Studying in Belgium, the heart of Europe, brings many privileges. One of the most important ones, for me personally, is the possibility to visit the nearby cities with such ease and in no time. The city I always love to come back to is Brussels. The beautiful capital of European Union makes me feel I could never get enough of it – and here’s why.
If taking a train, travelling from Gent to Brussels’ Central Station takes no more than 40 minutes. Right upon arriving, I prefer taking the tram number 1 to get to the Merode station. As soon as you get out from the underground, you are standing at the entrance of the famous Parc du Cinquantenaire (French for “Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary”) or Jubelpark (Dutch for “Jubilee Park”). A walk through the park will lead you to magnificent Triumphal arch surrounded by several impressive museums – Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, Jubelpark Museum and Autoworld. When the weather is nice, the park is full of young people enjoying the sun, playing sports or some instruments. If you happen to be here at such a moment, you will for sure fall in love with this place.
If you walk further towards the west, in a couple of minutes you will reach the famous EU quarter. The enormous buildings and an imposing architecture in this area will for sure impress you.
If you happen to be hungry (or even if not) you simply must get to the place Jourdan and try one of the most popular fries in whole Belgium – Maison Antoine. I did write about excellent Flemish fries in Gent in my previous blog, but these fries just have something unique which takes them above every competition.
After filling your belly, you are ready for discovering some more intriguing attractions. Continue walking towards the Central Station and you will pass by the beautiful Royal palace. After a couple of minutes, you will reach one of the most impressive squares I have ever seen – the famous Grand Place. No doubt you will take your time here to admire the marvelous square. When you’re ready, continue walking behind the City hall – in a few minutes you will encounter the lovely Manneken Pis statue, the symbol of Brussels. On the way back to the Grand Place you absolutely must try the delicious Belgian waffles at the well renowned Maison Dandoy. If you continue walking through the same street, you will come to the entrance of one of the oldest, but in the same time one of the most glamorous shopping malls in Europe – Galeries Saint Hubert.
Head on towards the Bourse and catch the metro line 5 towards Erasmus. The ride will take approximately 25 minutes, so you will have some time to recover the energy – for the best that is yet to come. After exiting the metro at the Erasmus station, you will have to walk for another 5 minutes and in order to stand right in front of definitely the most impressive monument building in Belgium (and among the most impressive ones in the world) – the splendid Atomium. This unusual monument was built for the World exposition in ’58, and consists of nine diameter stainless steel spheres connected by tubes – so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. The building itself is so magnificent that you could sit there for quite some time and admire it. If you, however, happen to have some extra money to spend, you can enter inside and climb it, or even have dinner at the restaurant in the top bowl – for dessert they are serving a breathtaking view of Brussels!
One last thing before getting back to Gent – you must stop at the famous Delirium pub. You will find offer of more than 2000 beers and a lovely Belgian-pub atmosphere. Enjoyment is unavoidable!
I was extremely lucky to finish this day at the famous Heysel stadium – watching a football match Belgium-Bosnia, and meeting many interesting supporters.
But even if you skip this last part, I am sure you will have a day to remember in Brussels! (of course, I’m only guaranteeing for you guys who followed my tips!) 🙂