go in this city. I never did have the guts to try them, which is something I regret to this day. You will find a wide variety of places and things to eat. One thing I might recommend is a fruits de mer pizza. Basically, it is a pizza with different kinds of seafood on it. I had it two nights in a row it was so wonderful.
Another suggestion for something you must have when you are in Belgium is Belgian chips with mayonnaise and a Belgian waffle with chocolate. You will find vendors all over selling these popular treats.
Beer is a hot topic in Belgium. You will find some of the world's finest and oldest beers in this country. Beers were traditionally made by monks. There are beer museums you can visit to see the art of beer. You will see signs everywhere boasting Jupiler, Duvel, Stella Artois, and Leffe, which are just a few of the more popular Belgian beers. Be sure to take up a chair in one of the sidewalk cafes and enjoy a few of the nations finest.
Chocolate is another thing that comes to mind when you think of Belgium. Who can resist some fine Belgian chocolate? You will find many chocolate stores tucked away in this city. Shop around, too, because we found that prices vary for the same items depending on where you are. I suggest trying the pralines and chocolate-covered orange peels.
Food, drink and snacks are very diverse in Brussels. You WILL NOT go away hungry or disappointed. Be brave; try something new and different. I'm sure I missed out on plenty of things that I didn't even mention here, as there's just too much to try in only a few days. A person can only eat and drink so much!!
The Atomium isn't in the centre of town, you have to take the Metro outside of the main part of the city to see this amazing giant Iron molecule--it is on the northern outskirts of the city. It was built for the International Exhibition of Brussels in 1958 by André Waterkeyn. It has nine large spheres with tubes linking the nine spheres and stands 102 meters (about 334 feet) in height. There are escalators inside the tubes that take you to the different exhibits housed inside the spheres.
There's tons of information about the Atomium and its history with pictures, information about EXPO 58 (a.k.a. The Brussels World Fair) at its official website. Find this at Atomium's Website.
We arrived by Metro and once we were out in the open, we found it to be much larger that we had imagined it would be. We purchased our tickets and waited our turn to go up into the exhibition halls. (There was some cheesy man dressed up as a cheetah or something -- we really couldn't figure out what it was -- that you could have your picture taken with while you were waiting to go up. NO THANKS, WE'LL PASS!) You could purchase tickets for other local features such as the IMAX theatre next door or Mini-Europe (I'll explain this in a minute). It was 6 euros each to get into only the Atomium.
You will find a permanent display of items found back in the ‘50s--during the time the Atomium was built. The other displays are rotating exhibitions. It was like stepping back in time visiting the ‘50s exhibition. I was born in 1974 so I can't say it was first-hand knowledge of the way things used to be. You could find fine examples of furniture and games, toys, and articles of history from that time.
We didn't go into Mini-Europe, but we had a great view from inside the Atomium. It is essentially a park where all of the famous sites of Europe are scaled down so you can walk among them. You will find such things as the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben (St Stephens's Tower), the Berlin Wall, among many, many more. It has quickly become a very popular tourist attraction in Brussels.
If you have children or just some extra time to kill, I would recommend you venture out here (Take Metro 1A, the yellow line, in the direction of Heyzel). Otherwise, I would recommend just seeing some of the other major sights within Brussels as we didn't find it to be all that exciting for the time it took to go out to see it.
UK Flower Girl