Notes to self on Brussels
As I have a friend living in Brussels and it's only an hour by train from Antwerp I checked it out. Brussels feels quite a lot bigger than Antwerp. It also feels very different, probably because it's more French than Dutch influenced. Brussels is one of the centers for the EU which I'm sure makes them proud.
Belgium is famous for Belgium beer. They're also famous for sweet beers. Given I'm not much of a beer fan I was really happy to try sweet beers. I tried Cherry, Mango, Raspberry, and Banana. The easiest way to describe them is like someone took a soda and added a couple of tablespoons of beer. I could taste a little beer but mostly they just tasted yummy. I wish those were more popular elsewhere. Actually they didn't seem all that popular in Belgium either. Most places carried Krieg which is the cherry beer but few places carried any others. Some Belgian friends told me they're basically considered "girly drinks". That's fine by me. I prefer "girly drinks". I'm going to drink what I like not what someone tells me I should because of some random ideas about what's "manly".
It's hard to say what stuck out about Brussels. I visited the Atomium which I thought was AWESOME! It seemed right out the Jetsons and that 1960s retro sci−fi. The kind that inspired tons of kids to become scientists and astronomers.
I don't know why much else didn't stick out for me. I liked walking down in the touristy area with tons of restaurants in cramped alleys but I didn't actually eat there and apparently its all a ripoff and only for tourists. I'm sure I would still have enjoyed it.
There's some great views
Otherwise it did seem to have a nice downtown area with lots of restaurants, open late on weekends, and a crazy lively nightlife.
I'm at little surprised I don't have more to say. I visited the EU's "Parlamentarium" which is a museum on the history and formation of the EU as well as info about the EU's political structure an stuff like that. Maybe because I'm not a citizen I didn't find it all that compelling. I spent one day in Brugge and I caught a cold and was stuck in bed for a couple of days so I guess that explains it.
I did check out the Musical Instrument Museum. What makes it interesting is they hand you a customized iPod/Phonesized Tablet with headphones. You walk through the museum looking at the instruments and when you walk up to an exhibit the device will display an image of one of the instruments and start playing some sample music using that instrument. The only disappointing thing is there's no samples for the most interesting and strange looking instruments where as there's 25 examples of various stringed instruments and 20 different wind instruments which sound only subtly different than each other. Still, it's in a neat building and worth checking out.
I also checked out the Horta Museum. It's Victor Horta's old house which means it's relatively small as a museum but I was interesting to learn about Art Nouveau and how Victor Horta is one of the most famous architects of that style.