Belle Ville, Brussels Belgium

7am-  the Grand Place

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3pm- the Grand Place

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11pm- the Grand Place

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Yeah, we really liked the Grand Place in Brussels. Out of all three cities I visited during Fall Break, Brussels is easily my favorite, my spirit city, my must-come-back. And I think I knew it the moment I stepped into the Grand Place (the central square) and freaked out like the art/history/government nerd that I am. Before me lay the physical manifestation of not only Gothic, Baroque, and Louis XIV architecture, but also the spirit of over A THOUSAND YEARS of markets, performances, sieges, kings, everything!

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Maison du Roi (king’s house) or Broodhaus (breadhouse). Yeah, Belgium seems to be endlessly confused about whether it is Dutch or French. It was neither a house for a king or a house for a bakery (though on site of the old bread markets) but a duke’s house built to symbolically counter the municipal power symbolized across the square by….

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…the Brussels City Hall. Ironically, the only building that withstood a French attack in 1695 that flattened the majority of Grand Place. It’s ok, Grand Place was eventually rebuilt by the guilds who also maintained the….

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…Guildhalls. Yay artisans and craftsmen!

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Belgium is the land of premium chocolate (it’s strictly quality regulated), waffles (with ice cream!), and the best fries in the world (not pictured because I scarfed them down too fast). I don’t think you need anymore incentive to book a flight to Brussels this very minute.

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Delirium Village. A street (rather a dead end alleyway) lined with bars that is actually one huge bar with different bar rooms for different types of beer. Seven bars, two thousand plus types of beer, three very happy American tourists.

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But hey, we’re classy and we go to sculpture gardens too.

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…and the museum quarter which of course was closed on Sunday like every aspect of European society. I guess I’ll have to come back for the Flemish painters some other time.

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We had less than 24 hours in Brussels so I made Ruhee and Maura wake up at the crack of dawn to explore even more. These were taken in the area where the split between “new” Brussels and the old city center happens. Brussels is also famous for being the executive capital of the European Union with a ton of the EU’s major political institutions (headquarters for NATO, too). So to sum up: political importance, cultural heritage to die for, a decadent diet to possibly die from, and the general cheery bustle of people. Brussels is my hometown from another life.

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