26 May 2013
We left Paris this morning and I am quite sad. I love Paris so much, I already cannot wait to go back… Paris wants me to stay so much that they made me pay a ridiculous reservation fee to board the train and leave the city. Haha well they make everyone pay it and it is a complete rip-off! When we boarded the train we didn’t have seats to sit in and the train ride was over an hour. Ummm excuse me, did they not just realize the chunk of money they drew from our pockets?? Besides the train reservations and metro prices, I have loved everything about Paris.
Did you know that french fries are actually not “French”? They come from Belgium, and should be called Belgian Fries! Fry shacks and waffle houses dot every nook and cranny of Brussels, a very healthy combination. On top of all the grease and carbs, the fries are always served with a mayo sauce and the waffles are loaded with whip cream and Nutella. Can you say “massive heart attack”? I have discovered that Europeans delight in their food, but unlike Americans they have portion control. When you go to a restaurant or vendor, the food is greater in taste but smaller in quantity…just as it should be.
Manneken Pis is the famous statue in Brussels, you make recognize it as the “little peeing boy” statue, and “little” is included for a good reason. This statue has been used to identify Belgium for years. I have never seen a country’s iconic image be something so small. Manneken Pis is literally 12 inches in length…but I guess that is the perfect symbol for a country as small and absurd as Belgium. There are a lot of legends exclaiming how the little boy put out a cannon fuse by peeing, but the truth is that the statues of peeing boys around the country symbolize how the poor used to have to sell their urine to leatherworkers for money. It is actually quite sad when you understand what the statues that dot Belgium actually represent… Not Waffle’s and fries that is for sure.
We arrived in Brussels around 13:00. First thing we did was go to the tourist information desk because besides the Manneken Pis, we really had no idea what to see in Brussels. Luckily we always get lucky as we wander the cities and we were able to experience much of the local lifestyle by simply walking up and down the narrow cobblestone streets that line the entire city. Just outside of the Palais De Justice their is a beautiful view of the city and I would recommend going there to take a picture of the city if you love picturesque places. Picturesque places are what keep your journey alive after it is through and you only have the memories and photos to relive it with. That is partially why I am keeping this blog updated throughout my trip because I know when I get home I will have way too many pictures to sort through and all my thoughts will be blurred together on the experiences I have had. I find that it is better to write down my thoughts as I go because I forget things pretty quickly…I must be related to a Mrs. Brandy Brown.
Waffels are famous here in Brussels, and of course Belgian Waffles are the best! I loved watching how they made the waffles and so perfectly stuffed them with chocolate, bananas, strawberries, and whip cream. They also make “sandwich” like waffles that are stuffed with tomatoes, cheese, meat, and other vegetables…they all looked and smelled so good. Belgium definitely has great food!
There are a lot of different kinds of waffles that the Belgians come up with…there is pretty much a waffle version of everything. Here are the three most famous for foreigners, but then again who wants to be a foreigner?
Brussels Waffle (sugar on top)
Liege Waffle (sugar inside)
Tourist Waffle (extra topping)
Did you know that Brussels is the Capital of Europe? It is where the European Union Headquarters are located, and as a result they ALWAYS have protests going on in the so-called “cozy and quiet” little city. The city is not quiet and I would not call it cozy. It is lively and charming. During the day we spent in Brussels we ran into an outdoor rock concert, the famous Jazz festival in the Grand Place Grote Markt and even a protest with a mile long of people marching the entire Main Street of Belgium and ending at the EU headquarters. It was quite an interesting variety of culture we were exposed to. Unfortunately we came a few weeks to late to go to the Brussels tulip festival that is world famous, but I wouldn’t change our experience in Brussels for the world.
The last of the tulips that were still in bloom upon our arrival…
We stayed in a nice little hostel right next door to the Kapellekerk La Chapelle. It was warm, clean, and served free breakfast…so I was a happy girl. The breakfasts are buffet style and usually consist of mostly bread…so I make sure to grab a handful of jams, peanut butter, chocolate, and peanut butter toppings to shove in my bag to eat with my delicious baguettes that I am sure I will eat plenty more of. I have never eaten so much bread in my entire life, it is absolutely ridiculous! In Europe it is so good and cheap, with plenty of delicious toppings to go it…perfect for the backpacker who doesn’t have the time or money to stop and sit down in a restaurant.