Joey's 28 Days in Europe | Brussels in 1 Day

Stay | Sleep Well Youth Hostel
I booked two beds in a 6-bed female dorm and a bed in the 6-bed male dorm. The room was okay, since we stayed in the female-only dorm, we were quite comfortable in it. The toilet has two shower rooms, so it's easier for us 6 females. They have this pretty cool young and hip city pocket guide, be sure to take one at the lobby! 

Transportation Metro & Tram | 
1 fare JUMP - 2.10€ per journey
1 day JUMP - 7.50€ per day
It is cheaper to buy at the KIOSK or GO vending machine than when on the public transport..

Useful App (iOS) | Ulmon (Offline map) | Brussels Transport Map (not the best but it has the metro map)

What to eat! | Beer, chocolate, mussels and frites. Anguilles au vert/paling in 't groen (river eels in green sauce), meat balls in tomato sauce, stoemp (mashed vegetables and potatoes) and turbot waterzooi (turbot fish in cream and egg sauce)

Info added are found in official website and is true as of July 2015, please check the official website again to make sure the information you have is the updated one!

image Recommended place to eat 
image Recommended place to visit
image Find the compilation of tips I have to offer at the end of this blog posts! 


We only managed to stay in Brussels for a day. Actually, it was two days in Bruges instead of 1 day in Brussels and 1 day in Bruges. But I noticed something on our train ticket (from Paris to Brussels). If you can see the box highlighted in pink, it says Ticket valid to/from any Belgian Station for one-way journey within 24 hours of our international journey. Well, better make use of the ticket right? So we made sure our stay in Brussels is under 24 hours, so that our next travel is free!

Buying the ticket at the ticket machine is a little tricky, it wasn't a problem for us but the other tourists were having a hard time. I think you'll do fine if you know which kind of JUMP ticket to buy. Oh, and have plenty of coins with you because the machine only accepts coins! You can of course buy it from the counter but usually it has a long line. 

Random walks and random discovery

Mont Des Arts
We actually stumbled upon this place by chance when walking to find lunch. Hurray for walking!

I know it's pretty weird to purposely walk so far to a museum to have our lunch. Plus we didn't even went inside the museum, just to the top floor! Enjoyed the panoramic view of the city of Brussels while having the local specialties. No entrance fee needed!
*Pictures of food and the panorama view gone due to lost laptop* x1567821

Our trip to Belgium would not be complete without stopping by at a chocolate shop! Leonidas is everywhere so it's easy to spot. Some other chocolate brands that is worth mentioning: Neuhaus, Marcolini and Wittamer. I never tried the others, only Leonidas but these are the recommended ones.

A pretty cool beer "museum" to visit. It is actually a brewery founded a long time ago (in 1900!) by the Van Roy-Cantillon family. The family still use traditional method of brewing and visitors will be able to witness the brewing process if they are lucky! The tour was actually pretty cool as the guide explained to us as how beer is done through natural processes. We get to try their traditionally made beer and fruit beer as well. They also sell their house products there but in limited amounts.

Our very own book guide, everyone is entitled to one copy. But I find listening to the tour guide more entertaining but we didn't time it right so we only got to listen to half of the whole tour.

Beers beers beers.

We drank four types of beer but unfortunately, I don't know which is which but I really like the original one that they served. Without gas. I ain't a beer person but I really like that particular beer that they brewed. 

Collection of Cantillon coasters on display

Parc du Cinquantenaire
A park that is 3km away from the city centre. Kept having sands into my shoes at this place. Annoying.

And at the park, we found a free museum. Yes! It's totally free. A lot of weapons and a lot of war uniforms from different country in there. Be sure to visit the aviator wing! It's very impressive!

One of the most popular snack in Belgium is the frites (or fries)! This is one of the popular ones that I found and truly, it lives up to it's fame. There's a lot of dips to choose from but we, of course, tried the most classic one that is the mayonnaise and another one, tartar sauce.

We found this chocolaterie by chance. I was intrigued by the hot chocolate spoon thing so I went to check the shop out and bought a spoon of dark choco. The fun of stirring chocolate in a hot cup of milk. A must try!

Random sceneries from our expedition in search of the 3 peeing statues  

Ze Mannekin Pis
His sister, Jeanneke Pis

And the dog, Zinneke Pis

Mannekin Pin, Jeanneke Pis, Zinneke Pis
There's a lot of stories of why the peeing statue was made. Not sure which one is the real one though! The original piece of Mannekin Pis was made long ago (in the 15th century!) but was stolen for a few times. So, this is not the original one, but just a remake (from 1965) of the old peeing guy. I've read that they occasionally dress him up on special days. This little guy has more clothes than me, that's for sure. To know when they dress him up, please refer to this calendar. Maybe you'll get to witness some of his wardrobe.
As for the other two, although not very well-known, we (actually, just me) set our heart on finding all three of them. It is said that the creator of Zinneke Pis lives nearby the area and the statue was modeled after his pet dog. (not sure how much of that is true, but I just read about it somewhere online)

Pee pee pee pee pee pee!

Of course, one of the main place to visit in each city in Europe is the city centre! A bunch of grand buildings surrounding the square and it was packed with tourists and locals. We went there twice, once during day time and once after dinner to observe it under the moonlight. The view when the sun sets is just exquisite, it almost seems magical.

when night falls, nocturnal creatures called "students" come out and then you'll see all kind of crazy stunts. True story bro.

There were a lot of restaurants serving cheap mussels and beers but many of the waiters were very persistent on getting customers to come in. Except this restaurant. The customers just kept going in. Turns out it was actually quite a popular place and Paris even has a few franchises of Chez Leon! We only knew that when we returned to Paris to do my passport. But anyway, the mussels are amazingly delicious but the other dishes are just so-so. Unfortunately, the service was absolutely horrible. The waiters are very unresponsive and irresponsible. They didn't even served us bread until we asked (we saw that they automatically served them to other customer), we need to ask for extra eating utensils and asked twice for Tabasco sauce. They even calculated wrongly on our tab (a few extra euros!). When confronted, they just shrugged it off. Very very bad. 

That sums up our 24 hours in Brussels! 

image Joey's Brussels Travel Tips!

  1. When buying an international train ticket to Belgium, choose your destination as ABS which stands for Any Belgian Station which will allow you to travel anywhere in Belgium/out of Belgian in the next 24 hours of arrival. 
  2. To avoid having to queue at a long line at the tram station's ticket counter, have loads of coins with ya!
  3. Enjoy a free panoramic view at the restaurant situated at the top floor of Musical Instruments Museum. There is no entrance fee to get to the top floor. 
  4. When in Belgium, you must eat the frites, chocolate (any chocolate) and my favourite, mussels!! They served the biggest and freshest mussels there.

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