Whew, made it…final post for 2014! Ito and I spent the final leg of our trip, and celebrated my birthday, in Brussels before flying back home to Manila. We stayed in a beautiful 190-year old art nouveau townhouse, in the stylish artist’s district Dansaert, a cobbled area filled with chic restaurants, trendy bars, artists’ shops, and just a short walking distance from the Old Town.
Strolling around Brussels, I couldn’t help but remember my all-time favorite childhood hero, Tintin with his faithful dog Snowy 🙂 So much of the Old Town seemed vaguely familiar from the illustrations I knew by heart, and much of the street art around Brussels is obviously inspired by Hergé’s style as well. Of course, a visit to Brussels wouldn’t be complete without indulging in its rich, decadent chocolate which we had as my second birthday breakfast at the Salon de Chocolat in the beautiful Galerie de la Reine, as well as the most mouthwatering waffles in Maison Dandoy later in the day.
From the stunning Grand Place with its gilded edifices boasting chocolate shops in nearly every corner, to the winding alleys filled with the delicious scents of freshly-made waffles in the Old Town, to the fresh seafood on display in many of the restaurants & bistros in our area near Sainte-Catherine, food was never far from our mind as we explored the city (brussel sprouts notwithstanding). We tried the local favorite, moules et frites (mussels and fries) washed down with some Belgian beer, as well as catch-of-the-day seafood specials of lobster and sea bass with some sparkling wine. It’s a good thing there were as many things that we could feast our eyes on, without the added calories!
Flowers bloomed at the Grand Place, the resplendent centuries old market square in the center of Brussels
Alleyways filled with the scent of freshly made waffles
Birthday breakfast that started with an orange pressé in the well-appointed art nouveau breakfast room
The ornate, glazed 19th-century shopping arcade, Galerie Royales Saint-Hubert
Pretty cafés lined the Galerie de la Reine, or Queen’s Gallery
Got our chocolate fix (and second breakfast) after we walked around the square
Rich, dark and silky-smooth, just the way I like it 🙂
Street art depicted the street that it was located on–clever!
Walked around and reminisced about my favorite childhood comic
Seafood galore in the market square that fronted Sainte-Catherine’s church
Celebrating with some delicious off-the-menu seafood specials at a chic little restaurant in the artsy Dansaert district
The stunning Hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles was a sight to behold at night
The Grand Place was all lit up and bustled with activity
Even the metro stations displayed different styles of artwork–this one was lined with large format photographs
Ended our trip with a visit to the unique Atomium, created by the architect André Waterkeyn in 1958
*Photos by Ito