Brussels, the City of Contrasts: A short stop in the “European Capital” – and still you get it all: Palaces of steel and glass, chocolate, beer and poverty.
|How and when I got there||Thalys from Aachen to Brussels Midi; return with ICE/Deutsche Bahn from Brussels Midi to Aachen; November 2018|
|Where I stayed||Hotel Chambord (https://www.hotel-chambord.be/en-gb)|
|Restaurants||Brasserie Leopold (http://www.brasserie-leopold.be/)|
|Things to do||Shopping in the Louisa/Port de Namur district|
|Recommendations in a nutshell||Try Belgian Beer, Belgian Chocolate, Belgian French Fries|
Brussels is one of my “regulars” on the business side. There have been years with journeys to Brussels on almost monthly basis. However, this year it’s been my first visit and only a “short stop” – just a little bit more than 24 hours. Despite this short stay, I got to see everyting that makes Brussels special: Palaces of steel and glass, chocolate, beer and poverty.
From my home town, it’s quite convenient to get there: just 30 minutes by car to the Aachen train station and then 75 minutes by a fast train (Thalys or ICE/Deutsche Bahn) to the
Brussels midi station
The City of contrasts
Brussels is one of the European cities with the highest contrasts you can get. Palaces of steel and glass – often occupied by the European Commission or related offices. Old buildings from a long gone era of rich industrialism. And (more recent) signs of decay and poverty. Of course, business trips don’t leave much room for sightseeing. But to get “the taste of Brussels” a short journey across the city is completely sufficient: going from Midi station to the Quarter of the European Commission will show you everything.
Nice new buildings of steel and glass, just randomly picked on the way –
As well as homeless people on streets and in subway stations.
We had dinner in the well-known “Brasserie Leopold”, which belongs to the Hotel Leopold and seems to be quite popular for groups – we ended up in a windowless room in the Basement, as all the other rooms above were occupied. The food was OK, but the service a bit slow. Overall, for a business dinner all right, but I’m not sure to recommend it privately.
Illumination by night
On the way back to the hotel, I came across some really nice examples of “illumination architecture”.
What seems like a more or less faceless gray building during the day, exhibits an astonishing colorful life at night:
What else is remarkable?
Chocolate and Beer…
Belgium Chocolate – and there are MANY chocolate shops all over the city. Personally, I like Swiss chocolate better, but that’s just my personal taste. At least the chocolate shops do really look nice.
Also quite popular, at least among the locals: Belgian Waffels, available also at chocolate shops, or even at bakeries. They are thick, crispy) und quite sweet. And last but not least to most well-known culinary experience: “Frites” (in English: French Fries) – very think potato slices, preferably topped with mayonnaise. One portion piles up 1000 calories, easily. Not everybody might like them, but I do. And allow myself one portion every fifth year…And finally: Belgian beer – there are lots of mall breweries; personally I prefer the dark varieties.
Cheers from Brussels, Marion
*According to a German Court decision, all texts containing links to commercial pages (e.g. links to Tripadvisor, Airline, hotel or restaurant websites) have to be identified as “commercial” (in German “Anzeige”). As my texts do contain links like that, I therefore identify each post and page containing a link as “Anzeige”. However (and referring to the “About Me” page) I would like to point out that I do NOT post any sponsored content in my texts; I pay for all my trips myself.