Belgium Journals

Briefly Belgium

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A May 2009 trip to Belgium by tvordj

Belgian beer! Photo, Brussels, Belgium More Photos
Quote: After Amsterdam, we spent a couple of nights in Brussels, just to get a taste of Belgium, figuratively and literally. A little bit of Brussels and a little bit of Bruges.

A Taste of Brussels

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Story/Tip

Guildhouses in Gran'Place, Brussels Photo, Brussels, Belgium
Quote:
We arrived in Brussels on the train from Amsterdam on Wednesday night at Central station. We weren't sure where to go and as it was an unfamiliar city, we decided to go to the taxi queue. It was rush hour and we weren't sure but it seemed like the taxi driver took us a long way around but what can you do? Now that we are familiar with the immediate area, we know we could walk in about 15 or 20 minutes but when things aren't all that straight forward, taxis are the easiest. The driver was very congenial and chatted to us about things to do and see in the city as well. We checked into the Ibis St. Catherine. The check in person was a bit off putting, i found, maybe there was some communicati...Read More

Day Trip to Bruges

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Story/Tip

Quiet canal cafe behind an inside shopping arcade Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
It's about an hour by train from Brussels to Bruges from Central station. The weather is overcast but not really cold and later on it was really nice. At the train station, we bought all day bus tickets and rode into the city centre. It's a bit congested by the station but there's a park like setting to one side and it probably isn't too far a walk. Also near the station it looked like there was a fair set up with a large observation wheel. Anyway. We went into the centre, got off one stop too soon but that was ok. We walked along a busy street looking in shops. We arrived in the main square, the Grote Markt i.e. Market Square with its tall belfry tower on one end, a law court building and...Read More

Prestige Brugge

Restaurant | "Prestigious Chocolates, Cakes and Coffee"

Prestige Brugge Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
As we were walking through the streets of Bruges, looking for chocolate shops, we passed one window with a very elegant and tempting display. The name of the shop was Prestige. We went inside to see what the prices were like and discovered it is also a patisserie with tempting cakes and pastries! Oh wow! They also have a little cafe/tea room in the back which is very elegantly decorated. We didn't buy any chocolates but picked out a cake and sat down with a hot brew and enjoyed the decadence. The little cafe does serve very light lunches but the attraction really is the sweets. It wasn't really that cheap but not scandalously expensive either and boy, is it definitely worth a treat! It's a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Prestige Brugge
Vlamingstraat, 12-14
Bruges, Belgium 8000
+32 50 34 31 67

Matinee Restaurant and Tearoom

Restaurant | "Canalside Restaurant in Bruges"

Matinee Restaurant and Tearoom Photo, Bruges, Belgium
Quote:
There are a lot of restaurants in Bruges that focus on seafood and a lot of the restaurants are quite posh and fancy. We wanted a restaurant where we'd feel comfortable and which had a menu that had some good food but nothing too gourmet. We finally found Matinee on the side of the canal just behind the Market Square. Apparently it's a family run place which always seems to make for a nice atmosphere and indeed, this had it. It's bright and a good size. Tables and also banquette tables along the side. There are two levels with small outdoor seating areas both in the front and in the back amid a garden setting. There was even a songbird chirping from the back of the restaurant. The menu had...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 24, 2009

Matinee Restaurant and Tearoom
Rozenhoedkaai 5
Bruges, Belgium
32 50 33 97 82

The End of Brussels for Us

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Story/Tip

Basilica of Sacred Heart Photo, Brussels, Belgium
Quote:
When we arrived back from Bruges, still tired and our feet aching, we trudged down the hill from Central Station through the narrow streets, looking in some of the shops. We stopped in one so i could buy some souvenir presents for people. Graham decided that since the Mannekin Pis was the most famous symbol of Brussels, he wanted to see it. I did tell him it's a lot smaller than he'll expect but he wanted to see it anyway. We ended up walking a long way around to find it, when it was actually just a couple of blocks from the Grand Place. Oh well! There it is and luckily the crowds around it weren't too thick. Graham took one look and said "Is that it?" Well yes, i did say it wasn't much. T...Read More

Musical Instrument Museum

Attraction | "Marvellous Musical Tour Through History"

Musical Instrument Museum Photo, Brussels, Belgium
Quote:
My partner is a musician and we both love music and history. What better museum than to see musical instruments from years past and many different cultures? We found this museum one of the best and most fun! There are three levels of exhibits, instruments of all kinds and you get a headset that kicks in and plays the music and sounds of many of the instruments on display as you near the cases. Probably works by infared signals.The first level has folk type instruments from all over the world. Another level focuses on strings and there are also keyboards and brass/horn/reed instruments. Most are behind glass and some of the larger pieces are out on display. There are lovely painted pianos a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 23, 2009

Musical Instrument Museum
Hofberg 2 Montagne de la Cour
Brussels, Belgium
+32 2 545 01 30

Ibis Brussels Centre

Hotel | "Decent Location in Centre Brussels"

Ibis Brussels Centre Photo, Brussels, Belgium
Quote:
We thought an Ibis would be a fairly good value for central Brussels, nothing fancy but would have everything we needed including a lift and ensuite facilities. Some hotels might be a little cheaper but plenty were more expensive too. It was a bit pricier than we usually pay but not too bad considering it was a pretty decent location, walking distance from many of the attractions and the Central Station.We took a taxi from Central station because we were a bit unsure where to go at first. But to find it, you can just exit the station and walk downhill. Once you come to the Grand Place square, exit out the opposite side by the Bourse Bruxelles museum. Cross over and walk down the street jus...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 23, 2009

Ibis Brussels Centre
Rue Joseph Plateau N°2
Brussels
+32 2 5137620

Le Grand Cafe

Restaurant | "Tourist Restaurant with Good Food"

Le Grand Cafe Photo, Brussels, Belgium
Quote:
City centre Brussels has lots of choice for restaurants. We were still unfamiliar with the area on our first night in Brussels. We walked a bit along The Bourse to find a restaurant and this one was on the corner, across from the Bruxelles museum and near the entrance lane to the Grand Place. As a result, I'm sure it gets a lot of tourist traffic and probably groups. The restaurant is a good size, bright and airy with lots of windows and and outdoor terrace for nice weather. I'm not sure the terrace would be all that comfortable as it's on a busy main street and the noise and smell from the traffic would probably be intrusive. Inside, there are two levels and the wait staff are brisk, efficient and fr...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 23, 2009

Le Grand Cafe
Boulevard Anspach 78
Brussels
+31 2 513 0203

Hong Kong Delight

Restaurant | "Unexpectedly Good Chinese in Brussels"

Quote:
On night two in Brussels, we had returned from a long day in Bruges, tired and footsore. We went out for a late dinner and walked around Place St. Catherine but all the restaurants seemed to focus on seafood. We didn't realize at the time but this area specializes and was a fish market in the past. I don't mind but my partner isn't keen on seafood so we had trouble deciding where to eat. We also noticed that a lot of the restaurants were expensive or fancier than we were comfortable with. Being tired, we didn't really want to wander too far afield in an unfamiliar city/neighbourhood. We walked a little further up St. Catherine street where we'd seen a few Chinese restaurant signs when we were passing ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 23, 2009

Hong Kong Delight
Rue St. Catherine 35
Brussels
+31 2 502-2780