The streets of Brussels are filled with great design. From the diverse architecture to the giant cartoon murals around every corner, Brussels is a visual delight. The typography of this local drugstore really caught my eye. Drugstores are often marked with the generic "Drogueries" in Belgium and France.
Brussels — or Bruxelles — is highly underrated as a tourist destination. The compact core of the old city is very walkable and it's easy to keep your bearings as the tower on the main square — or Grand Place — is almost always visible, peaking out over nearby buildings.
On your visit to Brussels, you'll find Trappist beer, chocolate, french fries and waffles around every turn. A lot of good stuff comes from Brussels!
For military buffs, the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces is pretty amazing. If you're from America, you'll see a lot of military vehicles that you've likely only seen in the movies, such as a Russian Hind Helicopter or an assortment of MIGs. They even have one of those funny-looking German tanks from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Brussels may not be a destination city on your bucket list but it's a great central starting point for any European vacation. Spend 2-3 nights in Brussels before heading off to France, Holland, Germany or England and you won't be disappointed!
If you ever visit Brussels, check to see if the Hotel Metropole is available. It's the oldest hotel in Brussels and one of the first luxury hotels in the world. In 1890, two microbrewing brothers opened Cafe Metropole in order to sell their beer. It was such a success that five years later, they bought the adjoining bank and turned it into a luxury hotel named Hotel Metropole.
Taking the open-air cage elevator to your room as it soars through the lobby is like stepping back into the Belle Epoque world of the Great Gatsby. This photograph is a detail of the chandelier, moulding and wall paper of our suite.
My mind is still with the people of Brussels today.
This building, the Maison du Roi (or House of the King) anchors the main plaza in Brussels. The plaza is called the Grand Place and is bounded on all sides by buildings representing the original guilds of Brussels.
You might recognize this little guy from your local garden shop. His name is Manneken Pis (little urinating man). The original lives on a quaint corner in the heart of Brussels. He is a symbol of Belgian independence and defiance and seems quite appropriate today. My heart and thoughts are with the people of Belgium today.
You can learn more about Manneken Pis on Wikipedia.
This photograph was captured with a tiny Canon digital camera.
If you ever plan a trip to Brussels during the summer, try to schedule it during the Ommegang weekend (typically as June turns to July). We had no idea what Ommegang was and were absolutely amazed as we stumbled upon it after dinner one night. It's a medieval procession through a medieval town, ending in a spectacular show at the Grand Place (the central square of Brussels).
These stilt walkers were so high that other men on stilts would walk right between their legs.
This photograph was captured with a tiny Canon Digital IXUX 30.
Belgium is highly under-appreciated on the world stage as a tourist destination.
Let me ask you a question.
Do you like the following?
- French Fries
- Free bar snacks
- Public street art
- Comic books
- Waffles with chocolate while drinking a beer?
If you answered yes to any of those, add a visit to Belgium — Brussels (or Bruxelles) in particular — to your next European vacation because you will find all of the above at every corner.
This photo is just one of a dozen buildings throughout Bruxelles that has been turned into a life-size comic book.
This photo was captured with a Canon PowerShot SD780 IS.
Brussels has a design aesthetic like no other. Take, for example this restaurant façade that looks more like a European playhouse than restaurant.
We made it to Saturday! Celebrate with an Absinthe "cocktail" from The Royal Cocktail Bar!
When most people think Brussels, they think: "is that somewhere in Europe?" What they don't realize is that Brussels has brought us chocolate, waffles, trappist beer and french fries!
Brussels is also one of the most design-centric cities in the world. Can you imagine any other city painting the trunks of their trees to match the nearby pathways and walls?
BONUS: Are you thinking about getting a drone this holiday season? If you are, I put together a quick video as part of Edison Nation's "25 Days of 520 Elliot" web special on how to keep it safe and make sure it doesn't enter "Return to China" mode.
You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vevsL4_mgAo