In the past days the news flash on our Amazon Echo has been talking about Brussels. The city is at the highest terror alert after the attacks in Paris. People were advised to stay away from train/bus stations, airports and not to gather around public places. Metro service and underground streetcar services have been interrupted. Last Saturday, the city was nearly empty since stores, bars and cafes closed down after 6 p.m.
This is the Grand Place in Brussels on a typical night. Can you imagine what’s it was like last weekend?
Lately, we have been bombarded with awful news around the world; Paris attack is just one of them… a long list for terrorist attacks happened this year. It is unimaginable for people who happened to be in those areas and it is heart breaking to hear their stories.
As a traveler and someone who encourages family travel, I had to pause and wonder as to what this means to people who love to travel. Would these incidents change their perspective towards travel? Is it still safe to travel or is their such a thing as safe anymore? I honestly can’t answer these questions for you but if you ask me, I’d say that my family will continue to travel the world. My hopes and plans for my children haven’t changed a bit. I still wanted them to explore the world – to learn, to have fun and discover the unknown.
Let no fear change the way you live!
On a lighter side, I have been wanting to share our trip to Brussels in spring this year. We love this city especially my kids:) When you asked them now what they like about Brussels, they’ll both answer, “waffles, chocolates and the pee-pee boy”. They will be screaming the pee-pee boy. hahaha
And here are my family at the Atomium, symbol of Brussels and Belgium.
Here are some of the few things we did during our visit:
Grand Place – one of the beautiful historical old squares in the world. It is Grand indeed!!! I wish I could get a shot of the whole square but it just seemed impossible from where I stood:)
Tip: Illumination is every hour from 5 to 11 pm from Monday to Thursday and every 30 minutes from 5 to 10:30 pm from Friday to Sunday
Garden of Mont des Arts – it’s my favorite place in the city. It has amazing view and there are fine restaurants around the area.
Brussels Park – a gorgeous park in the middle of Brussels; encircled by the royal palace, the Rue Ducale, the palace of the Nation and the Rue Royale.
Atomium – symbol of Brussels and Belgium. It is a unique piece of architecture and is today the most popular attraction in the Capital of Europe.
Tip: If you decide to go to the top then you better go early morning to avoid a long que. At night, 2970 lights offer a fairy dimension to the 102m high building. The panoramic restaurant is daily open until 11pm.
Mini Europe – a must see especially if you are traveling with kids. We had fun looking at each miniature and read the history about it.
During this trip, we didn’t do any tours even though we only stayed for 3 days. However, we made used of our time going to nearby attractions. We rented an apartment across La Monnaie De Munt Opera House and just 2-3 blocks from Grand Place and from there we got to see so many things.
Things you can do around Grand Place:
1. Have some waffles, coffee or any Belgian pastries you wanted to try at Aroma Coffee Lounge.
Tip: Get here before 10am and you will get to relax and enjoy Grand Place without too much crowd.
2. Check out the ever-famous small statue of a naked little boy, peeing into his fountain. THE Manneken-Pis, finally!!!
My kids were giggling while watching. It may not be as spectacular as we expected it to be BUT to our kids it is the best sight ever. Lol
Tip: To see the original restored version of Manneken-Pis, along with his collection of costumes from around the world, head over to Museum of City of Brussels at Grand Place.
I guess I should say we got lucky to see him wearing all our national costumes (the Filipino for me, the Portuguese for my hubby and the American for my kids) since the museum rotates the displays though the 800+ costumes in his wardrobe . However, I am not quite sure what Philippine costume he is wearing… I don’t think it is our “barong tagalog”, national dress of the Philippines. Oh well…
Tip: It might be fun too to check out the Jeanneke-Pis, a peeing girl statue and the Zinneke Pis, peeing dog.
3. Check out Everard t’Serclaes, it’s the 14th century Brussels hero and tradition says that if you touch or rub the statue, it brings you luck.
4. Try some of the best Belgian chocolates like Neuhaus chocolates. Lucky for us, a good old friend based in Brussels gave us some of these tasty goodies to treat on. Yummy!
5. The famous comic series, The Adventure of Tintin, by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. You can see Tintin inspired murals all over the city. So cool…
Tip: There are a lot of fun Tintin guided tours to take if you are a big fan:)
Anyhow, Brussels is definitely my kids favorite city so far:) My girl, Arianna has been asking me already when we can go back so she can show the Manneken-Pis to her American Girl doll. What a Life!!! We are blessed, indeed!!!
Thank you for reading and buzz me anytime if you need my help for your upcoming travel plans. Brussels or anywhere in the world.
Happy and safe travels.