Thursday, January 10, 2013

Belgium, Bulleted

I am finally getting around to moving along the documentation of my European adventures last summer. Whoo hoo. Hopefully faster this time; read part 1 here and follow the series Backpacking with a Suitcase, in which I document my travels across Europe in July 2012.

9-10 July 2012
Brussels and Bruges

  • The metro stations (and trains) in Brussels are dingy but they have art and play music while you wait for the train. Some metros are trams. Yeah, I don't get it either.
  • The Atomium is a bit like one of those giant arthropods Hagrid likes, and seems to grow to ten times its size when you stand in front of it. There are some pretty gardens and forest trails nearby, though. See some of my Brussels photos here.
  • There is not one but three pissing statues in Brussels, if our map ("made by locals") is to be believed. We think we saw them all, but some seemed to pee through their mouths...that can't be right? The most famous one of the baby is preceded by streets that make contain big chocolate replicas of it, so that the actual one seems quite unimpressive.
Is this one?!
  • The square in Brussels has the most gorgeous architecture I've ever seen.
  • There are waffles and chocolate on every corner. There's even a chocolate museum, but we didn't get a chance to go there. This is what a real Belgian waffle looks like: 
brus12

  • Belgium is famous for its lace. It's also famous for other things like chocolate, brussel sprouts, beer, mussels and fries and the Brussels Park has huge models of these. (See the pictures I linked you to above, you won't regret it).
A lace shop
  • We saw a very cool dog that got off the escalator like a boss. Never seen that before, though I suppose it has nothing to do with Belgium...also, boys in our hostel slept with their clothes on their bed instead of on themselves. 
  • Bruges is like a fairytale! Well, we got a few not-so-nice remarks yelled our way and one guy hit me with his motorcyle, but teen boys will be teen boys. The town has an old-world charm. Shutter Sisters featured some of my Bruges photos in September.
  • Narrow spiral staircases make for an adorably quaint hostel, but they're a right pain when it comes to getting your luggage up and down. 
  • The local map here featured bars, bars and more bars. They really love their beer. Our hostel had the most lively bar where people played guitars and organs in the beer garden way past midnight. Really fun when you're lying in bed, exhausted.
  • There are canals and cobbled streets and horse-drawn carriages. We met a nice couple from Toronto who bragged about the fancy wedding they'd just been to in France and told us about a relative who'd gone to India and fallen ill.
  •  I love Belgian buildings that have those really cool zig-zaggy roofs, gosh I wish I knew what they were called (row houses?), but here's a nifty article on Belgian architecture. 
 **
London to Brussels: Megabus (about 8 hours)
Brussels accommodation: 2Go4 Quality Hostel
Brussels to Bruges: train (1 hour; 15 EUR return)
Bruges accommodation: Snuffel Backpacker Hostel


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