Abroad in Paris: Week 4

This weekend, Lena and I went to Belgium! We spent Friday evening and all day Saturday exploring Brussels and then on Sunday morning we checked our bags into a locker at Brussels Midi Station and hopped on a train to Brugge.

As soon as we arrived in Brussels, after our 4 hour bus ride from Paris, was go to check into our Airbnb. We opted for a room in someone’s apartment as a cheaper alternative, and it was interesting but not horrible. Friday night, we had one goal… mussels and french fries! With a suggestion from a friend, we ate at Chez Leon and it was everything we wanted!

Saturday morning we set out for the Grand Place, which we actually walked by at night, but obviously we wanted to see it in the daylight. We first stopped for coffee and waffles right off the main square. The waffles were out of this world! After checking out the Grand Place, we went to find the very strange, yet famous, Mannequin de Pis- which is essentially a tiny statue of a little boy peeing in a fountain. Apparently it is a very big thing in Brussels and gets dressed up for every occasion and chocolate shops even sell chocolate replicas. There is actually a whole exhibit at the Museum of History of Brussels dedicated to the Mannequin de Pis dressed in a bunch of different outfits. (Yes, it is as weird as it sounds.).

Later that day, we went to see the Atomiom which is a bit out of the city, but we grabbed the metro and it was actually pretty easy to get out there. It was pretty cool, but we didn’t really get what it was. Apparently it was built for the Worlds Fair. We decided to not to actually go in the Atomiom but we did have a nice walk around the park and then went back to the city center.

Back in central Brussels we went searching for lunch and stumbled upon a magical place called Fritland. Can you even guess what’s on the menu? Spoiler, they serve FRITES! Their specialty is actually the Frite Sandwich which was legitimately a baguette with a tiny bit of lettuce (a pinch), two “hamburger” patties (more like a mini breakfast sausage), about a pound of french fries, topped with spicy mayo/cheese sauce. It was absolutely delicious but massive, we definitely could have split one. After lunch, we walked around a bit (to walk off the french fry sandwich) and made our way back to the apartment.

Earlier in the day we heard about an event called “Museum Night Fever” which we decided to buy tickets for. You pay a flat fee and got access to all of the museums and shuttles between them after hours. We stopped for Thai food and then began our after hours tour of the museums of Brussels. We went to the Brussels History Museum, the Manuscript Museum and then the Opera House which was doing a light and sound show. The Manuscript Museum was actually my favorite because it was a museum full of letters written by famous and historical figures. (We are talking Napoleon, Louis XVI, Victor Hugo, Claud Monet, Picasso, Voltaire…).

Sunday morning, we woke up, packed our bags and went to Brussels Midi Station to check our bags into a locker. We then jumped on a train to Brugge, which is just North West of Brussels. After a bit of confusion as to where our train platform was, we finally made it onto the train and we were off. Unfortunately we didn’t think about the fact that it was Sunday, and half the city was closed, but we still had a great time wandering around the city and admiring the Finish architecture.

(Here is the fun part…) We got the train from Brugge back to Brussels knowing we would have about 30 minutes to spare in the train station to grab our bags and catch our bus back to Paris. Unfortunately when we arrived back at Brussels Midi we realized we didn’t know where the bus was picking us up and apparently neither did anyone working at the train station (frustrating). Long story short, we missed our bus back to Paris so we called the bus company to see if there was another bus coming but it wouldn’t be leaving Brussels until 4 AM. So we sucked it up and bought 100 euro Eurorail train tickets back to Paris. The funny thing about the whole situation was that we actually got back to Paris three hours before we would have if we would have made our bus…

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