Manneken Pis, Mont des Arts, Royal Palace of Brussels, Bourse Stock Exchange, Broussaille Mural, another Mural, La Cycliste Statue Outside Scott's Bar
On Wednesday my family arrived in Brussels, and so did the rain. It's been gorgeous weather so far with the odd bit of rain here and there but this week was cold and rainy...they brought the Irish weather with them. They had such an early morning landing in Brussels at 9:30am. My brother stayed with us instead of getting a hotel room which was really nice to spend some extra time with him. We brought them back to see our little space we're calling home and then headed to Scotts Bar, where the boyfriend now works which luckily meant we passed 3 tourist attractions - Manneken Pis, Grand Place Square and Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. After a coffee for my mam and a few beers for the lads we headed out on a walking tour. Walking tours are free in Brussels but they do ask for a tip if you've enjoyed it. We know some of the guys who work the walking tour and it's been something we've wanted to do but decided that we may as well wait for my parents. The tour was three hours long with a quick break in Scotts in between. It brings you around the main Brussels Central for the first half and then down to the Royal Palace for the second half. I highly recommend going on the walking tour if you visit Brussels, to learn about the history of Belgium and the different stories and rumours about the city. There's more information about it here if you are interested.
The Atomium, Close up of Atomium, 360 views, Mini Europe, front view of Royal Palace of Brussels, The EU Council building, Hôtel Chamberlain by Paul Hankar, Grand Place
The next day we did the bus tour, it has two lines bringing you all around Brussels. To be honest it wasn't as good as the walking tour but it was nice to sit down for some of the day while being able to see some new places. The most impressive was the Atomium. I've wanted to go since I arrived in Brussels myself but everyone had already been so I was delighted to go with my family. The Atomium is a statue type building that was constructed in 1958. It's over 100 metres tall with spheres rooms and tubes connecting them. You can get a lift up which takes 22 seconds to reach the top and then you have a 360 degrees view of Brussels. It was gorgeous! Beside it is Mini-Europe which we didn't get a chance to see that day but we saw it from the Atomium and it looked pretty cool. I'll be going back in the next few weeks! Later that night we went to Brussels Grill on Place Debrouckère, incredible service and even better food. I definitely recommend going for a bite to eat some evening.
Brussels Town Hall in Grand Place, Grand Place Square
Friday was a more relaxed day, we did some shopping, ate lunch, drank coffee.... My boyfriend managed to get his shift switched so instead of being off at 4am he was off at 7pm and booked a table for us at Hemgie's, we had heard rave reviews about this little burger and steak place so were dying to try it. We left with clean plates, full bellies and no complaints at all, it was delicious! It is recommended that you don't go if you are in a rush as they don't rush their cooking. We spent the day in Bruges on Saturday, which you can read all about in this post that has so many photos of the beautiful city. My brother and I headed back to Brussels for the night and while on the way out for a drink we walked through Grand Place during a light show. It was amazing! Standing in the middle of the square while on the buildings light up in a sequence which went to the music being played. Grand Place has an incredible atmosphere at the weekends anyway with everyone sitting around with a few drinks but this took it to the next level. I posted some videos over on my Facebook page here. I shed a tear leaving my family at the train station to the airport, it was so nice having them here and showing them around where we live. We're hoping to have a visit home in a few weeks so I won't have to wait too long to see them again!