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EUROAD Trip 2023: Brussels

Submitted by Bethany on Wed, 08/16/2023 - 10:14

From our morning in Luxembourg City, we had about a three-hour drive to get to our final stop on our trip - back to Belgium, but this time in Brussels! 

The first place Steve wanted to go was the Atomium. This structure was built in 1958 for the Brussels World’s Fair and like many things built for World’s Fair’s in the past it wasn’t meant to last past that event. However, it proved so popular that they made sure that it stuck around. It has now become an iconic symbol for Brussels. 

Their website describes it best, so I’m going to quote that here:
“A landmark in the Brussels skyline, a monumental structure halfway between sculpture and architecture and where the cube flirts with the sphere, a remnant of the past with resolutely futuristic looks, a museum and exhibition centre: the Atomium is both an object, a place, a space, a utopia and a unique emblem in the world which - ultimately - escapes all form of classification.”

It really was very, very cool, even if we did see it on a very gloomy and rainy day. 

At €16 a person to go in we decided to pass on going up, but I am glad we stopped by! 

Strangely, Joel and I were just as fascinated by something nearby. Something else we had never seen before…an outdoor urinal. Yes, that’s right, a place for men to do their business just in the middle of the sidewalk, with all the privacy of a bus stop. Like, just, what?? This blew our American minds, but Steve didn’t think it was that weird. 

After that we went on a quest to find a reasonably priced hotel for the night, ideally somewhere that also had a place we could charge our car. We ended up finding one not too far away, we even had a view of the Atomium from our room! It was not the nicest place we stayed on our trip, but it worked for our last night. 

We had plans to go to Steve’s friends for dinner, but like, European dinner, meaning after 7:00. Joel and I are still Midwesterners at heart so we tend to eat dinner around 5:00. So Joel ventured out and attempted to find something to tide us over, but everywhere within in walking distance was closed and he came home wet and empty-handed. Thankfully, we still had crackers and plenty of Gouda cheese from our time in The Netherlands so we ended up chowing down on some of that with Steve until it was time to leave. 

It took some trial and error to find their apartment but when we finally made it we received a lovely warm welcome from Ellie, Rhys, and their three-year-old daughter. They made a delicious curry and rice and it was so nice to have a home-cooked meal after almost two weeks on the road. I didn’t take any pictures of their place but it was so modern and stylish! 

After dinner we took a walk through the city that took us to the Square des Blindés. In the middle of a small pool as the Anspach Fountain - dedicated to the memory of a former mayor the city back in the 1890’s. It was originally placed somewhere else and moved here after a new metro system was constructed. 

Our endpoint was a cafe where we could order hot chocolate - and not just any hot chocolate. This was not your typical cocoa powder whisked into hot milk, we got served actual chocolate and a glass of steaming milk and you go to make your own!

You had to stir quite a bit to get it all melted…

But the final product was worth it!

We all loved it but I don’t think anyone enjoyed it more than the little one!

We spent a leisurely hour on the patio enjoying the sunset, then the cafe lights, and all of the people wandering past. Across the square from the cafe was a pizza shop and I couldn't resist taking a photo of this sign for my mom. 

When the sun was gone and it was getting towards 10:00, we walked back to our car and called it a night. It was a short but very sweet time with some of Steve’s friends. We made it back to our hotel and settled in for our last night abroad, tomorrow we go home on the ferry!

XOXO, Bethany