Yeah… It has been way too long, I know. But here are some quick highlights, “en vrac”, to make sure that we don’t forget about them.
1) Late, late night beer at the Chaff, Place du jeu de balle. I loved this place. The great thing is that “outside” means on the square and it doesn’t seem to close before 5 am. Inside, the music is unbearably loud but it is just perfect for creating some kind of techno-hip vibe outside – and believe it or not, “techno hip” goes very well with a variety of Belgian beers, lambics and krieks. We were there until 2am and the party was still going strong, in a very laid-back, neighborhoody way.
2) La Grand’Place
This square is by far the most impressive I have ever seen, especially at night. What makes it even better is that instead of being overrun by expensive cafes and those human bronze sculptures/aluminum robots we see everywhere (those are sooo 1999), it is actually packed with (local???) young people sitting on the ground and hanging out, sipping beer. The fact that the square is completely flat and bare with no trees, steps or building with a massive stoop gives it a very different feel from anything else I have seen in a large European city.
3) Late afternoon beer on Place Rouppe. I have no idea what this place is called but Place Rouppe is relatively small and it is a restaurant/bar with an outdoor terrasse adjoining rue du Midi. Good prices, nice food and a perfect spot to catch the late afternoon sun in a young, friendly and laid-back atmosphere.
Formica tables, a moody owner and delicious traditional food seemed like a great plan to us so we followed these recommendations and made the trek up to La bonne humeur as soon as we got off the train. Well guess what? They were closed for the summer.
One thing I’d like to do when we go back is to see more of the comic book murals. Brussels has many murals painted by the artists behind all my childhood classics and the style of these drawings gives a really cool feeling to the city.
We stayed at the Hotel Galia, also on Place du jeu de balle and although the comments can get quite negative on TripAdvisor, I found it a relatively good value for money – ok, the beds were awful but the room was huge and quiet, the neighborhood is a great way to see more than just the touristy bits while still staying in the center and it is only a 10 minutes walk from the Eurostar and the breakfast was served in an adjoining cafe and was great!
And what about the fries? Well if you ask me, I’d go to Bruges.