What to do with 30 hours in Brussels?

Aug 16th, 2003, 07:25 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
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What to do with 30 hours in Brussels?

My girlfriend and I will be connecting through Brussels on our way to Italy. We land about 8:30am on a Wednesday, and leave at 2pm on Thursday.

What should we do with the 30 hours? I definitely will hit the Grand Place, and see the boy who can pee (sorry, forget the real name!). We want to sample beer and chocolate, too!

I know that Brussels is known for mussels, but we're going to be there 8/27-8/28, and the mussel season doesn't start until September. Are the mussels served in August OK?

We'll be staying at the Sheraton near the US Embassy (using points), but we're willing to walk/train all over the city to check things out.

wizzy is offline  
Aug 16th, 2003, 08:06 PM
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The statue of the urinating boy is called the Manneken-Pis. If you want to get a strange look from your hotel receptionist, ask her how to get to the Heineken Pis statue.
smueller is offline  
Aug 17th, 2003, 04:53 AM
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After you settle in your hotel room, ride the downtown city bus tour first so you can figure out which places you want to return to for a longer visit:

You can eat food of almost every ethnic type on the street with all of the restaurants. Someone can say the name of the street.....butcher street? It is gimmicky & touristy, but so what? You can get your beer, chocolate & whatever you like there. Or you can eat at one of the places in the Grand Place.

I would not eat mussels in August unless they were frozen because the water in August is warm and the mussels are mushy and mealy. If you want frozen mussels, maybe its best to just have them at home.
sneeky is offline  
Aug 17th, 2003, 05:44 AM
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The mussels are excellent and fresh. Transportation goes with large cooling trucks right from the place where the mussels are picked in the province of Zeeland in The Netherlands, so it's only a short trip for them! Besides, the sea water is never warm in Belgium/The Netherlands!
Mussel season started somewhat earlier this year because of the good weather conditions in the spring.
Apart from Aux Armes de Bruxelles and Chez Léon, I would avoid eating at the Beenhouwersstraat (rue des Bouchers) - Butcher street where sneeky refers to - at all means. Most of the restaurants are way overpriced and are usually for tourists only.
Aux Armes is an institution known for great mussels and frequented by the locals.
Chez Léon is also typical for mussels.
Bon appétit!
MyriamC is offline  
Aug 17th, 2003, 11:35 AM
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Sounds like a good plan so far. Also, one of our favorite spots is La Morte Stubite, a bar/pub in Brussels. I can't remember exactly were it is because relatives took us but it's not far from the Grand Place. They have great Belgian beer!
swalter518 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2003, 12:09 PM
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I totally agree with MyriamC!
martinewezel is offline  
Aug 17th, 2003, 02:44 PM
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I'm glad to hear that the mussel season started early this year, and we'll definitely check out the Aux Armes. Thanks for the tips.
wizzy is offline  
Aug 17th, 2003, 03:44 PM
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I'm sure you know that this is the warmest summer in decades, so I'm not sure I'd eat mussels in August of this year. Miram is right about Arms of Brussels and Chez Leon, which are across the street from each other and they're the best on rue des Bouchers, but I like seafood places near Square Catherine. Just walk to find what you like.
QuikTrips is offline  
Aug 17th, 2003, 07:12 PM
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We were in Brussels and Brugges in June and people were eating mussels then. The musical instrument museum is very interesting and there is also a cartoon museum. The waffles are outrageous. There are stands all over.
Ann1 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2003, 01:12 AM
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Quiktrips, no need to be worried about the temperatures. We're back to normal: a litte sunshine, a little rain, ... This is Belgium!
MyriamC is offline  
Aug 18th, 2003, 09:07 AM
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Hi wizzy,
we just came back last night from a rather spontaneous 2 day trip to Belgium (now that I live in Cologne it's only a 2 hour drive).
Up until Brussels was kind of a blank spot on my inner map and I was amazed what an interesting city it is!

I second the suggestion about the hop on hop off bus tour. Decide whether you want to see the comic strip museum (some of the most popular comics in Europe come from Belgium/Brussels) or the Horta museum (art deco). But mostly: just wander around!

You'll come across murials (isn't that the word?) with comic pictures on the walls of houses and architecture from a range of centuries.

For some coffee and/or beer or cocktails try this area, the place St. Gerry. There are bars, pubs and cafes on every corner with people sitting outside until some time in September. Relaxed atmosphere. Peoplewatching.

Between April and September the town square and its buildings are illuminated at night to the rythm of classical music.
There are two sessions of aproximately 15 minutes each night (between 21.30 h and 23.15 h, depending on the sunset).

Have a good lay-over and a great time in Italy!
Kascha912 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 08:13 AM
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I'd spend an hour at the Grand Place, then hop in the car and drive to Brugge
ekellyga is offline  
Aug 26th, 2003, 08:33 AM
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The Grand PLace and Mannekin Pis are not far from each other at all...in fact, the center of Brussels is quite compact, so that with 30 hours you can see quite a bit--there there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and even the museums all within walking distance of each other.
allovereurope is offline  
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