It certainly feels like I went away absolutely ages ago and I’m not sure if that’s because January was the longest month ever, lasting approximately 216 days, or because it actually was quite a while ago and I didn’t post about it till now. Who knows, eh?
I had such a lovely time away in Belgium with Cameron, as you may have read about in my Antwerp post, but we actually stayed in Brussels for the main part of our trip.
I’ll keep this short and sweet and pray that someone is actually here reading this for me – apart from my Mum, hey Mum, will ring you later! I thought I’d share some of my favourite photographs from my trip though with a little bit of information about the places too, just in case you want to visit too!
Hope you enjoy!
City Sightseeing Tour:
I don’t know about you but one way to explore a new place quickly is by going on the a sightseeing tour, whenever I went on holiday with my family to a new place we used to go on sightseeing tours of the city. It is a lovely way to explore quickly, you get given headphones to listen to different information about the places. Plus if you like the sound of one of them you can hop on and hop off whenever you want to go explore more.
We decided to do this in Brussels and all of the sights below were ones we saw or heard about through the City Sightseeing Tour Routes!
The Atomium is a ‘unique creation in the history of architecture and emblematic vestige of the World fair in Brussels’ and ‘the nine spheres represent an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times and was built for the 1958 World Exhibition’. Information sourced from Visit Brussels. It also offers panoramic views of the city and you can explore each different sphere on your way to the top.
We didn’t actually go in unfortunately due to long queues and a lack of time but it’s still an impressive structure from the outside – has anyone explored the Atomium before?
Basilica of Koekelberg
The Basilica of Koekelberg, otherwise known as the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart is ‘the fourth largest church in the world and the largest Art Deco building ever built.’ Information sourced from CitySightseeing Brussels.
I read online about the panoramic views which the very top of the Basilica offered visitors. We had to pay €5, a lost in translation moment meant I actually didn’t pay to visit and Cameron did – oops! He wasn’t impressed! The views were spectacular and I was very glad that we went up, we could see the Atomium in the distance too!
Triumphal Arch of the Jubilee Park
‘The Jubilee Park or Parc du Cinquantenaire, was named for 50-year anniversary of the independence of Belgium in 1880. It marks the border between the EU quarter and the municipality of Etterbeek.’ Information sourced from Europedia.
We had seen the arch whilst googling things to do in Brussels and knew this had to be one of our stops, we went to see this on the final day of our trip and thankfully the weather cleared up just as we arrived! Don’t you love it when people offer to take your photograph for you?
‘This is a bronze statue made in the 17th century by J.Duguesnoy and is famous across Brussels – he even has a wardrobe of about 846 costumes!’ Information sourced from Citysightseeing Brussels.
My Mum and Dad told me about the statue before we went so we had to go and see it, the surrounding area of the fountain was lovely and festive too. When we were there we also found out that there are two more statues which make up the ‘Pis’ family, Jeanneke Pis and Zinneke Pis. These two statues are of a little girl squatting down to wee and also a dog against a post, which match the Manneken Pis statue of the little boy weeing.
Japanese tower, Chinese pavilion and the Museum of Japanese Art
These three buildings have been ‘linked to the cityscape of Brussels and were asked to be built by King Leopold II and designed by Alexandre Marcel. Information sourced from CitySightseeing Brussels.
It was a little disappointing as the buildings were actually fenced up so you could no longer go in but they were still impressive structures to go and see. The walk from these buildings to the Atomium is also quite nice and isn’t too long so you can enjoy a nice stroll between attractions if you don’t want to spend all of your time on a bus.
War Heritage Institute: Belgium, battlefield of Europe
I couldn’t not mention this place which we visited during our trip, one because it was by pure coincidence that we came across it and two because it was so interesting to explore. We came across this exhibition whilst visiting the Triumphal Arch and actually popped inside a neighbouring building for warmth. For more information visit the War Heritage Institute website.
You can imagine our surprise when we were greeted with hundreds of old aircraft and vehicles. Cameron of course was in his element and I too enjoyed having a wander round exploring – we even got to sit in a Hunter MK 4 Cockpit Procedure Trainer.
Those are the main things we went to see after hearing about them from the tour bus but we also explored some other areas of Brussels too, including the Christmas markets. The Christmas markets were also a wonderful thing to go and visit and of course, no trip to Belgium would be complete if we didn’t have a Belgium waffle – we had ours topped with chocolate and strawberries and it was delicious!
We had such a good time over the few days we were in Belgium and it was really nice to be able to explore two different places in one trip.
I’ll finish this post off with some more photographs in a gallery below so you can see some extra snippets from our trip. If you have visited Belgium and Brussels or Antwerp specifically, do let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading and to answer your question, yes it was extremely cold and my hat, scarf and mittens were permanently attached to me!
All photography featured in this blog post is my own.