We will start with a quote summarizing our trip to Brussels:
“Can I make a living out of drinking beer and eating chocolate? I think those are called poets.” – Dan
We cleaned up our apartment in Paris and left some money for our host for the dish we broke. Here we come, Brussels! Our lovely host, José, sat us down and spent an hour walking us through a map of everything we needed to know about Brussels (most of which were bars).
Right away, we found a whole strip of chocolatarias. We obviously had to indulge and savored some super tasty treats from Leonidas. As we entered our first chocolate shop, we were overwhelmed. Dan had memories of Shane Company and his hands got sweaty in anticipating of picking out the perfect chocolate. The chocolate shops in Belgium are like boutiques and everything is priced accordingly (although much tastier than jewelry). We visited a chocolate shop at least three times a day.
To end the day, we found a little bar on the edge of tourist town called Celtica. This bar was nothing to look at but offered $1-$2 beers so we were convinced. We had two or three (or four) beers and headed back home for the night.
But wait, before we go home we need a snack right? Ad of course what better snack than French fries, which were invented in Belgium. We found a close by french-fry shack and got a huge cone of fries smothered in garlic mayo! Fries were another treat that we had multiple times during our visit.
In our search for a bathroom at Saint Gerry Hall, we stumbled upon a small art gallery featuring Albinism in the Congo. We were so awe inspired by the work that we spent an hour admiring every photograph and reading its description. Before we knew it, we were talking to the photographer about her amazing work with albino children in Congo. Please check out her website; it is a little known cause that she is fighting for.
Next, we headed to the ever-famous Delirium. This bar was a hard to find dive, but seemed to stretch forever. This was a true beer drinker’s paradise with a world record beer selection and booths fashioned out of old barrels. We both enjoyed our monk-brewed beers and relaxed for a few hours.
Feeling our wallet getting thin, we headed back to Celtica where we met Fabio and Alex from Brazil. We discussed our confusion of the game cricket and lamented over the previous World Cup defeats. They were interesting guys, but we were due for a change of scenery so we went out in search for another bar. We walked a few blocks and happened upon a local spot with live music. We met two awesome locals – one a professor at Sussex and another guy from Oman. They showered us with information about Belgium and Brussels and bought us multiple beers and shots to show us Americans what Belgium was all about. We finally left around 3-4 a.m. after a God vs. Evolution conversation started and we realized we were much too drunk.
After a night of local indulgence, Dan was in no shape for sightseeing. He slept for most of the afternoon interrupted by the sandwich Jessie picked up from the local bakery. We had a picnic at a nearby park and were really starting to feel like part of the community. That night we stayed in the apartment and popped popcorn with the comfort of Netflix. Even travelers need a day off.
Our last day, we woke up and let hit snooze for a solid 2 hours while we lay in bed. We finally made our way out of bed around 9:30 or so to head next door to the bakery for a tasty morning treat. We went back to the bakery for lunch and ordered the “American” sandwich, which ended up being a weird meat spread that had the consistency of a Subway tuna sandwich. It wasn’t American at all. Since it wasn’t the tastiest sandwich, it was quickly replaced with a massive bag of chips and Belgium chocolate. We made our way to the bus station and had ourselves a quick beer before boarding our bus to London.
All in all, Brussels was our favorite city yet. Understated and loving it, Belgium offered comfort food, great beer and excellent company. We saw the highlights such as the Manneken Pis etc., however, what we will remember most was the warm hospitality. (and beer and chocolate of course)