My train into Brussels had arrived around 10am, and after a quick check in into my hostel and an afternoon in Bruges, I was finally back and in search of dinner. I found a family run restaurant down one of the cobblestone laneways and ordered a meatball stew and red wine. The friendly waitress brought over a basket of bread and olive oil with a generous glass of the house red. I was happy to indulge in this lovely teaser all the while watching 2 older ladies scrutinize and pick the menu apart, before both settling on steak and a bottle of red wine. They were speaking in Italian, unfortunately I had no idea what they were talking about but they looked to be old friends perhaps having their weekly catch up. My meatball stew arrived with a generous portion of chips. I had eaten too much bread. However I was determined to finish the lot, being on a shoestring budget, I couldn’t afford anything to go to waste. Luckily for me the hostel was down hill from here. I left with a very full and satisfied belly, head buzzing.
I woke early the next morning making sure I was on time for the free buffet breakfast the hostel had. It was a standard buffet, probably minus the bacon. It was delicious though. The tea tasted even better, probably because I’d been having coffee the last couple of days. After my third cuppa I headed off.
Brussels is well known for it’s Comic Strip. All over the city are random buildings with famous cartoon strips painted on. For those of you who aren’t already aware from my previous posts, I am a huge fan of street art. Public transport was not on my radar at all today for fear of missing out on seeing the amazing talent of these street artists. The first was on the same street as my hostel. From here I took a right turn and walked the cobblestone road into the heart of Brussels. I passed by the famous statue of the Manneken Piss; a fountain depicting a little naked boy peeing. I remember learning about this cheeky (no pun intended) attraction back in my tourism class in 2008.
I pushed on along passing Belgian chocolate and waffle shops. It was here that I found the next comic strip, my personal favourite, Tin Tin, Captain and Snowy. I pushed further along and stumbled on a comic museum. I decided to head in and admire the impressive collection they had on offer, from The Smurfs to Tin Tin to DC and Marvel. My inner geek was starry eyed. Upon exit I picked up a map which showed exactly where all the comic strips were scattered, there was no way I was going to manage to find them all as not all are located within the city center but I was determined to find a few.
I took a left turn out of the museum and weaved my way through tourist crowds and into an LBGTQI community. I was in love. The street crossings were the colours of the rainbow instead of the standard zebra colours. I found yet another comic strip of a gay couple, and down another street were very realistic quotes of the suffering that this amazing group of people have to endure. It was heart wrenching to read some of these people’s realities but all the while refreshing that we are in a day and age where this can be publicly discussed.
I circled back to the city center and grabbed a glass of cider, settling down outside a pub to rest my feet. Cobblestones are not fun to walk on, even with the right shoes. From here I back tracked to the streets I had walked before just in the opposite direction. This time around I picked up on new comic strips I had missed previously a I had my back to them.
The walk led me back to the main station I had come into but this was purely to snap up some street art of more Tin Tin moments. I’d spent a lot of time on my feet at this point. En route back to the hostel I passed by a carnival. The ferris wheel looked quite high and thought it would be a good vantage point, it was. It also allowed me a few minutes to come off my feet. By this time I had earned myself a Belgian waffle with chocolate, ice cream and whipped cream dusted with icing sugar. Again I was grateful for my hostel being a down hill walk.
It was an early night for me to rest my feet and ready myself for my next destination, a journey into the Netherlands.