Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Brussels; Mont des Arts, Place Royale, and Palais de Justice

Hi guys! This post will be heavy with pictures. After walking around the area of Grand Place I started going up the hill towards the Parc de Bruxelles. It was so hot and sunny outside that I couldn't help it but be attracted to that big patch of green.

I will not comment much because words are useless. This beautiful public place is called the Mont des Arts and is about one block west from the Bruxelles-Central train station.

When you cross the street I believe is the boulevard de l'Empereur (streets can change name at any point in Brussels so sometimes you're not sure which name to use) you find yourself in the Mont des Arts garden which gives access to the Royal Library of Belgium.

Keep going up (or south) and you're basically getting closer to a bunch of museums and the Place Royale. I wanted to go to the Instruments museum but it was closed that day. Apparently you can have access to the top floor and get a beautiful view on Brussels.

A view on the Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg church.

The Instruments museum. Beautiful right?

Details of the church entrance.

A view from the church towards the Mont des Arts. You can see the Hôtel de Ville on Grand Place from there.

Unfortunately all the rock and concrete made it hard on me to stand the heat so I kept walking towards the park. On my way there I gazed upon the Palais du Roi (King's palace). Yeah, that's where King Philippe lives.

After almost getting ran over by cars and buses on this big ass street, I went into the park and sat there for a moment, enjoying the freshness of the green and looking at people taking a break just like me. I didn't take pictures of the park though. It was pretty normal. Just big and green with ponds and small random child-like statues.

Once my brain and my knees cooled down enough I started walking towards the Palais de Justice. On my way there I came across the church Notre-Dame du Sablon.

To be honest there are a lot of churches in Europe ... and a hell of a lot in Brussels (go take a look on Google Maps you'll see what I mean). After the second day they all started looking the same to me.

Right across the church is the Place du Petit Sablon, an adorable looking garden with statues all around. If you look closely at the pictures below you might see some of them hiding between the bushes.

People would simply sit down and chill, enjoy the fresh air provided by the green and the fountain. It's pretty boring actually but it just feels great. Behind the fence you can see the Palais d'Egmont.

And so I kept walking towards the Palais de Justice.

Unfortunately it has been under renovation for such a long time that people are just used to seeing it in that state. They probably don't even remember what it actually looks like.

And here's a mandatory war related landmark. Because we have to.

While looking at the monument some man started talking politics with me. I have nothing against talking politics, but it was European politics. Actually it sounded more like a rant against the EU and the little capital more than anything else. I kept telling him there was nothing I could say because I am not European but he wouldn't listen to me. He needed to rant.

I kinda needed to go down the hill but didn't want to do the whole detour. Lucky me there is an elevator on the north side of the Palais de Justice!

As I went down I started walking towards fries. I wanted some fries so bad. In Brussels they have friteries, little permanent stands that sell fries and sandwiches. That friterie was located by the church Notre-Dame de la Chapelle.

I had a cone of fries with sauce andalouse because my host had told me to go for that sauce. Apparently people bring back home pots of that sauce because it's so good. Actually yeah, it is good. The fries were not so awesome, but it felt good to just sit down, have a snack, and look at the pigeons pecking at bits of fries and bread.

Once my feet were rested enough I started wandering around again. I didn't have any plan. I didn't know what I wanted to see. I was just tired haha. Still I managed to come across some interesting findings, like this brand new building constructed next to an old tower which, according to the plans, will be conserved and integrated to the project.

Or that wall, because everyone knows Belgium is the motherland of comics (or I like to see it as the motherland of comics).

The sun started hiding itself and clouds started coming out. I came back to some street I had randomly come across because there were a bunch of restaurants and I needed to actually eat something (and sit somewhere so the rain doesn't get me). I don't remember the name of the place but I sat down and got myself a bottle of Gueuze because, among all the beers I was told to try, it was one of them.

As I looked at the menu I saw chicken Waterzooi. Being the foodie that I am I obviously had to try something traditional. Now I can't tell if the one I had was authentic, but at least I have an idea of what it's like.

Basically it's a stew with a cream and egg base. I think it's more of a Winter dish but you know what, I'm not from there, I do whatever pleases me. It was fine, but it's a recipe I would like to try on my own. In this preparation the vegetables didn't seem to be part of the stew : there were steamed apart and placed in the bowl with the chicken stew.

And so that's it for today! I'm sorry for the infinite amount of pictures, but I simply couldn't choose. I hope you guys enjoyed this tour of Brussels. Stay tuned for more!

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