In December 2019, my boyfriend and I went to Brussels for an extended weekend to date, get some rest and to see the Christmas markets. You can read here all the information about this weekend and here the itinerary of the first day of the trip.
On the second and last day in Brussels (monday), we woke up early because we wanted to enjoy all the day. We put everything in our backpacks and checked out at the hotel. We requested at the reception to keep the backpacks for us so we don’t have to carry them around all day. Then, we left the hotel and went to have breakfast nearby at Le Pain Quotidien that is a famous Belgian bakery chain created in 1990. We asked for two cappuccinos and two croissants .
The first stop planned for the day was at the Atomium. We took metro line 6 near the hotel and we got off on Heizel station. The Atomium is a landmark building constructed for the 1958 Brussels World Expo. It’s 102 meters high, was designed by André Waterkeyn and the architects were André and Jean Polak. It’s possible to visit the inside and we bought the tickets online in advance for the 10.00h visit. During the visit we walked inside some spheres that are part of the building and where you can see an exhibition about the Expo58 and how the building was built. From within the spheres you can have very beautiful views of Brussels.
After finishing the visit, we took the metro again to the Parc du Cinquantenaire , our next stop for the day. It’s a public garden built in 1880 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Belgium’s independence. On one side of the park there is a triumphal arch and a U-shaped building housing The Royal Museum of the Army and Military History. We were able to see and take photos to the arch and a part of the garden until it started to rain a little and we left the park to take shelter.
When the rain calmed down, we walked towards European Parliament (about 15 minutes walk from the park) but before we passed through Parc Léopold, a small garden with a lake on the front of the parliament. The parliament admission is free, it doesn’t need a reservation and has an audio-guide in all languages of the European community. At the entrance, we needed to go through X-ray machines, open the backpacks and, after that, we went to another queue for admission. We were asked for our citizen card and then they gave us a yellow sticker saying Visitor to be placed in a visible place during all the visit. After the admission, it’s possible to leave the backpacks and coats in the luggage storage.
The visit to the parliament is worth it for the amount of new information you learn. For me, the highest point is the visit to the hemicycle, which is the room where all the deputies are at conferences (we have seen this room on television several times ).
Visit to Parliament concluded and we were already hungry. We had planned to eat meatballs which is a typical Belgian dish (the original name is ballekes) but there were no good restaurants in the area. So, with the help of Tripadvisor we found one near the Grand-Place called Ballekes and went there (we still had to walk 🚶♀️ about 20 minutes to get there). Small restaurant but tasty and appealing food!
When we left the restaurant it was almost 15.00h. We made a quick stop at the Manneken Pis who was already wearing an outfit that allowed to see the statue (don’t understand? I explain this here). After that, we went to the Christmas markets again because we wanted to buy some decorations 🎁 to bring for us and for our parents.
The sky was already getting dark and on the way back to the hotel (to pick up the backpacks) we made a detour to go to Mont des Arts again. I wanted to see the Christmas lights on and got it! Obviously, the exhibition was a lot more beautiful with the lights all blinking and changing colors.
We just went to the hotel to pick up the backpacks and then we walked to the Gare du Midi to take the train to the airport. Our return flight to Porto was at 21.35h so before we boarded we ate a hamburger for dinner. Unfortunately the flight was delayed a little but it reached its destination. We were tired due to walking more than 20kms a day but on the next day we went to work .
It was a small vacation, but it was enough to relax and have another destination crossed out from list . We would have liked to go to visit Ghent, Bruges or Antwerp but it wasn’t even possible with the time we had. It’s an adventure for another day!
To see all posts already published about Brussels click here.