Belgium

Belgium

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.

Soundtrack

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.

Walking to the Palace

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).

Inside Mozart Hotel

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.

Starry Night

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.

White wine to pair with scallopss

Turns out i'm not allergic to shrimp

Seared & Seasoned Tuna

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

I really dig the gold accents

Of course I had to eat outside the Grand Palace to soak in the view

Mussels in Brussels

Walked over to around Brussels Central station and wanted to get a Belgian Waffle

Belgian Waffle w/ Nutella and Vanilla Ice cream

Next destination was Mechelen, it was about a 2 hour drive from Brussels

I can never get tired of the Victorian/Gothic architecture

Grote Markt

Enjoyed a beer to soak in the view (it was too early for lunch/dinner)

Gouden Carolus Amber

Saint Rumbold's Cathedral

The arches really reminded me of Anor Londo from Dark Souls. According to the wiki, St Rumbold is buried inside the Cathedral

Filet Mignon with Tongerlo Blonde beer

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 foot. The hotel receptionist recommended to try this spot out. This establishment was Den Beer

Lampchops, Lamb Sausage, Lamb Brisket with wine

It was a pretty awesome sunny day

Next stop was Roselare, now we are getting further away from the city and more into the towns

Stayed in a p cute bed and breakfast

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.

Church of our Lady Bruges

Inside the church, not sure I was allowed to take a picture :)

Outside Old St. John's Hospital

Checked out some exquisite sketches

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

Of course had to stop by for Belgium Chocolates. I didn't get this one but I thought this was p cute

This Torture Museum was pretty cool (and horrifying). I won't post the pictures here since it's pretty gruesome stuff but it was a pretty cool exhibit. When I left there was a family entering with some younger than 10yr old kids

Ok maybe just one

Markt of Bruges, in the heart of the city. The building in the center is the
Basilica of the Holy Blood

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.

Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp

Last stay was in Secret Suites in Brussels

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.