Read this in: German
Do not we all know that? You come to a foreign country, then you have to first get into the vibe of the city. If you read travel reports about Brussels, it’s often just a trip or a day trip and you may not have read many of the things you’ll learn about this city. Because of course you can leave Brussels in one afternoon and then on to Bruges, Paris or Rotterdam. But maybe you just missed the exciting things that you should occasionally encounter on vacation.
Arrival with obstacles
In fact, the journey was very pleasant overnight and through a friend who wanted to show me the city, I’ve even come up with the crazy idea to go to this unknown city. She used to live here, so she’s a local – having someone by her side is definitely not the worst way. There is only one problem after the arrival of the bus. It’s Saturday, we ladies would like to powder the not yet powdered nose, because a bus toilet is just a not so nice affair.
But far and wide in Brussels has no public toilet, most open only at 9 o’clock. So we drive one hour with our public transport ticket (7 Euro per person per day) to other stations. But there too: too, too, too. When we arrive at the main station, it is about 6:30 clock and spooky empty. There the toilet opens at 7 o’clock and we wait here in the next café, at the table at not drunk cups.
Well, who would have thought that I miss the overpriced toilets in Germany? My recommendation to you is therefore clear: Dear travelers to Brussels, travel to a humane time by train. And look for a hotel there. They are there anyway enough. And even if the room should not be ready: there is definitely a toilet. That should be worth a trip to Brussels.
In the heart of the city in the early morning
If you say that he likes to take pictures, I recommend to arrive during the week and for several days. For deserted streets can never be found on a Saturday in Brussels, even at 5:30. However, one city in the morning is a different one, one sees more poverty, normal camping tents at a church, which there homeless people use to stay overnight. Two hours later in front of the main train station, the city is completely different, tourists mix more and more with the people and locals go shopping or to work.
I thought so far in Brussels I thought of all EU affairs and had presented the city very clean and elitist. But no, here too on Saturday morning it looks just like in Dusseldorf in the old town or in Amsterdam, when the party folk go to sleep after a night of drinking. And also the metro in Brussels needs a bit of getting used to. The last time I was so afraid in a lift in 2007 in a suburb of Prague. At that time I preferred to walk to the 15th floor. In Brussels it is not different, the stairs are narrow and steep, here and there it drips and some escalators are frighteningly fast. BUT in Belgium there is already a good alternative to explore the city in good weather: small e-scooters, which are felt on every corner. Just load the app and start driving.
On to the king
A local transport ticket in Brussels is still a good thing, because there are also beautiful things to discover in the suburbs of Brussels. No, we are still coming to the Atomium. But first look at the royal gardens in Laeken. We thought! Unfortunately, my friend and companion had overlooked the fact that only two weeks a year they come to these gardens within the royal palace as a normal mortal. Half as bad. If you’re after the royal greenhouse, check Instagram, it’s definitely worth the trip.
And at least as impressive as the Skygarden in London. On the other hand, you can discover, photograph and film enough around the palace anyway. And in my dress in red and pink even Asian tourists take pictures of me. No, the girl with the purple hair is not noble or something. It always does that on vacation. She is a blogger. That is such a folk in itself.
A touch of China
Even a king collects things and sometimes not stamps like my grandma. Yes, I also have a stamp collection, but it’s just inherited and not updated since the late ’80s. Instead, a king gathers other things, and so it happens that a Chinese pavilion stands by the Neptune Fountain on the edge of the palace walls, facing a Japanese tower. We seem to have just got the right time because everything is in full bloom. Scaffolding is attached to the main house, here was once a museum with the porcelain collection of the Belgian king.
And I have to admit in my comparison of earlier: very beautiful and pompous stamp album that you then also shares with the public. Today the park is freely accessible and not overcrowded on a Saturday morning. There is a swing surrounded by flowers and in general I have the feeling: Maybe it is not such a bad idea to arrive by bus or by car. Many interesting things are not in Brussels itself, but in the surrounding area and you have plenty of opportunities for Park and Ride.
In my defense, I have to say: I had French at school, whole 4 years. But these textbooks from 1982, where I first learned the vocabulary for record and tape recorder in 2002, unfortunately did not prepare me for the harsh reality. In short, insist on your right to speak English. Stay strong! In Belgium there are Walloon and Flemish, a bit like French and Dutch. But probably as if you were comparing Low German with Bavarian.
I grew up almost in Scandinavia with holidays as weekend dad and I’m used to English or often German. And in the Netherlands, all German wants to talk to me, which is sometimes very frustrating. Here, however, some insist on his Walloon and can probably understand English, but does not want it. In case of doubt, Google translators always have it ready, if the Brussels have not gone so far, you come in case of doubt with a google translator and its French well.
Attention, we evacuate the station
Oh, a little bit of anxiety is always traveling these days and I am happily, as the queen of preparations, I did not check the big events for once. So it happened that on the day of our arrival there was a big Pride event with street market, demo, parade. Nothing bad, I was also a teenager on Christopher Street Day in Bergen, Norway. Here it was, however, when we came back from the royal parks, already jam-packed and not very inviting. The crown was still put on the whole, as the station was evacuated. Probably because this was just too crowded by the guests of the event who came and went. With the help of an online card, we then sneaked out of the station. However: GPS in Brussels is rather an imprecise matter. Download offline maps and do not just rely on GPS!
Not just waffles
Brussels is a city in which many nations come together and a mix of modern buildings and almost seem like backdrop-like old streets. Sometimes you feel like you are in Hamburg Hafencity, only without water. Sometimes you feel like you’re in a quiet corner of Paris or Amsterdam.
The food of our choice was actually donuts and not Belgian waffles, but food is there for all tastes. Again, you should pay close attention to the fact that there are also tourist centers in Brussels – for a research worthwhile in any case, a certain search service and its reviews to check.
Avocados, ethically a difficult topic. Just as with many types of fruit that do not thrive in a local climate. But from time to time I really like avocado and was ecstatic from The Avocado Show in Amsterdam. Then we had so much time on Sunday, so why not check out The Avocado Show in Brussels? Unfortunately, my companionship at the restaurant was not as enjoyable as mine. This time I had a punchbowl and was even more surprised that it was served on a plate with avocado sand. Yes, it was not really that great in Amsterdam. But not bad with me either.
My companion, however, had a kind of custody and was quite dissatisfied, because it tasted quite bland. As a matter of fact, I would probably not revisit this restaurant in Brussels for the time being. It probably contributed to the negative impression that we were both sitting in the middle of the hall, which was pretty hectic and unpleasant.
A metro station to fall in love with
Although I have not praised the Metro, there is at least one stop on the way between the Atomium and the city center, which should have been seen. Pannenhuis reminds me of the color world very much to a room in the Hamburg Museum of Arts and Crafts and is definitely worth a visit for the photomotive viewfinder among you. She’s on her way to Laeken and the Atomium anyway.
Unfortunately only plastic
Instead of Atomium, one of our last routes in Brussels led us to a design museum. At the beginning of the year, I did an internship with a fashion designer in Hamburg and was very excited about gaining new inspiration. But honestly, our need for a toilet had turned our attention to the museum. And that was paramount. Brussels and toilets. In my mind, that will certainly get stuck for future visits.
If one evaluates the museum after its toilets, one can say: this was then also pleasant and clean. The toilet had left us with more positive emotions than the museum. At the beginning you should deposit all your backpacks and bags in free lockers for a deposit of 1 or 2 €. My dear companion is similar to a man such a backpacker child: Ungern she gives her belongings out of hand. In this museum? Not a good idea! Because the security service was more than overzealous here in the relatively empty museum. My escort was approached by the security service within a few minutes and escorted to the lockers. And I too was stopped when, at the end of the visit, I wanted to go to the toilet and fix my hair again.
The content of the museum in its permanent exhibition deals with plastic design. And somehow I felt a little betrayed to pay about 10 euros for a small exhibition of this kind. It’s like visiting a Germany museum and it’s all about one federal state. That was the biggest disappointment for me next to the return of the horror, about which I will once again report separately. Somehow a Mosel package among the museums and I could not take much of it because I’m not such a big fan of plastic in the field of interior design. The temporary exhibition was still under construction when we were there. This was okay, but also did not put off the label fraud of the permanent exhibition. So we were pretty disappointed afterwards, because we are not fans of plastic design, and honestly expected more variety from a design museum.