Mostly known for beer, frites, and chocolate, Brussels offers all of this and more. Whether it’s from the history-filled streets or hidden gems found right under your nose. You’ll be sure to have a diet filled with frites, beer, and waffles. In this blog post, I share some of my favourite things I learnt while in Brussels as well as my favourite places within the city.
Throughout our European travels we made sure to do any Sandeman Tours that were offered in the cities we were visiting. And of course, we were not disappointed. Our tour guide Adrien shared with us the crazy history of Brussels, random city facts and some of his favourite things about the city.
Here is one of my favourite “history” stories we learnt while on the tour:
During the First World War, Germany was trying to invade France and the easiest way for them to do so was to go through Belgium. Now, King Albert I was a cousin of the German Kaiser. In a handwritten letter the Kaiser “asked” Albert to allow for safe & easy passage for his army through Belgium (and he promised they would try not to destroy his country too much). Now for some backstory, Belgium was a very small country with less than an eighth of what Germany had (in terms of military power etc). Albert replied via letter with only the following words, “I am a ruler of a nation, not of a road”. Albert knew that they stood no chance in winning against the German invasion but he stood his ground and fought for his people. What surprised the Germans was that it took them longer than expected to pass through Belgium. (Woo go Belgium!!) After the War when the Allies won, Albert was on the winning side of the table while his cousin the Kaiser was on the losing side. What Adrian (our tour guide) told us, was that it’s okay to know you are going to lose. Because there are some battles you WILL lose and that’s fine. As long as you stay true to who you are. That’s what Albert did and why I believe he is a total badass.
Here are some other interesting facts about Brussels:
- Did you know that they were the ones that created “French Fries” and not the French? (More commonly known as frites throughout Europe)
- The real reason Belgium is the EU capital is that it begins with the letter B? True story.
- Belgium is a very big comic book loving country. In Brussels, you can find over 50 murals of comic book characters/scenes around the city (some more hidden than others)
RECOMMENDATIONS WHILE IN BRUSSELS
- Find your favourite brew at Delirium Cafe (with over 2500 drafts). For someone who hates beer, I actually found a beer I liked!
- Indulge in some frites & waffles (My fav places are pictured below). There’s a great waffle & churro place RIGHT NEXT to this frites place.