After taking the metro to near our hotel, we walked up and down Rue Royale a couple times trying to find Hotel Albert (mainly due to nice people giving us incorrect directions). We couldn't check into the hotel for about 4 more hours, so left our bags and headed out to explore the city.
Turns out I picked a cheap hotel in the north side of Brussels, which is kind of sketchy. Checking out the local Mediterranean market was fun...
After losing and finding each other, we'd had enough of the market and headed into the center of Brussels to find somewhere to eat. We stopped at the Jardin Botanique for snacks and photo ops.
We took the long way to the center of Brussels, but finally made it to the Grand Place (town square/ market) where we started our free walking tour.
Three hours later, we headed back to the hotel, then again into the city a couple hours later for dinner and a stop at Neuhaus chocolaterie.
Enjoying some kriek at dinner
This famous chocolate shop was started by a pharmacist who handed out chocolates with his patients' medications. Soon his patients were coming for only the chocolate. Something to aspire to :)
Saturday morning, we headed back on the train for a day in cute old Bruges.
After creating a plan at the information center, we checked out the market, then had lunch at Panos. We couldn't resist H&M (although we've been to one in about every city) and discovered that this location was actually having a sale.
Back to our plan for the day, we checked out the city...
The Bruges boat tour then took us around the town- in 4 different languages.
After grabbing some dinner, which included traditional foods such as kriek and fries, we headed back to the train to head back to Brussels.
Sunday morning we slept in, worked out, and packed up for the day. After figuring out the lockers at the train station, we left our stuff and explored Brussels for the few hours we had left.
We finally decided on breakfast at a restaurant near the train station, where the nice man working lured us in with the fact that he could make omelettes for breakfast (even though it was 12pm).
After stuffing ourselves for breakfast we headed to the European Parliament and Parliamentarium to discover a little bit more about the EU.
Next we had some errands to run and things to buy! Including Belgian waffles!
Belgium was a fun weekend. Our consensus is that Brussels is definitely a melting pot or mosaic (whatever term they use in elementary social studies these days), as there were many people of varying ethnicities, languages, and cultures. Belgium could not really be compared to other European countries we've visited in the past.
On our way back to Velbert, we had a very entertaining cab driver.