Pack Your Bags: Brussels, Belgium
A few weekends ago,
we hit the road
with my students
for a weekend in Brussels.
The only other time I had been there
was for one night
when I was backpacking
at the age of 19.
Needless to say,
I was eager to see the city
with different eyes this time.
Brussels is such a great mix,
in my mind,
of Paris and Amsterdam.
There are some luxe swanky moments
that make you feel like you're
strolling around Paris' Rue Rivoli...
and then there is an understated climate
that feels very Amsterdam to me.
It's a great place to spend a weekend,
though if I were to have stayed much longer
I would have wanted to explore outside of the city.
Here's what we did
in case you're shopping for some great things
to add to your itinerary.
Though don't expect great restaurants on this...
we were whipped
and ordered Dominos to our hotel room one night.
Apparently, the street waffles were enough satisfaction
for our culinary demands during the trip.
(How's that for realistic travel with a baby?)
EU PARLIAMENT: Let's be honest, as Americans we don't know enough about other political systems. This is a great way to get see firsthand how the EU operates an, hey, it's cool, too! Book several weeks in advance to ensure you get a spot.
LAURENT GERBAUD CHOCOLATE CLASS: When in Rome, do as the Romans... and when in Brussels, jump into the chocolate scene. At €35 per person for the course, you'll have a great time engaging in a part of Belgium's famous chocolate industry. Plus, when you take it at Laurent Gerbaud, you'll have the famous chocolatier guides the class himself. He's passionate about his product, he's engaging with each guest... and he's funny, too.
GRAND PLACE: This is the square in Brussels with all the gorgeous buildings and rooftops. It's full of (overpriced and touristy) restaurants and chocolate shops like Godiva... but you'll want to go and it's fun. In fact, what the heck, I won't even judge you if you ordered a drink in one of those overpriced tourist restaurants- it's such a gorgeous place.
BELGIUM BREWERS MUSEUM: This is located in the Grand Place and is apparently, really great. You'll have to tell me how it is though- I've actually only been recommended this spot and didn't go. The tour covers the history of brewing in Belgium and offers samples!
MANNEKEN-PIS: This iconic statue has gathered a lot of attention over the years, and I'll think it's pretty hilarious. (But then again, I'm a seventh-grader at heart.) Go see the statue of "the little boy peeing" and check it off your Brussels to-do list.
WAFFLES: It's true. Belgium makes great waffles, but to get the best bite make sure you order the Liege Waffles. They're smaller and thicker... and so much better. You can add toppings to them, too. I recommend Speculoos (aka the stuff Trader Joe's knocked off for their cookie butter), strawberries and almonds. Holy moly. You can thank me later.
ADAGIO ACCESS: We stayed at the Adagio Access, near the Troon metro station, and just a stone's throw from the EU Parliament. It was easy to get to, but required about a 15 minute walk to the Grand Place. What I liked about it was the in-room kitchenette... but what I didn't dig was having to walk so far to get into the tourist hotspots.
LE MERIDIEN: In a perfect world, when I make lots of money- I'll stay here. It's got a great location near the Grand Place and, hey, it's a Le Meridien so it's probably pretty great.
*images original to Aspiring Kennedy