Our last and final stop on our big adventure was the wonderful little town of Brussels and may I say, I think I found a real life Willy Wonka chocolate land. I couldn’t go past one chocolate store without seeing another in the near distance and the smell of French fries and waffles followed me wherever I went. Although mainly coming to this town for the food, we found that Brussels is a lovely city adorned with gold plated palaces everywhere we turn.
We arrived on an early cold morning in Brussels and caught a bus to the city centre. The first restaurant we came upon was The Waffle Factory (big surprise there), so we stopped in to grab some lunch and use their wifi until we could check into our apartment. I had a “lunch waf” which was a ball of dough that held ham and cheese inside then later it was placed into a waffle machine and pressed to perfection. It was a lovely treat to start off our time in Belgium.
We checked into what we thought was our own apartment but little did we know that we were actually just renting a room in a cute couples apartment. The husband was a short redheaded man with black circular glasses and his wife was the cutest short-haired brunette that I have ever seen. They were gracious and welcoming as we bombarded their hipster apartment. Since we felt rather awkward about staying to chat, we headed out to explore the town with no map in hand. We saw several gorgeous buildings and I nearly had an anxiety attack over the amount of chocolate there was on every corner. Which one do I go to? How do I narrow my choices? Why is there chocolate EVERYWHERE?? I was in heaven. After choosing a couple pieces of Godiva, we made our way around town and got our first plate of “frites” which we were told to eat with tiny forks instead of our hands. Once our exhaustion got the best of us, we headed to our apartment to nap which ended up meaning we were staying in for the night. It was much too cold to enjoy any night entertainment so we ordered a pizza in and enjoyed catching up on sleep.
The next day, after a dark chocolate and banana covered waffle (WOW), we headed to the Atomium which is a structure that was built in Brussels for the World Fair. We took the metro and a Belgium lady, who knew we were iffy about our direction, kindly helped us by showing us which routes to use. Over here, you truly realize how nice people are and how much they are willing to help if you just ask. We found the Atomium and took lots of pictures then spun around the little town it was in. Since it was mainly school-aged kids with not a ton of lunch options, we hopped back on the metro and wandered around the main part of town yet again. Seeing as all the chocolate stores willing give out samples, we made our way to every one we saw and left with a stomach ache (oops)…. But totally worth it! We sat in the main square and people watched then headed home to get ready for a night at the rum bar (900+ rums in one place!). We had a lovely time in a good atmosphere and we grabbed some more French fries on the way home.
Our trip ended the next day as we flew home to Florence, so incredibly grateful to be back in our little city. It was a wonderful trip that made me realize how fun it is to travel and experience all kinds of cultures. A little of my Spanish language knowledge came out in Spain and as for Belgium, we guessed on just about anything we ordered because we knew zero French. However while being here, it is amazing to see how many people know English. In America, studying a second language is required but only in high school when you are so into cliques and after school activities that learning a language seems like a pain. Here, learning a second language is needed to survive… A trait I hope will filter over into America in the next few decades. It is truly necessary for our increasingly diverse world!
Spring break was wonderful but I am excited for a weekend in Florence, exploring museums and getting to know our town even better before we leave in about 6 weeks.
Until next time…