I first saw Brussels with its astounding Grand Place when I was ten years old. And I never forgot it. I didn’t go back until December 2019, and I must say I was just as thrilled as when a child. I couldn’t find postcards of Brussels that do it justice, to my mind, which was disappointing as I’d like to share with family how fabulous this square is. I will just have to offer what my phone camera could get. Below, six photos on the Grand Place / Grote Markt, and two other city shots.
In December 2019, I was treated to the gorgeous five-star hotel The Metropole (that I chose!) on the Place de Brouckere that closed, permanently, during the pandemic. Now, January 2023, I was trying a hostel, La Troupe Grand Place. The location, though certainly not on the actual Grand Place, was terrific, right on Blvd. Anspach, nearly in sight of the Bourse and an easy walk to the opera house, La Monnaie – De Munt. I reached it by city bus and a short walk, after transfering from Charleroi airport to downtown by Flibco bus. It was a good choice, and I’d stay there again.
This trip was all about attending the opera. Online I’ve seen performances from De Munt that I would dearly love to have attended, so I was very excited about getting there. The performance was Tchaikovsky’s Yevgeny Onegin, an opera I like very much. Can’t count how many times I’ve listened to Kogda bi zhizn performed by Peter Mattei at the Met and in Vienna. We all have our favorites! No point in arguing this one with me. I’m happy to say that the cast and performance in Brussels was completely satisfying.
Of course, Brussels isn’t just stunning medieval architecture (much rebuilt after damage) and world-class opera, it’s also fine lace, outstanding French food, and CHOCOLATE and WAFFLES. I went light on the food, and I managed to not buy chocolate because I first filled up on what I would not miss, my first true Belgian waffle in Belgium. After reading up online, I decided Maison Dandoy should provide my first waffle, and I went to their location in the Galeries Royales. There was a line, which was expected. The wait – and the price – were well worth it. Absolute perfection.