This weekend marked my first time traveling to another European country. Country of choice: Belgium. Some other language assistants and I chose Belgium because it was cheap and we had heard great things about the amazing Christmas markets there.
To be truthful I didn’t know a whole lot about the country before visiting. Sadly my knowledge of Belgium consisted of: waffles, chocolate, and beer-only the most important things! Upon arriving I immediately fell in love with Brussels.
I arrived late Thursday night in Brussels, it was close to midnight by the time we got to our hostel so our night was made complete by going to McDonalds….I know, I know-gross! In our defense it was the only thing still open. Our hostel was right in the heart of Brussels, next to the Grand Place, which is the main square of town. The Grand Place is absolutely gorgeous with an enormous live Christmas tree in the center. In an attempt to give you a better description of The Grand Place…it kind of reminded me of Disney World, but the REAL Disney World, at any moment I just knew that Disney characters were going to pop out of the buildings. Haha, but seriously. The buildings are so intricate and detailed.
The following day we woke up at a decent time and I had my first true belgium waffle at a cute little place called Fruit Land. I highly recommend this place! Although I don’t think you could find a bad waffle if you tried. Needless to say I was not disappointed. The batter they use to make the waffles is more like a cookie dough vs the American style that has a runnier consistency. My mission over Christmas is to find a recipe for waffles like these.
They have so many different options for waffles: chocolate, strawberry, Nutella, whipped cream, nuts, and all of the above. They even had a waffle on a stick in the shape of a Christmas tree! I opted for bananas (my fav) and sugar.
After waffles we went back to the Grand Place to check out the free walking tour. The walking tour took about three hours and covered all the major sites of the city.
This little guy is super famous in Brussels, and is called “Manneken-Pis.” Apparently he has a wardrobe of over 900 different suits. You can find little replicas all over the city. Anything from cork screws, mugs, mini statues, and bottle openers. I was a little disappointed because I thought the statue would be bigger, but he’s pretty small!
Half way through the tour we stopped at Scott’s Bar for a little pit stop/beer break. Time to try some Belgium beer. We decided to try two of the Christmas beers, and they were pretty strong! Scott’s Bar is also known for their hot chocolate. They simply serve you hot milk with a bar of chocolate inside the mug. Unfortunately I didn’t try it, but it looked and smelled delicious!
After the tour we decided to try some of the famous mulled wine. AKA vino caliente, hot wine, or gluhwein. The mulled wine is made from red wine, sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes oranges and is served warm. It was like hot sangria. Whoever invented the mulled wine is a genius in my books!
The Christmas market was complete with a ice skating rink and a Ferris wheel. 🙂
The next day we took a day trip to Bruges. Since I fell in love with Bruges too I’ll have to write a separate blog post all about the day trip.
Another must do in Brussels is to go to Delirium. Delirium is a famous bar, in the center, that has over 3,000 different beers. Two of Xicu’s classmates from Belgium recommended getting a peach beer (peche mel bush). I would highly recommend it as well. Just watch out because the percentage of alcohol in the beer is much higher! One beer had 12%! All of us only had two beers that night, and man were we feeling it the next day.
To finish off the night we had to get waffles. I would say it was a perfect ending to a great trip! I hope one day to return to Belgium, who knows maybe it’ll be next year for Christmas time again!