Visiting Belgium Brussels
This was my first trip to Belgium, and I'm sure it won't be my last. One of the must-do things when you arrive in Belgium is to take a walk around the Grand Place, which is the central square of Brussels. The Grand Place is surrounded by beautiful gilded historic buildings, some of which date back as far as the 12th century. It is one of the most significant landmarks in Belgium and attracts thousands of tourists every year. We were thrilled to visit Brussels, Belgium with Visit Flanders.
This article originally appeared in Divine Lifestyle in August, 2016.
Following a trip to Belgium, President Barack Obama stated: “It’s easy to love a country known for chocolate and beer.” I think few would argue with this opinion. Over 172,000 tons of chocolate are produced each year in Belgium and more than 2,000 chocolate shops flourish throughout the country.
Drinking Belgium Beer
I usually prefer wine and champagne, but while in Belgium, I discovered that it is a beer lover's paradise with over 1,500 original beers available. Each beer has its personalized beer glass that is designed to enhance the flavor of the beer being served. Belgians are very serious about their beers and take great pride in the glasses that are used to serve them.
The Little Pee Man
One of the most famous attractions in Brussels is the Manneken Pis, a small (24 inches) bronze fountain statue also known as “little pee man” in Flemish. It is located near Grand Place and has been on display since either 1618 or 1619. There are several legends surrounding its origin. Tourists flock to this statue, similar to the popularity of the Mona Lisa at The Louvre. I once talked to a tourist who was on a bike ride through Europe and her only stop in Brussels was to see the Manneken Pis. She wasn't even stopping for a bite of chocolate or a pint of beer! I couldn't relate to her situation.
Drinks in the bar of the Dominican Hotel are a must-do when in Brussels. This fabulous hotel is located behind the famous theater and opera house Le Monnaie. Medieval grandeur meets contemporary splendor in a sweeping, high-style homage to Dominican abbeys, Old-World Europe, and artistic invention.
Food in Brussels
I had a wonderful dinner at Bonsoir Clara, a restaurant located in downtown Brussels that serves classic and modern Mediterranean cuisine. For an appetizer, I had the very tasty sashimi of salmon, marinated gravlax style, kunzumiyuzu, and poppyseed vinaigrette. As for the main course, I ordered the fillet of sea bass with anchovy and ginger brandade, which was topped with lemongrass and raisins. The food was delicious and the service was great!
Hotel Amigo, formerly a prison, was converted into a 5-star hotel in 1957 and has since hosted royals and celebrities in Brussels.
A trip to Belgium is incomplete without tasting a Belgian waffle. The authentic Belgian waffle is served warm and lightly dusted with confectioner's sugar. In tourist areas, street vendors offer waffles with a variety of toppings, including whipped cream, fruit, chocolate spread, and caramel sauce. I had the chance to try the authentic version, and it was delicious!
We were hosted by Visit Flanders on this trip to Belgium and not compensated to write this Visiting Belgium Brussels Visit Flanders post. We loved Belgium and really appreciate their hospitality.
Please see our other post: Visiting Belgium, Antwerp
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