Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Last weekend was a rail-trip one.
This time I didn't climb the heights but I "climbed" the map, all the way up to Belgium and The Netherlands.
I did this so I could see the Flower Carpet in Brussels and also some friends from the Benelux area.
The Flower Carpet is an event that takes place every other year, and since I could not see it last year during my 4 month stay, I wanted to make it up to my tourist-self this year.
After a 4h train ride (1h for a station switch in Paris), I arrived in the heart of the (still) Belgian capital.
The city center was crowded like I've never seen before, nearly gave me agoraphobic symptoms.
Anyway, after a good 10 min "swim" in the "human being swamp" I managed to reach the Grande Place and see the sea of slightly faded petals.
I was a bit disappointed that there was no blue in the combination, but the entire design was nice and the image in its whole quite impressive and difficult, if not impossible, to catch with a non-wide lens camera.

In fact, it was necessary to get onto the City Hall balcony in order to have a nice view; this also gave a good opportunity to see some of the awesome interiors of this City Hall, which is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside.
The opening night, on the previous Thursday, would have been another great moment, thanks to the light/sound/fireworks show. So, it still needs to be done another time.

I'd like to use this post so I could share my infinite knowledge once more regarding some things in Brussels.
What's to see?
The City Center, with Grande Place/Grote Markt, the bladder-issued statue of Mannaken Pis, The Royal Palace (open for visits in August), Brussels Park; for culture fans there's the Magritte Museum (Modern Art) and some other museums (all in one place)...really like a Museum Mall and the Cathedral
A little further there is the somewhat big Cinquantenaire Park;
and even further:
  • The Atomium (whose interior doesn't worth much, also the view from up top isn't that interesting)
  • Mini Europe which is quite fun
  • for the far-oriental culture passionate, the Chinese Pavilion and The Japanese Tour which are pretty fascinating
Generally, the restaurants in the central area are tourist bluffs which is also true for the 7-layered waffles.
All the restaurants near the Royal Galleries are far from being true restaurants there more like a fast-food type of wannabe Belgian restaurants.
Concerning the waffles, the Brussels ones, are rectangular and rather crispy and the Liege ones are softer, rounder and sweeter (there are actually chunks of sugar inside) and the only traditional coating is sugar.
Other pure fat Belgian specialties are the French Fries, which I personally find nauseating, and the Chocolate, which ranges from brown sweet fat paste to pure ecstasy.

This brings us to the last but definitely not the least Belgian key product: Beer. There are more than 600 types of beer, so even if you say that you hate this beverage there's one that you'll find attractive for sure. There are Braseries everywhere in Brussels, and especially in the City Centre; some that I visited and enjoyed are: The Delirium Café (Guinness World Record for the longest Beer Menu), Mort Subite, La Porte Noire, Poechenellekelder...
This year I returned to the Délirium, and I was sadly surprised that on the Ground Floor (it's a 2, even 3, stories bar) only tap beers were served, and no bottled ones.

That should be all with this guide.
But I still have a question, a train related one: do you ever feel the need of taking off your shoes when you're in a train? Because I noticed this a lot and I am deeply intrigued by this practice. I mean, it's a shared space, I don't have a hidden desires of seeing other people's socks or toes, not to mention bringing other senses into question...


  1. Next time you want to take the magic flower carpet ride, let me know. I've only seen Brussels from a train window and i'm guessing it's better on foot...i'm sure i could benefit from your tourist experience.

  2. this time I was quite on a rush...promise that next time I'll let you know