Friday, 19 June 2015


Whenever someone mentions Belgium, the first thing that comes to mind is neither the European parliament (although it ought to be since I'm an International Relations student!) nor the Manneken Pis (its most iconic landmark). Instead, it's none other than its... waffles!!! Food is one of the greatest impetus for me to travel to a certain place - so Belgium definitely got me all excited. 


The 1st thing we did upon our arrival in Brussels was to look for waffles! (Technically, we didn't actually look for waffles - they were everywhere.) 

With regard to waffles, we only came to realise on the 2nd last day that the €1 plain waffles were the best. Cheap and good, and you get to taste the luscious waffle batter in its totality. Yes friends, don't bother trying the nutella/chocolate/caramel waffles that are overpriced. (At most, you can get your own nutella from the supermarket...) 

Of course, we had to visit the iconic Mannekin Pis to take our mandatory tourist shots. (Although I honestly do not know how to appreciate things that you can't eat, read, or explore.) We hung out at the Town Hall, visited the traditional flea market at Jeu de Balle (where someone unzipped my handbag in a failed attempt to pickpocket me), walked through the high end shopping arcade known as Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, experienced the informative tour at the European Parliament, stumbled into a couple of surreal looking parks and got scammed (apologies for the exaggeration) by the 1st person we met at Rue des Bouchers (a tourist food market known for its "tourist traps"). All in all, Brussels is a pleasant place where everything is pretty much easily accessible by foot. However, nothing in particular (not even its most beautiful architecture) managed to take my breath away like their waffles did. 


Bruges was gorgeous, even with the gloomy weather. We went on the Canal Boat Tour and climbed the never-ending flight of stairs up the Belfry Tower (Yes, I appreciate the act of inching further and further away from the ground), tasted their well-known Moules & Frites (mussels and fries), walked its stunning streets and camwhored in a random park (We love parks!). What made our experience in Bruges triumph over the one in Brussels were the rows and rows of apartments that (sometimes) deluded me into thinking that I was in a Disney movie. The pictures we took didn't do justice to its splendour (it's the dull weather, I believe), so the above is a fairly representative picture that I took off google!


It was a tough decision whether to visit Ghent or Antwerp (due to our tight schedule). I'm glad that Ghent did not disappoint! The Saint Bavo Cathedral was pretty average (I don't think any cathedrals can actually amaze me anymore - not after I've seen the awe-inspiring, one and only, Sagrada Família.), but I was intrigued by the Gravensteen castle (especially the torture room). What made our day even more awesome was our immensely satisfying €12 lunch (that's considerably cheap for a meal in Belgium) at a decently classy restaurant, Restaurant De Graslei. 

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