Boarding at Luxembourg (Gare Centrale), the next stop on this magical vacation was Brussels, Belgium. Belgium, known to many for beer, chocolate, and waffles, offers more than meets the eye. Great architecture, a ton of Unesco World Heritage sites and, a long history, just waiting to be discovered.
Arriving in Brussels Nord, you begin to see the robust nature of the city. The station is packed, like many other train stations in a European summer. Making your way past large crowds and unto the street, you get a sense of the city. The streets packed, people are buzzing and, the cities charm begins to take effect.
Staying at the Saint Gery Boutique Hotel is an excellent choice for its proximity to great restaurants and nightlife. I found this little gem via Hotels.com and it didn't disappoint. The staff was so kind and helpful and very good at directions.
The first stop was Atomium. It was the site of the 1958 World Fair. The Atomium brings large crowds and has something for everyone. Go to the very top and have a seat to one of the world's best light shows. Combo tickets are available for Atomium and Mini Europe.
Mini Europe is a favorite to many, myself included. There are miniature versions of most European monuments as well as a description and background behind each. If your dreams are to visit the entire continent, here is a good start.
After heading back to the city, next up was the famous Manneken Pis. To get the best shots, go early as the crowd becomes overbearing at times. During the year, the statue dresses for special occasions. There are other statues like it, Jeanneke Pis and Zinneke Pis.
On day two, the Waffle Factory provided breakfast and fuel for the long day. Standing in the Grand Place, eating waffles became a surreal experience. The Grand Place is home to the Gothic City Hall, as well as other famous buldings, now home to bars, restaurants, and museums. Here is where you will find some of Belgium's best chocolate.
After leaving Grand Place, wander through one of the many alleys and see where it takes you. Brussels is home to some creative street art. If going at it alone isn't your thing, most walking tours begin at Grand Place. Street tours gives you an idea of what you're looking at and the history being it, rather than just a name.
After walking for the day, head back to the hotel and look no further for nightlife. It's hard to miss the noise sometimes right below your window. Halles Saint - Gery, brings excitement to the area. After dinner, you can head there for a drink and a vibrant atmosphere.
On the third day, take advantage of a day trip. The cities of Bruges, Gent, and Antwerp are great choices.
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