Greetings from the best cafe in Brussels! I have just polished off an entire plate of waffles and I’m not gonna lie, I could go another! What yummy treats is everyone indulging in this weekend? As cliché as it sounds, I’ve always wanted to eat Belgium waffles in Belgium, and well, here I am.
With the Amalfi Coast recently ticked off my bucket list (I still can’t believe I was actually there!), I was in the mood for more of a city break for my next destination. Somewhere not overly expensive where I can walk, explore and just have some much needed cafe time. Having heard that you can do Brussels in a day, I thought to myself, why not? So I booked myself a ticket on the Eurostar and a few hours later I was surround by all things Belgium.
Arrival… a mouthwatering welcome and a street party
The trip from London to Brussels was simple and stress free. Upon exiting the station, I was immediately hit with a mixed aroma of chocolate and warm buttery batter toasting away. Following the mouthwatering scent, I made my way to the city centre and was pleasantly surprised when I came across a group of musicians playing n the middle of the street. Drums, tambourines, you name it. Within seconds the quiet street formed a buzzing atmosphere and before I knew, there was a full on street party going on. It was absolutely incredible! No one was asking for money, the musicians were simply sharing their talents with everyone and having the best time doing it.
Morning Exploring… dressed up statues and famous fries
Without doing day trips to nearby towns, there’s not a whole lot of sites to see in Brussels. Which for me, was perfect. I wasn’t having to pack a weeks worth of activities and attractions into a short window of time, I could just explore at a leisurely pace and eat lots of yummy food.
As I navigated my way down narrow streets filled with tourists and endless waffle shops, I found myself at the entry point to the main square. Also know as, Grand Place. I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of it, and as I stood there taking in the architecture dating back to the late 17th century, I could understand why it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
Continuing to wondering around, hot chocolate in hand dispute the warm weather, I ended up passing the famous statue known as Mannequin Pis. A bronze sculpture of a naked boy urinating into the base of a fountain. To be honest, I have no idea why this statue is famous, and if you ask the locals, I don’t think they really know either, each giving you a varying story. But the most common story is that it symbolises the rebellious nature of the city, and as a result, the statue is dressed up periodically throughout the year to coincide with major events and holidays. I passed the statue around 11am, and when I passed by it again later that afternoon, it had been dressed up in celebration of the world cup.
After a few hours of exploring, I was getting pretty hungry, so I headed away from the boutique shops and towards the busy cafe/restaurant scene. I was planning on sitting at a nice cafe, ordering a substantial meal that would tide me over for the majority of the day, but when I passed Fritland and saw the long queue outside, I decided to see what all the hype was about and lined up alongside everyone else. My substantial meal quickly turned into a cone of hot chips, but when I took my first bite, I completely understood why there was such a long queue. Whatever they do to give them their unique flavour, it’s definitely working.
Afternoon Exploring… chocolate and comic book street art
Multiple times throughout today I had to wonder if I was in Brussels or a scene from Willy Wonker & The Chocolate Factory. The amount of chocolate I was surrounded by was excessive to say the least. But it’s true what they say, Belgium chocolate is by far one of the best. For me, it’s right up there with the chocolate I had in Lapland, which is still my favourite.
With multiple chocolate shops for you to indulge your taste buds in, it can be a little overwhelming. I immediately took a liking to Neuhaus Chocolate, not only because my initial was displayed on every piece of chocolate (I mean if that isn’t a sign then I don’t know what is), but because the variety of flavours was so diverse. Not to mention, they have the most amazing window displays (who even knew chocolate sculpting was a thing!). After filling my belly with more chocolate than I would have thought humanly possible, I walked around the city to burn it all off. And because I needed to make room for some delicious waffles!
Brussels and comic books go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that one of the cities main attractions is the comic book route. Predominantly famous for The Adventures of Tintin, comics as a whole are considered an integral part of Belgium culture. Following the comic route map, visitors find themselves spending an entire day visiting over 50 murals. I opted for the no map, just wing it approach, and was pleasantly surprised every time I turned a corner and stumbled upon one.
Present Time… the best waffles
The cafe I’m currently sitting in, debating weather or not to get a second serving of waffles, is none other than Maison Dandy. This place serves the best waffles I’ve ever had in my life.
You can choose from either a Belgium waffle or a Leige waffle. The difference being, the Belgium waffle is crispier and lighter, whereas the Leige waffle is sweeter and denser. I opted for the Belgium waffle, knowing that my toppings of cherries, strawberries and chocolate sauce would provide all the sweetness I needed.
In addition to amazing waffles, Maison Dandy also have an incredible biscuit section. After accepting a sample, my tastebuds came alive and I couldn’t resist purchasing a bag. I have good intentions of saving them for my journey home, but well, knowing me, they’ll probably be gone within the next twenty minutes.
My day in Brussels has been relaxed and just what I wanted. I haven’t feel rushed or as though I need more time. For me, this was the perfect day trip away.