The capital of Belgium, Brussels is a grand dame and a hot spot for trendy European weekend getaways. It is the heart of European culture, headquarters for the European Union and internationally known for its sublime chocolate and libating beers. There are over 90 museums to pore over, stunning parks to saunter through and stylish restaurants and cafes to haunt. Brush up on your sexy French accent as Belgium is bilingual, having both Dutch and French in everyday speech with a miniscule smattering of German spoken.
You can get to Brussels from anywhere in Europe by train, plane and even by ferry. In comparison to Paris or London, Brussels is the cheap option. It is a mecca for shopaholics, museum addicts and comic strip book fanatics. One of the busiest cities in Europe, Belgium presents a double-sided face of contemporary nuances with age-old historical influences.
Beginning its life as a 10th Century village, Brussels has morphed into a powerhouse hub of international business where cobble stoned streets are the backdrop for towering glass corporation edifices. This in turn has created a society where one third are non-Belgian and cultural differences create a mish-mash diversity. The weather is temperamental to say the least, somewhat schizophrenic with its heat, rain and weeks of snow. Bureaucratic by nature, the Belgians love their paperwork, pretty stamps and police checks.
The STIB Inspectors on the metro will scare you to death even when you have your ticket in your hand, mammoth moustache bearing marching bands will hog the roadways, outrageously quirky shop window displays will haunt your nights and the landmark statue "Mannkein Pis" will send you over the top when dressed as Elvis. For those lacking in funds on the odd occasion, you can count on a beer and a bar snack constituting as dinner for some.
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