Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Brussels Diaries: Day 4 - Friday 15th May 2015

You know how they say, a picture speaks a thousand words?  Well, after yesterday's chocolate waffle, it's time for a strawberry one.  FOR BREAKFAST.  Life, obviously,  is good.

The good thing about going room-only in our hotel means that we can try out various breakfast dining options.  And when in Belgium.....well any time's a good time for waffles!!

We had some unfinished business from yesterday: the second route of the Brussels sightseeing bus tour.  Yesterday's route took us around the north of the city and up to the Atomium, while today's route takes us southwards in the direction of the European Parliament and back into the city centre, visiting some of Brussels' historic buildings, including the Palais Royal (below)

To get the full picture of Brussels and see as much of it in a short time you really need to do both routes of the sightseeing bus tour.  Today we're on the 'Europe' route, and we eventually arrive at the European Quarter, the home of the European Commission and all its associated buildings.  There is a visitors centre here for anyone who's into that sort of thing, but we're just happy to take the weight off our feet and stay on the bus.  With a blog title like EuropeCrazy you'd probably have expected us to leap off the bus and head straight to the visitors centre.  But time is short today, so here's a picture of the European Commission instead, as our bus passed it.

At the end of our bus tour we run the gauntlet in a very busy Rue des Bouchers for lunch.  Some of the waiters' "persuading" is verging on harassment and even subtle threats.  I don't ever remember their behaviour being so blatant on previous visits to Brussels, but it's made my mind up that we will not be dining here tonight!  And as it turned out, our lunch was very bland :(

After lunch we have one more must-see trip, to the Belgian Comic Strip Centre.  Belgium is very famous for its comic strips, the most famous of course are Tintin ....

and the Smurfs ...

...which are both celebrated here along with some lesser known comic strips like the amusing Boerke (or Dickie as he's known in French) which gets its own little exhibition.

Sections of the centre are dedicated to the journey of a comic strip, how it starts off life as a rough doodle and turns into an often sophisticated art.  There is also a temporary exhibition upstairs devoted to Polish comic book artist Rozinski and his epic Viking saga "Thorgal".

I wouldn't really call myself a comic strip/comic book fan, but you have to admire the talent and the work which goes into the creation of these works, and for that reason alone the Belgian Comic Strip Centre is well worth a visit.

Sadly time is getting on and we are on the last night of our holiday *sob* so after a coffee stop it's back to the hotel to do some packing and get ready for our final evening meal of the holiday at a very nice Indian restaurant just around the corner and down from the Rue des Bouchers.

Sorry no exterior pics but here you go, have a picture of some onion bhajis :)

That was just the beginning of a very delicious evening meal.  We couldn't fault the food we found in Brussels, but I would say that if you're going over there for a trip, check out some restaurant reviews on Trip Advisor and make a note of what you fancy and where to find it.  It will save you a lot of hard work and unneccessary searching when you get there!

Even though our holiday is over, it's Friday night and we still have some 'beer research' before the end of the night.  In a fine old bar just off the Bourse area south of Grand Place, I finally encounter Kwak.  Which is a famous Belgian beer served in a very unusual 'test tube' glass.

There is a good atmosphere in Brussels city centre on Friday night although as in most cities you should always take all the relevant steps to stay safe, and do your research in advance to ensure that you keep away from the 'danger' areas.

We take a late night stroll around a busy Grand Place before our final beer of the evening.

It would have been very tempting to stay out a lot later but we are going home tomorrow so we call it a night at just after 1.00 am.

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