Days 13, 14, & 15 – Brussels

Day 13 – Brussels

  • Got chatting to an Australian guy at the campsite who was also cycling around Belgium – had been in France and heading for Antwerp, and helped me with some running repairs on my bike (he was a cycle mechanic)
  • Very excited about today, as it’s laundry day! You get very sweaty and smelly cycling, and if you can’t do a regular wash, that smell starts to permeate everything. Very nice to find a laundromat and go home with fresh smelling clothes!
  • Went to the Old England building for a coffee and a view from the panoramic, which was again a bit rubbish like the one in Ghent. Half of the view was blocked off by the restaurant, and you couldn’t even pass through because they had tables blocking the exits. Come on Belgium, you’ve gotta do better with these panoramics!
  • Also went to the Royal Palace, which was interesting, but I do tend to rush through these kinds of places quite quickly. I find them very garish and same-same – but if you like that sort of thing, go to this one 🙂

 

Day 14 – Brussels, visit to Waterloo

  • Early start, found a nice place for a €3 breakfast on the way from Gare du Nord
  • Brief trip into Grand Place as it is a lovely morning so took some photos, then to central station to get ticket to Waterloo (actually to Braine L’Alleude)
  • Really great museum at the Waterloo battle site, especially enjoyed the ‘4D’ experience – and I found a good panorama! This one was a painted canvas of the Battle of Waterloo, that extended around a large circular room – best panoramic so far!
  • Unfortunately the virtual reality experience was a bit rubbish – I thought you’d be able to take it outside with you and have the VR overlaid on the actual battlefield, but all you do is sit in a little room and watch it for 5 minutes.
  • Le Butte de Leon very impressive (and another good panoramic!)
  • Hougemont Farm very interesting and pivotal to the battle itself; they had the most over the top film presentation of the Battle at Hougemont Farm, full of rousing historical statements and ridiculous tech, but definitely worth the walk to the farm
  • Had a beer just outside the site, and a little incident with a waiter who didn’t understand my joking manner when I said the fact he couldn’t serve me chips with my beer was a disaster – I thought they’d run out, but he then went into some detail as to why it was impossible to serve chips by themselves as they were an accompaniment. Cuisine bureaucracy!
  • Great day!
The battlefield at Waterloo

 

Day 15 – Brussels – still!

  • Decided to stay another day as forecast was for rain today, and sun tomorrow and I much prefer to cycle in the sun
  • Waited for ages for a bus into town this morning, then realised it was a public holiday – managed to get one after about 45 minute wait, but another disaster, the good €3 breakfast place was closed. I did manage to find another nice one though…
  • Went down to the St Gilles area of town, and realised I’d really found some of Brusells’ everyday liveliness. My walk from Gare du Nord into town was always very desolate, then suddenly full of tourists. This part is just lively and interesting, looks to be a bit of an Arab quarter. I’d recommend a visit down here.
  • Went down here to see the art nouveau houses recommended by Lonely Planet but these were seriously underwhelming, although the town gate (Porta de Hal) and prison were impressive
  • Stopped for a beer (a daily habit now) then home
Market stall in St Gilles, Brussels
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