Thursday, March 14, 2013

That's The Belgian Ghetto, You Must Never Go There Simba...

So last week I went to Brussels, Belgium.

Why Brussels you may ask. Well I had no choice in the matter. In a bid to remain friends and not kill each other we decided to leave the choice of what our destination would be up to to fate, or to be more specifically German Wings.

Now obviously with great deals comes great inconvenience, in our case this was a 6 hour wait in a deserted Stuttgart airport. Though the journey from Konstanz to Stuttgart gave us some interesting stories. Including running into a harmonica playing gentleman who claimed to be Jesus of Nazareth and a train so cold that we only warmed up when we went out into the snow, to say that we were glad to see that the flight was boarding would be one hell of an understatement.

So there we are, a group of college students in a new city. No rules. No time constraints, so what's the first thing we do? Nap of course. Go hard or go home, that's my motto. As we were quite sleep deprived during our initial arrival we didn't pay much attention to our surroundings, including 2 oncoming trams. Apparently turning the traffic lights off outside one of the primary train stations in a major European City at rush hour is perfectly acceptable. Who knew. Upon awakening we decided to go see a bit of the city. Think grand architecture, Gothic designs and cobbled streets. Think again. Unfortunately we wandered in the wrong direction. Into what we affectionately referred to as 'war torn Chechnya'. Make of that what you will. The real highlight of my day was dinner in The Hard Rock cafe. Yes, the highlight of my day was food. What of it.
We ate too much and couldn't flee the camera.

'Visits for individuals cancelled until
further notice. Pre-booked
groups only' 
The next day was devoted to sightseeing, and chocolate. I can't stress the importance of the chocolate enough. (Food featured heavily throughout the 3 days) We got to the pretty side of Brussels. Finally. My god was it pretty though. This was the Gothic, cobbled part we're used to seeing pictures of.
Being the wild party animal that I am the thing I was most excited to see was the European Parliament and see it I did. From the outside.
This sign offered a more crushing blow than a punch to the gut ever could. The only thing that could soothe my broken heart? The residence of the Belgian Royal family of course.

I think we can all agree that national symbols are important you want people to look at it and instantly think of everything good and essentially badass about your country. Well where we have the Harp Belgium has....a urinating child. (Mannequin Pis) An odd choice I'm sure you'll agree but we wanted to see it nonetheless. Brussels had other plans. This is what it actually looks like:
 This is what we got to see:

It has been dressed up from 9am to 6pm on the 27th of February only to celebrate the 169th anniversary of the independence of the Dominican Republic. Please don't get me wrong, this is an important event that deserves to be marked but it was a tad disappointing to not see the little guy how he usually looks. Still at least I got a unique picture right?
The final stop on our tourist tour of Brussels was the Atomium. Built in the image of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times it's quite impressive to say the least.

So Brussels basics:

  • Very pretty city depending on where you go.
  • Be careful. We were followed while walking in a group so stay aware of what and who is around you.
  • Watch yourself in the underground. We managed to catch a guy with his hand in one of our bags while trying to maneuver our way around.
  • Belgian Chocolate is delicious.
  • Belgian Waffles too apparently, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • Hard Rock Cafe is beyond delicious. I still think about that burger sometimes...
  • It's acceptable to spell Stuttgart 'Stuttugart' if you've been sitting sleep deprived in an airport for 4 hours.
All in all I enjoyed the trip. Brussels not so much. (Based on my personal experience) Would I go back to Brussels? Unfortunately not. Have I been turned off of Blind Bookings? I'll tell you after Milan.

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