2015 is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. As Brussels is the heart of Europe, politically, culturally and gastronomical, this is a great city to wander around, just be careful to stay in the tourist spots as it is easy to get lost and find yourself down a less than savoury side street. This happened to me a few years ago when I thought I knew better than my map (I have an annoying and ridiculous habit of trying to “beat” maps – including my sat-nav which drives my hubby bananas). I was trying to walk to the fabulous Comme Chez Soi restaurant via a short cut and after veering away from the Grand Place I ended up in a graffiti filled wee smelling alley with sinister music blaring at one end. Some shady looking individuals then came out of darkened doors and started walking towards me, sneering (or were they laughing at my inappropriately high heels?). I couldn’t retrace my steps fast enough! Honestly, it was like walking into a scene from an end of the world apocalypse movie and they had kindly supplied the scary soundtrack to further shatter my nerves! Comme Chez Soi, by the way, lived up to the hype with shockingly good food and crazy waiters who seemed to be swiging and enjoying the wine as much as I was (for medicinal purposes after my scary experience you understand!).
When I am feeling less dare-devil, I like to head to the Grand Place for the afternoon and marvel at the architecture. Then grab some fresh seafood paella with a beer in one of the many restaurant filled side streets. I finish with a local street waffle which are irresistible.
And of course, you must head 15km South of Brussels to the quaint village of Waterloo and celebrate this very special anniversary, the battle actually took place on the 18th June 1815 and around this time of the year there are always amazing reenactments with hoards of soldiers in old-fashioned uniforms parading through the village.
Stay at in luxury at Hotel Amigo for proximity to the Grand place and manneken-pis (famous but rather tiny statue!). The Dominican is also gorgeous and sat up another pretty side street next to the Grand Place with lots of original features and The Hotel. Brussels is located next to high end boutiques and away from the Grand Place with breathtaking city views.
You can reach Brussels flying with British Airways from London Heathrow or by hopping on the Eurostar and if you haven’t been, it really is worth the trip.
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