3 Brussels Essentials

Belgium is a small charming country often overlooked because of its neighbors. It isn’t surprising since Belgium is between Germany and France. Even so, there are those who enjoy doing what others don’t and decide to give Belgium a visit. Being the capital, Brussels is on of the most popular destinations. As a matter of fact, there are tons of things you can visit and try in Belgium despite being constantly labeled as boring. You don’t always have to visit all the sites. Sometimes less is more, meaning you can just visit the most iconic symbols and learn many things about the country. You can also just go on a culinary adventure if you want to get a taste of typical European culture and food. There are many things to do in Brussels, but we’ll just cover a few of the essentials.

Planning

Firstly, some emphasis should be put into planning as it’s an important part of traveling. Before you leave your house for the airport and board the plane, you should always take some time to get some information concerning the place you decide to visit. Failure to plan can lead to a holiday filled with confusion, frustration and stress. And those aren’t supposed to be associated with a holiday at all. Secondly, knowing where you want to go and planning how are you going to get there. Belgium has an easy and accessible transportation system that ranges from train, tram, metro, bus and water bus, giving access to city center. Public transportation follow a schedule, so getting information about their scheduling would be a good idea. Planning doesn’t necessarily mean creating or following a schedule since it can kill all the joy and freedom that you have during a holiday. It is mainly to just give you a clearer idea of what you want.

The Grand Place

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and is usually the first city that you land at. It is home to many historical sites and also some of the best food in Europe. A must-see in Brussels is the Grand Place also known as Grote Markt. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and is surrounded by the City Hall, Guild Houses, and the King’s House or Breadhouse which is home to the Museum of the City of Brussels. The Grand Palace is located at the very center of the city, so it is pretty impossible to miss it. The best of all is, you can visit it at any time of the year , with your family or by yourself, and still find it beautiful. Being at the center of Brussels, you can get there by bus, train or by taxi. Hiring a VTC taxi, is an ideal alternative for transportation. VTC stands for “Vehicule de Tourisme avec Chauffeur” in French which means passenger car with a chauffeur in English. VTC chauffeur’s are professional drivers and are at your entire disposal. You can explore Brussels in high comfort by booking a VTC taxi that can be tailored to your needs.

Manneken Pis

Manneken Pis stands for “Little boy peeing”, and it’s actually a statue depicting a little boy urinating  in a fountain basin. Manneken Pis portrays and is the emblem of Brussels’ fighting spirit, and has been the city’s most beloved child since the 17th century. The first mentions of the statue dates back to 1452, the statue was then replaced in 1619 with a bronze statue byHiëronymus Duquesnoy which was stolen thereafter but was found broken in Brussels canal. The current statue is a replica from 1965 built from the glued broken pieces found in the canal, and the original is kept at the at the Maison du Roi or King’s House at the Grand Place. There are many stories about the little boy peeing. In one story, he saved the city by peeing on a burning fuse leading to a stash of gunpowder under the city, set by enemies who were pretending to be retreating. Preventing what could have been an absolute disaster. On special occasions the little boy is dressed up, hundreds of suits in his wardrobe including a costume that was gifted by Louis XV of France which is also kept at the Maison du Roi. Manneken Pis is a 4 minutes walk from the Grand Place, so you can visit both sites all in one day.

Culinary Delights

You might have heard that chocolate, waffles and fries are some of Belgium’s specialties. In fact, Belgium is famous for it’s junk food and you can find a place to eat on pretty much every street. Despite Belgium being a relatively young country, it’s dishes are very traditional. A favorite and national dish is the Moules Frites. It consists of Mussels served with a side dish of fries. Most traditional dishes are served with fries, such as the Gegratineerde witloof or the Crabonade Flamande. Like a lot of Belgian dishes, the Carbonade Flamande is cooked with beer, giving it a sweet-sour flavor.

Fries

Another very popular snack is fries. Just like waffles, fries are sold at fast food-stands and at dedicated restaurants called friteries. Fries are served with many different sauces, such as the usual ketchup, mayonnaise and cocktail. There are many different types of sauces, you can go ahead and try them all. Fries can be served in a cone shaped piece of paper, or on a cardboard tray for larger portions. Other foods such as frikandel, a traditional minced hot dog, can be an accompaniment to fries.

Waffles

Aside from the main dishes, Belgium culture is famous for its waffles and fries. Brussels waffles and Liege waffles are common waffles you will find while in Belgium. Both can be served with chocolate and ice cream…or both. The main difference lies in the taste. Brussels waffles are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, making you want more and more. Unlike Brussels waffles, Liege waffles dough are softer and sweeter. Liege waffles is the most popular kind of waffle among Belgians.

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