Hello my dear readers,
Monday we have discovered a few benefits of Brussels sprouts, today let’s discover Brussels 🙂
A very important core for European politics and the capital of Belgium, Brussels is not only famous for being the home of the tasty and well-known Brussels sprouts. The city, full of attractions and areas of interest fully recognized by UNESCO, is a real tourist hub for visitors attracted from all over the globe to visit it, also thanks to the main low-cost airlines that have included the Belgian metropolis among the top destinations to visit practically all year round.
Brussels, Belgium’s capital, is certainly one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and, thanks to its over 1,000 years of history, today it is a city where many cultures mix, creating a truly unique society.
Those arriving in the capital of Belgium will have the opportunity to visit several fascinating places and a very high number of parks and museums, for those who love to know the history of the cities they visit. Brussels is also called “European Village” due to the high concentration of shops, bars and restaurants where it is possible to taste excellent chocolate and the famous Belgian beer.
The center of all the activities taking place in Brussels is the Grand Place square, surrounded by several buildings: the Town Hall, an imposing Gothic-style building, which has a tall tower on top of which is a statue of Saint Michael the Archangel, Patron saint of the city, and the Maison du Roi, another imposing building originally built of wood, which was later renovated in stone in the late Gothic style.
This marvelous square, rich in history, welcomes in even years one of the most beautiful events in the world: the Flower Carpet. The event takes place during the weekend of August 15 on the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, and the square is covered with a carpet 75 meters long and 25 wide, created with flowers from more than five hundred thousand begonia plants.
All around Grand Place square, there are numerous Corporations Houses that recall the art performed by the various artisans who were part of it: bakers, brewers, painters, cabinet makers, archers, tailors and all the artisans who practiced their craft in this large commercial square. Today, part of these buildings houses museums such as the Beer museum in the same place that housed the Brewers’ Guild, where it is possible to admire the tools that master brewers used to create their recipes.
The house of the Cabinet-making Corporation is also very beautiful with its facade decorated with the tools of the trade, which today houses the Maison des Maitres Chocolatiers Belges where it is possible to taste and purchase the delicious Belgian chocolate.
A very special monument to admire in Brussels, which is located directly outside this wonderful park, is the Atomium, a 102-meter-high steel construction consisting of 9 spheres of 18 meters in diameter, representing an iron crystal enlarged 165 x 109 times. Really incredible, considering that it is also possible to climb the structure with the help of escalators and admire the view below. The building dates back to 1958, the year of the Expo, the Universal Exhibition in Brussels.
The symbolic attraction of the weaving of cultures that resides in Brussels is the Mini-Europa, an amusement park that contains the reproduction of the most beautiful monuments of Europe. In all, 80 cities and 350 buildings on a scale of 1:25 are reproduced. It is a very particular park, because besides observing the miniatures, you can admire animated attractions such as windmills and the eruption of Vesuvius, and the tour ends with an interactive exhibition that presents and explains the working mechanisms of the European Union in the form of a game.
Something to not miss is also the cheeky and plump Manneken Pis, one of the symbols of Brussels folklore, and among the strangest monuments in the world. Certainly it is the most photographed statue of the city, in spite of its rather contained size of only 60 cm high. Made by Jerome Duquesnoy, this curious statue is usually naked, but sometimes it is dressed with pretty custom-made dresses. In fact, Manneken Pis has an impressive wardrobe consisting of 600 clothes kept in the Maison du Roi.
The Mont des Arts was created between 1956 and 1958 and is located between Place Royale and Place de l’Albertine. It is an urban complex that includes some of the most beautiful buildings in the city including the Square – Brussels Meeting Centre and the National Library, which houses over three million volumes and ancient manuscripts.
The Cinquantenaire Park was established in 1880 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence. Its centerpiece is the monumental Palais du Cinquantenaire, the two wings linked by a massive triumphal arch are home to two of the most interesting museums in Brussels: the Royal Museum of Art and History and the Arms Museum. Always near the park there is an Autoworld, another interesting museum that collects a fantastic collection of vintage cars.
Justice palace, is the seat of the National Justice Court, and its impressive architecture makes it one of the most beautiful structures in the city. The palace is certainly an essential stop, and moreover the visit of the structure is free!
Surely among the most important buildings there is the Royal Palace, the official residence of the royal family although it is used only in special events. On such occasions, the Belgian flag on the roof signals the presence of the sovereign. It is possible to attend the ceremonial of the changing of the guard every day at around 2:30 pm. Around the palace there are some important cultural buildings such as the Palais des academie and the Palais des Beaux-Arts.
If in addition to visiting the city, you intend to discover other wonders in the surrounding area or in other cities in Belgium, it is advisable to stay in the vicinity of Brussels Central Station. In this way you can walk or take the metro to the attractions in the city center, and move just as easily by train to Brugge, Antwerpen, Gent, Leuven, Oostende and other locations.
Brussels is not famous for being the city of the sun, on the contrary. Influenced by the Atlantic, the climate of the Belgian capital is practically wet all year round, with numerous rainy days, and is characterized by cool summers and cold but not particularly harsh winters. Brussels have a sub-oceanic climate.
The best times to visit the Belgian capital are those that do not coincide with the most important holidays of the year, Christmas in the first place. Immediately after New Year, reaching and visiting Brussels is more than reasonable. Moreover, it is advisable to avoid the summer period, because prices rise considerably. Spring and autumn remain the best seasons to visit the land of sprouts, even for relatively short periods.
Each city has a gastronomic tradition that is worth tasting. Brussels, the Belgian capital famous above all for its legendary Brussels sprouts, is no exception, having in its menu mouth-watering sweet and savory dishes, to be tasted with a very fresh beer and often at reasonable prices.
The dish for excellence of the city, of course Brussels sprouts. There are numerous variations of cooking and seasoning for this small, small vegetable, but with extraordinary taste and nutritional properties. Definitely to try!
Originally conceived as a fish dish, today the Waterzooi, a Flemish-derived dish, is usually prepared with chicken meat. The presence of cream remains unchanged, which gives this stew a delicate and tasty flavor.
Meat dishes are very popular in Brussels. The most “elaborate” variant with respect to waterzooi is represented by the Carbonade flamande, beef stew in flour, lard and beer.
A dish made from potatoes is stoemp, an excellent side dish to accompany meat dishes. The potatoes are crushed and enriched with carrots, bacon, cream, nutmeg and pepper, to give the sprint to an otherwise too dull recipe.
A sweet break from these tasty and salty dishes, the waffle, now known throughout the entire world, is nothing more than a soft wafer heated between two plates and served with the most exquisite ingredients.
And last but not least, it is not a real dish, but it is a sweet specialty of Brussels and of the entire nation: the Belgian chocolate. Going on a trip to the capital and not trying this authentic delicacy would be a real crime!
Have you been to Brussels? What was your experience!
Thank you all for reading!
Join me next time and I’ll share with you another super easy recipe.
And if you enjoy traveling as much as I do, you may visit my other posts and discover our world one step at the time.
Photo credit: Google Images & Pixabay, edited by Popsicle Society