In 2008…….. 7 frickin’ years ago!….we went on a university trip to Belgium. For educational purposes of course. Ahem, however…Simon and I instantly thought….”hmmm, Belgium = BEER!” Brilliant!
So to be honest, it wasn’t the most cultural of trips, and towards the end the lure of so many different types of beer was too much. Accidentally dropping and smashing a bottle of beer in from of our lecturers on arrival at our hotel isn’t one of my proudest moments… for shame.
Nonetheless, we managed to squeeze in some cool places. After getting lost in the city centre we randomly stumbled up on the Atmonium after taking a mystery metro journey out to the suburbs.
So it turns out that the stainless steel Atomium was built way back in the 1950’s for the 1958 Brussels World Fair. It represents the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times and is 102 metres high.
Inside there is a permanent museum featuring photos and exhibitions of Brussels and post-war Europe in the 1950’s. The museum leads up to the top deck where panoramic views of Brussels can be had. Other temporary exhibitions are held as well. At the moment the Modernika exhibition reflects on the influence of American architecture in Brussels after World War II.
To be honest the museum is quite underwhelming, but exploring the structure (aka getting lost) and admiring the views from the top make it worthwhile.
Brussels is most commonly known as the headquarters of the European Union. It is here that government heads from across European come and debate, eat, drink and laugh about the problems facing the European Union. All provided by course by the evil Global corporations….mwahahahaha, take that peasants!! Realistically though, it is the powerhouse of Europe and it is fantastic to see that all countries in the European Union have the common goal of peace and stability.
The Grand Place in the heart of Brussels is a magnificent city square, in fact I’d say that it’s probably the most ornate in Europe. The stunning square is dominated by the 96 metre high Town Hall, which is topped with a statue of St. Michael slaying a demon. And on the opposite side lies the City of Brussels museum, built in the 19th century. The square is flanked by ornate 17th century Guildhalls, which were restored after much neglect in the 1890’s.
Come the end of our day in Brussels it was time to go back to our accomdation in the small city of Leuven. Leuven is a popular student town, and it is home to one of the most popular beers in the world – Stella Artois. And so of course, after a long hard day of sightseeing there’s nothing better than a cold beer. But wait, what?! You can get a metre long stick of beer?! SOLD!
So after the metre stick of beer we decided it time to sample more of Belgium’s many, many beers. The night started out good, sampled some of the Leffe varieties, which were looovely. Note this was before the “craft beer” revolution so to taste different types beers was quite the experience. In our naivety we didn’t take into account the strength of the beers….soooo the night results in alot of table top dancing and the molesting of public statues. Ahem, we won’t go there…..
The following morning we were dragged out of bed and marched to the airport for our flight home. And so came the end of our brief, but exciting Belgian trip. The thought of one more beer in the airport was too much, and I gently slid away and found some rest space….
So, have you been to Brussels, or anywhere else in Belgium? You most likely saw much more than we did in our brief time there!