Brussels: The Heart of the European Union

Trip Start Aug 22, 2010
Trip End Dec 23, 2010

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Flag of Belgium  ,
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I am very glad we got to make this trip. My traveling group did not know much about this city, and were very hesitant at first about including in the itinerary. Our main objective was Amsterdam, it just turned out that it was going to cost the same if we took a plane to Brussels, and from there a train to Amsterdam. And here is what we learned: the Benelux region (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) is very small and traveling within those countries is very simple. For that reason, a train from Brussels to Amsterdam was only about 20 Euros. So we asked ourselves: why not visit both while at it?

And you know something? It was one of the best decisions we could have made. Brussels is a city with a very interesting history, and lots of interesting sites. From the royal palace where Napoleon and Leopold I used to reside to the modern Atomium of the World Fair of 1958. Brussels is a city which bring together the might of the European Union as well as the majesty from past kingdoms. It is a city that completely blew our mind with its Gothic architecture, its beer and its food. Because yess, the waffles there a champion. Definitely recommend to go to the Mannekin Pis to have a good Belgian lager with a Strawberry Nutella waffle. And here is another tip: French fried were actually invented in this city, so going to a fry stand is something I would not let pass.

In order to enjoy this city, you either have two options. You can plan your own itinerary, and make use of the efficient public transport to find yourself around, or you can do what we did given our very tight time constraint. We took one of those red tour buses that made a stop at every main site of the city. Its around 18 Euros, which some of you can think its very pricey, but considering that in one day you can visit all of Brussels outstanding landmarks, and at the same time, having an audio guide telling you about the history of each? For me my friends, that is just priceless! The Arc de Triomphe, the Grand Place, and its various parks made our visit a very unique one.

Brussels is host to the European Commission and Parliament. It is a big center for European as well as International Affairs, and a lot of events go down in this city. You can feel the importance that this city has when you look at all of buildings and organization that are situate din the city.

And for my random facts section! Never have I ever seen a city with so many Kebab restaurants. Also, lemme repeat, you HAVE to try a beer there. I drank a Honey Leffe which got me light headed after finishing it (beer is 10 percent and I was on a light stomach, so don't judge!) For hotels, find place near the Grand Place. It is the main plaza of the city full of bars and restaurants. It is also the hub to access other parts of city! Mann, overall, I am just glad I went there!
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