Since I have lived in Luxembourg for the past year or so, whose central location allows one to easily travel to Europe’s various capitals, about a month ago, it was Brussels’ turn to be discovered and indulged in.
Despite only spending a weekend in the Comic City or the European Capital as you are mostly likely to refer to the city, Brussels did not disappoint.
Considerably smaller that Paris or London, Brussels seemed to be the city of relaxed and creative people, a bilingual place for street signs and the local administration, but whose inhabitants tend to speak languages from all over the world.
Yes, Brussels is very international and cosmopolitan, but truth be spoken, despite the melting pot of cultures that live together in one place, the city is very successful in remaining uniquely Belgian.
As a first-time visitor of Brussels, I quite liked to see that the city was happy to feed my preconceived stereotypical views with regards to Belgium and its culture, showing me the way to numerous chocolate shops, cartoon shops and the Comic Strip Center.
Yes, I did expect to see ‘Tin Tin’ (a fictional character in the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé) displayed in store windows across the city as much as I expected to find waffles and Belgian beer on sale literally everywhere.
And I truly enjoyed seeing how people in Brussels have a strong sense of humour, are liberal, funny and seemed quite happy to be living in the Comic City.
But since I usually like to have a fair share of touristic attractions and genuine hot spots for the locals, I also tried to discover the city from as many different perspective as possible, trying to imagine how it would be like to make Brussels my hometown.
Overall, I very much enjoyed life in Brussels, and to its own advantage I think the city is larger than an ordinary city, but way smaller than other European labyrinths.
Here’s some pictures of the city, showing places, moments and generally the vibe of a place where good food, many sorts of beers, fine arts, history, science and urban culture successfully co-exist.
Manneken Pis (literally Little Man peeing) is a famous Brussels landmark, read more about it here.