If You Can’t See the Big Five in Africa, Enjoy the Big Four in Brussels, Belgium
Everyone talks about seeing the Big Five in Africa, and yea that would be pretty awesome. To see a lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros on a safari in the middle of the Sahara would be a huge check off the bucket list. However, if that trip is not scheduled on your calendar just quite yet, you can always head to Brussels instead for what I like to call the big four: beer, waffles, chocolate, and fries.
I have never seen so many beers on tap in my life! And there are so many different types! Talk about a history lesson. I learned more about Blondes and Ales in a few hours in Belgium than I ever had at any brewery. Technically, you could go anywhere in Belgium and have a huge selection of beers to choose from but you must check out Delirium Cafe while you are in Brussels. They hold a Guinness World Record and have over 2,000 beers on tap. A bit of caution: some of the beers have the same alcohol content as wine. My two friends and I did not realize this and all ended up quite sick that night…which is putting it mildly. Just make sure you are aware of what you are drinking. The menu is literally the size of the song book used for karaoke and definitely bigger than any dictionary I have seen. Pretty daunting, but totally worth it.
Yumm. I am salivating just thinking about these waffles. That’s kind of gross I apologize. Personally, I enjoy finding random shops along the streets, so I don’t have a particular favorite place to get them. If you do know of a particularly awesome waffle shop, please feel free to share the name of it in the comments! There are many shops near the Grand Place in the main square and Mannekin Pis, so I enjoy my waffle and people watch at the same time. Pro tip: Make sure to get ice cream on your waffle! Yes, it is insanely rich but the contrast of the warm waffle with the cold ice cream or gelato is just perfection. I also like to add nutella and banana as well; I basically break the bank and go all out for these things and then feel pretty sick for the next couple of hours. Once again, so worth it.
Take a day trip to Bruges, Belgium, and walk around this fairy tale land and all of the cute chocolate shops that line the streets. In 2009, my Spanish teacher in Barcelona told me that Bruges was the most beautiful place in all of Europe. It had been my mission since then to come to Bruges. The city and the plethora of chocolates did not disappoint. Try both the truffles and pralines, the two signature types of chocolates. Rick Steves really breaks down the shops in Bruge, so if you are looking for the best or the cheapest or the most famous, definitely check out his page online or in his guidebooks. At least that’s what I did, and I was more than satisfied.
When its cold and rainy outside, and you have eaten an exorbitant amount of sweets, there is nothing better than the sight of the warm smoke billowing out of a frites stand and the smell of fried oil and salt. Be sure to check out Fritland right near the Grand Palace for some top notch frites. While I love a side of ranch with my french fries, you won’t be getting any of that with your frites. Instead, you will have mayo and ketchup as dipping sauces which combined makes a nice thousand island type dressing as well as a variety of other sauces and toppings.
Bon Appetit! And if you have any personal favorite places to find these indulgences in Brussels, please share in the comments below!
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