Not too long ago now, I attempted to compile a list of all the cities I’d travelled to and through. That was the easy part. Next up was deciphering exactly what it was that I loved and/or loathed about said cities. There were a few that had absolutely nothing to dislike and near the top of the list was Brussels, the Capitol city of Belgium.
With a population of just over 1.2 MILIION, Brussels is the political capital of Europe along with being one of the major financial hubs. When I arrived into the city from the airport, I checked into my hostel and headed for the streets. It didn’t take long to find colour and excitement at every turn. Brussels is home to Tin Tin and buildings all over the city are adorned with some of the most outrageously beautiful murals and street art you are ever likely to find in the world, let along Europe.
Street performers are at every turn and two guys that stood out for me were a rap dancing, beat boxing and football loving duo who happily incorporated all three into one brilliant routine. They had quite the crowd in wait of their every move and drew a loud cheer with every new trick. These guys took street busking to a whole new level!
Along the way on my week long sojourns around the back streets of the city, I stumbled along some of Europe’s finest record stores. Now, we’re not just talking generic HMV and Tower Records kids. I had hit the mecca for everything that was cool. Vinyl, books, jazz, blues, electronic, contemporary and all the other loves of my life were there to be found. One store in the city centre stocked copious amounts of bootlegs vinyl and CDs. Needless to say, I spent well over 800 Euro’s in that little gem as there were rare and hard to find items at every turn. Included were multiple Beatles box sets containing more than enough rarities to last me a life time!
Brussels is also home to the magnificent World Expo region which has seen the event roll into town on no less than three separate occasions. The first being in 1910 followed by another in 1935 and the final in 1958. The site is one of splendour combing fabulous architecture and great historical significance. It’s a short tram ride from the city centre and worth taking the time out to hunt down.
Should you build an appetite in Brussels then this is certainly the city to get hungry in. The food was magnificent and reasonably priced. Beer however was not as cheap as other European cities but hey, if the cost of a beer is your biggest concern then you are doing alright yes?
With Belgium being a relatively small nation, you can easily find any number of short train journey to Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent and Liege. The train tickets are cheap if you go for a day return as well. Inside the city of Brussels itself, it’s more than easy enough to find your way around on foot. Mind, if you have had a big night out and you are feeling the pinch then never fear because Brussels holds one of the cheapest and most efficient public transport networks in the world.
Nect time you find yourself with a spare few days, head to Brussels and see for yourself just how welcoming and beautiful this city truly is.