Greetings from Belgium – home to the worlds most magnificent chocolate, waffles, fries and beers (also known as comfort food central). It still hasn’t sunk in that I’m really “here” and my stay will be less than a full weekend, but I’m still very excited.
After staying up on Thursday night until 3 and a quick siesta in the cab to the airport, Los Chupitos arrived at Brussels international airport by 5. Less than three hours later the distinct, sweet smell of waffles infiltrated our noses as soon as we stepped off the plane and into the natural sun lit terminal. With just our backpacks and smiles upon our weary faces, we ventured down to the train station and figured our way into Brussels. We had decided to meet up with the boys at their hostel in the city because we couldn’t check in until later, but the general lack of direction and signage in Brussels had us more lost than anything.
After finding Grand Place – the center of Brussels – we searched for a bar, restaurant, hotel, pretty much anything with internet to let our friends know where we were. Luckily for us, we found an Irish Pub, O’Reilly’s, with an English speaking bartender to give us directions and the password to their network. Sooner rather than later we were sitting down engulfing our first Belgian Waffle at a lovely little restaurant named Drug Opera – we don’t entirely know what the name means, but it’s probably just a severe case of Engrish. We all decided to order a waffle with whip cream, chocolate, and ice cream. The lemon tinted waffle was covered in the ice cream and whip, and they served us a side of steaming hot chocolate to drizzle over the sweet sensation. While I was busy taking pictures of our sweets, Jess and Erin dove in. Their “mmmmms” and “ahhhs” with each bite made me put down the camera immediately.
After our scrumptious breakfast, we met the boys in Grand Place to walk around. Prior to coming to Brussels, I had compiled a list of things to do and see, but other than that there was no general plan other than to have fun. They had been there a half day longer than us and had found the famous Mannequin Pis statue around the corner so we decided to walk there. I was pissed (pun intended) about the size of the statue – it was less than a foot tall – we were all expecting a grand sculpture of some sort, not some tiny corner dedicated to this famous landmark. In all honesty, I would have missed it just walking down the streets if it weren’t for the large group of Japanese tourists crowding around it.
By the time we were done with the minuscule statute it was time to check in so we trekked to our hotel. Even though our accommodations at Hotel Le Grand Columbier were great (definitely recommend it for the price and hospitality), it was very difficult to find. It was between two main roads on a quiet alley and the alley name did not match the one on the website. Twas a wild goose chase to say the least.
After dropping our bags off and grabbing some warm clothes we headed back out on the road to find some waffles for the boys and the cathedral. Once Sam grabbed his raspberry waffle, which smelled absolutely divine, we were on our way once again up the hill to the church.
We walked around by ourselves, gazed at the marvelous stained glass and ended up whispering to each other in the pews talking about God, our pasts, and the trip. Our deep conversation ended up making us hungry so we returned to a quaint restaurant on an alley off of Grand Place. Though the food was delicious, it did not compare to our previous waffles and chocolate, however meals are more about the conversation and people you are with than the food.
After realizing we had spent over two hours in that cozy booth, we decided to head back to our hotels and take a quick siesta before venturing out on the town. We had all heard of this place called Delirium Village which holds the Guinness Book of World Records for number of Beers served with over 2000 different types. Both Sam and Kevin boasted about how great it was last night so we decided to meet up there but not before having another waffle (best one yet). We ended up meeting tons of people and ran back to our favorite waffles and fries place around the corner before piling into bed.
Today we’re off to the city of Brugge – about an hour outside of Brussels. I heard it’s absolutely stunning and will post as soon as I get back!