This weekend, my friends and I went on our first weekend trip outside of Spain and it was our best trip thus far! We flew into a town outside Brussels, Charleroi, as it was much cheaper than flying into Brussels. We got in around midnight and out Airbnb host agreed to pick us up from the airport. After an hour-long struggle to get out of the airport (very confusing signage with no English translations!!), we finally found him. He drove us very quickly and slightly recklessly to his house where we would stay for the night. He also drove us to the train station the next morning, just as quickly and just as recklessly. It was an experience to say the least.
We hopped on a train and made it to Brussels in no time. Our first task was to figure out where our Airbnb was. The owner was out of town, so they had left the key at a local eatery. We went to the restaurant and they gave us the key in a golden envelope. It was kind of like getting the next clue in a scavenger hunt or something. We joked that we were “in a video game” or “on a mission” for the rest of the trip.
After situating our stuff in our Airbnb, we decided to go back to the restaurant where we retrieved the key for lunch. It was a cute little place with about three menu items in addition to a “plate of the day.” I had the fish of the day, and it was delicious. It was a welcome deviation from the traditional Spanish food that I have grown accustomed to eating.
After lunch, we headed towards the city center. We stopped at several small thrift shops as well as the Manekken Pis. After arriving, we discovered that the main attractions in Brussels are the abundant chocolate, waffle, and fry shops. We hopped around and tried a bunch of different chocolates. I also had my first real Belgian waffle (it was incredible). After the waffle, we decided that we better try some fries as well. We got “Andalouse” sauce. I have no idea why it is called that – I’m pretty sure it would have been too spicy for anyone in Andalucía.
After our fries, we went to a bar called Delirium. Delirium is a “village,” or a multi-building, multi-level bar. We tried several beers before heading to dinner at a traditional Belgian restaurant. We shared mussels as an appetizer and I had seafood pasta as my entree. It was lovely! After dinner, we returned to Delirium to try some more beers. Anyone starting to see a trend? We even came out with a few favorites!
The following day, we slept in a little before going to brunch at a restaurant called Peck 47. I had a savory leek waffle for breakfast, and it was delicious. After lunch, we decided to take the metro to the Atomium, which is about forty-five minutes away from the city center. Naturally, I had to get another waffle while we were there (I think I had five over the course of the weekend). The rest of the day was pretty chill. We shopped around, sampled some chocolates, got more fries, and tried a Belgian beer flight at another bar. We also had dinner at a lovely little Italian place.
Overall, Brussels was filled with fries, waffles, beer, and chocolate (I case you hadn’t noticed). I really enjoyed this weekend and being able to get out of the traditional Spanish cuisine and customs. I hope to return to Brussels and the nearby city, Bruges, to explore more very soon!