New Year's Holidays in Brussels

Spending New Year's in Brussels seemed like a grand idea. But I have to disappoint you right at the beginning: it wasn't as good as we expected. What was the problem? The COLD! It was below zero all the time and since we are adventurers, we couldn't stay inside in some warm place all the time. No, we were exploring the city, doing trips to other cities ... and ended up with a flu (me, Katarina) and a bad skin condition on Rok's fingers.

So, all in all: we do not suggest you to visit Brussels in winter, but when you go there, don't miss the following stuff⁄sights:

- Atomium is a huge steel creation in the shape of body-centred cubic unit cell, just like α-iron crystal (or with another name: ferrite). So, as you might know, I'm a student of Chemistry, so let me explain this body-centred cubic unit cell to you: this means that atoms of iron (Fe) are placed in all the 8 vertexes of the cube and last, the 9th atom is placed in the center of this cube. So, Atomium looks like this; there are 8 steel spheres in the vertexes of the cube and one sphere is in the middle.
It was built in 1958 for World Fair (similar as Eiffel Tower in Paris a few years earlier) and since then it symbolizes modernity and Belgian economic and scientific progress. Until now Atomium has became the symbol of Brussels and whole Belgium.

Atomium in the shape of ferrite crystal.

- Grote Markt means Grand Place and this is the spot, where the sightseeing in Brussels starts. For us the place was nothing special, because we've seen many similar medieval market squares before. Well, the buildings that encircle the square are in Gothic style and kind of like from a fairytale :) and it even nicer in this festive winter time, when everything is decorated with lights and the square is a host to a Christmas market ... all that makes the atmosphere there very pleasant.

Christmas market offers is all: from mulled wine,
hot dogs to souvenirs and art
Town Hall on the Main Square

- hot chocolate and chery beer. When you need a rest from the sightseeing, find yourself a bar and treat yourself with delicious Belgian hot chocolate or try typical Belgian beer: Kriek cherry bee.

Rok is excited to try hot chocolate
Mhm, cherry beer ...

- A must see museum in Brussels is museum of cocoa and chocolate: Musee du Cacao et du Chocolat, where you can see how Belgian chocolate pralines are made. And if you want to buy some of the best pralines, head to Leonida's - it's not cheap, but still affordable and delicious!

Chocolate mass is ready to be used
Pralines are being made
- Manneken Pis and Jeanneke Pis are statues of an urinating boy and girl, respectively above two separate fountains. Manneken Pis is older, probably from medieval times, however Jeanneke Pis is just about 20 years old and was put up to equalize the genders in the city :) There are quite some number of legends about Manneken Pis: one of them says that a little boy was urinating on the house of the witch and she petrified him.  Most possible reason for building an urinating statue, however, was to point to the pool, where urine was collected and then used for softening the leather. Nowadays Manneken Pis probably has more dresses than some women, since he gets one for every holiday or celebration. And it is quite often that instead of a water, there is beer flowing out of him ... well, after all it's Belgium, the land of the beer :)

Manneken Pis in one of his dresses
Jeanneke Pis
- when you've seen it all, you can rest in a park Parc du Cinquantenaire (Park of the 5th anniversary). Park is known mostly for its Arch of triumph which was built on 5th anniversay of Belgian independence in 1880. We visited the park in the evening, when the arch was nicely illuminated and peaceful.

Arch of Truimph in Park Cinquantenaire

That's all from us, yet if you are still interested in Brussels, you can scroll down through a few more photos:

Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Cœur is a combination of neo-gothic style (thin towers)
and Art Deco (huge dome)
Fair in Brussels
European Parliament
European quarter

 St. Michael and St. Gudul Cathedral

Yes, we also tried real Belgian waffles! Real delicious stuff :)



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