Oh man this was a pretty exciting trip. I have never been to Brussels before. It is right between France and Germany so it does have a pretty mix of languages and even Flemish thrown in. For this trip I just defaulted to French (Qui, Je m’appelle Anh, Merci) from 6th grade 1 quarter elective. Of course I had Google Translate as a saving throw. Belgium was a very pretty city with some nice historical sites. It really reminded me of Bloodborne (my favorite video game of all time) because of the Victorian Art.
This journey took me to all over Belgium: Bourse, Mechelen, Roselare, Turnhout, Verviers, Merksem, Nivelles. Main providences for here were Brussels, Antwerp and Waterloo (or close to there). It required me to drive quite a bit to reach each spot and book a hotel for each spot. Below I will list my favorite ones out of the trip and even one that I would fully recommend.
I found Virtuo (linked it on Tips) and first used it here. It was pretty darn cool. Bluetooth unlock, everything was done through the app with a support staff. And it was inexpensive (48-58euros a day for a Mercedes A180). The Belgium highways are amazing, I think I only hit traffic three times but for the most part, I was able to go 180km/h on the left lane. Driving in the city during the night, specifically Brussels, was pretty tough. I hated being first in the lane because I wouldn't always know where to go. Luckily I made it out OK.
I step out of my first hotel, Warwick Brussels and I see this huge building. I decide to walk towards it. That Mozart Hotel on the left was the hotel I would've stayed in if I did not have to lugg with me a 60lb Pelican case but it was downright gorgeous inside and very close to the Grand Palace. I wouldn't recommend the Warwick Brussels mainly because the free internet was terrible. The "faster" premium internet was 40e (screw that). Otherwise location was great and the room was good (but small).
I walk along the way and enter The Grand Palace. It's a massive square with good resturaunts and amazing architecture.
My dad really liked Adventures of TinTin and The Smurfs growing up and I learned that they both originated here in Belgium. Even Popeyes originated in Belgium
Next day I went and visited an Immersive 4D Van Gogh exhibit. This was pretty awesome, as it projected transition arts with Van Gogh quotes on the wall with music to match. The whole Brussels Stock Exchange was projected with art with lawn chairs and blankets. The reel was about 40min with a tranquil music track and beautiful transitions. it was pretty neat. TIL that Van Gogh was colorblind, along with schizophrenic and epileptic. His colorblindness is why he uses the color seperation that he does.
Later I went looking for new pants and was misdirected by my nose. I stumbled upon scallops and wine from the street market. This was at Poisonnerie ABC Vishandel.
That place was great, I wish I never got full and fat.
Later, I stopped by the Grand Palace again during the daytime. Still looks great
Of course I had to eat outside the Grand Palace to soak in the view
Walked over to around Brussels Central station and wanted to get a Belgian Waffle
I can never get tired of the Victorian/Gothic architecture
Enjoyed a beer to soak in the view (it was too early for lunch/dinner)
The arches really reminded me of Anor Londo from Dark Souls. According to the wiki, St Rumbold is buried inside the Cathedral
Tongerlo is actually a well renown beer and it was delicious. Goes well with the steak, that too was amazing. Maybe these Belgian beer's were my Estus's Flasks.
Next day I went back to the first place to try out the food. The hotel receptionist recommended to try this spot out. This establishment was Den Beer
Next stop was Roselare, now we are getting further away from the city and more into the towns
I was recommended to check out Brugges because it was only 20-30min away and had a cheap garage neearby to park. I mustered the strength to go despite working all night. I did not regret it.
This piece is by Gerard Valck who sketched a Unicorn and Lion for Mary II Stuart and William III of Orange, which is pretty darn Victorian essentially (and Gundam Unicorn). It's a pretty small frame as you can tell with the magnifying glass but there is so much depth, shading and detail on this work
Next day went to Turnhout, which was cool but there wasn't much there. Last stop was Verviers. THere was not anything notable there but the hotel I stayed at was awesome. Great downstairs resturaunt too; I didn't think French dining could taste that good (I thought it was overrated) until I ate here...
The Hotel is Van der Valk Hotel Verviers
Ok this picture does not do it justice. On the beef sirloin there was fried eggplant and a pancake. The when you eat all three in a fork bite dipped in the sauce, the fusion of flavors is incredible. Definitely going to try to make something like this later
Later stopped by Antwerp to meet with some colleagues. It was a beautiful city as well.
This spot was pretty awesome because it had a private Sauna. This was definitely the best value stay, it was close to the Grand Palace and relatively quiet. The TV was awesome, it was a fully automated stay with a passcode to enter the building and same passcode to enter your room (after emailing a picture of passport). That Sauna was 👌.
Belgium was beautiful and I got to stay there for about 16 days, even had a weekend to visit Amsterdam (2.5hr train ride or drive, train ticket roundtrip was $108euros). I left on the 8th for Tel Aviv.
There's much more to explore in Belgium, one point of interest that I wish I got a chance to check out was at Ypres, Menin Gate. <a href="http://www.greatwar.co.uk/events/menin-gate-last-post-ceremony.htm>The Last Post Ceremony</a>is held everyday at 7pm, meaning you should arrive at around 4pm. THey hold this ceremony everyday despite the weather.