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Monday, 6 July 2015

LadyBug's 5 Places To Visit In Brussels

Dearest friends,

Brussels is a gay little city that lies as bright within its girdle of woodland 
as any butterfly that rests upon moss - Ouida

Brussels is indeed a lovely place to visit with the one you love. It's true it is no Paris or Venice but Brussels makes up in other things and shines like a bright star - I have not met a city, yet, that made me smile as much. But that may be also due to the fact that my wonderful sister is living there - she has an intership at the European Parliament. For as long as I can remember, she always made me feel the place I was in - with her - was brighter and much more beautiful than if I would have been there alone.
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The pluses of this city are quite numerous: it is the heart of Europe and you can actually get everywhere in Europe just in a few hours, for a few euros; it has numerous parks and recreational spaces; architecture worth to take pictures of; it is filled with streetart (murals are my love, in case you did not know!) & has great places to hang out with friends/family. On the downside it is always crowded and it is extremely dirty! People just throw away stuff, carelessly, anywhere they go - ok, it's true it is not as in the dark ages where people would throw the menure out the window, and yet the city does not smell bad, but the streets are quite unclean. Taken that aside, I have to admit I would like to come again to Brussels one day :) so you can see it was not bad :p I thought I may share with you my top 5 places to visit + a bonus entry that is a must ;)
Nothing beats the sights of these shiny marble balls :)
1. The Atomium - originally constructed for Expo 58, the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (59 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It is a museum that is totally worth to visit - it was both mine and Marek's favourite ;)
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Tubes connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose escalators and a lift to allow access to the five habitable spheres which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels. CNN named it Europe's most bizarre building.
The Goodies shop, on the ground floor, holds an impressive collection of comics :)
2. Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée - The Belgian Comic Strip Center chronicles the history of Belgian comics. Housed in a former department store, the Magasins Waucquez, built in 1906 in Brussels' business district, it exhibits examples of comic strips in French, Dutch and English. The museum opened in 1989. The full range of comic art is covered, including science fiction, wild west, crime and politics, as well as children's comics such as The Smurfs.
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It has several exhibits on Belgium's most famous comic series The Adventures of Tintin and its creator Hergé. The style of the Tintin comics and their history is examined, including life-size models of characters and sets from Tintin's adventures. There is a shop, research library, and restaurant on the ground floor of the historic building, which was designed by the Belgian art nouveau architect Victor Horta. This was the MUST on my list and we both enjoyed it immensly!
3. The European Parliament - he Espace Léopold  is the complex of parliament buildings in Brussels (Belgium) housing the European Parliament, a legislative chamber of the European Union (EU). It consists of a number of buildings, primarily the oldest, the Paul-Henri Spaak building, which houses the debating chamber and the President's offices, and the Altiero Spinelli building which is the largest. The buildings are located in the European quarter in the east of Brussels, with building starting in 1989.
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The complex is not the official seat of Parliament, which is the Immeuble Louise Weiss in Strasbourg, France, but as most of the other institutions of the European Union are in Brussels, Parliament built the Brussels complex to be closer to their activities. A majority of the Parliament's work is now geared to its Brussels site, but it is legally bound to keep Strasbourg as its official home.
The Arc du Cinquantenaire and us :)
4. Arc du Cinquantenaire - Arcade du Cinquantenaire or Arcades du Cinquantenaire is a monumental triple arch in the center of the Cinquantenaire park. It is topped by a bronze quadriga sculptural group with a woman charioteer, representing Brabant raising the national flag. The columns echo the original layout of Avenue de Tervuren, which was once divided into three roadways lined with a double row of trees. 
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The sidewalls feature personifications of Belgian provinces: Brabant being represented by the quadriga, East Flanders, West Flanders, Antwerp, Liège, Hainaut, Limburg, Namur and Luxembourg. Twelve spandrels are decorated with allegories of Arts and Industry. TIP: Now this is the perfect place to spend the day & have a picnic ;) relax and take a book or your other half and stroll about the place!
5. St Michael and St Gudule Church - is a Roman Catholic church. The church was given cathedral status in 1962 and has since been the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, together with St. Rumbold's Cathedral in Mechelen. A chapel dedicated to St. Michael was probably built on the Treurenberg hill as early as the 9th century. In the 11th century it was replaced by a Romanesque church. In 1047, Lambert II, Count of Leuven founded a chapter in this church and organized the transportation of the relics of the martyr St. Gudula, housed before then in Saint Gaugericus Church on Saint-Géry Island. The patron saints of the church, St. Michael and St. Gudula, are also the patron saints of the city of Brussels.
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In the thirteenth century, Henry I, Duke of Brabant ordered two round towers to be added to the church. Henry II, Duke of Brabant instructed the building of a Gothic collegiate church in 1226. The choir was constructed between 1226 and 1276. It took about 300 years to complete the entire church. It was completed just before the reign of the emperor Charles V commenced in 1519.

+ BONUS PLACE: The Manneken pis - is a landmark small bronze sculpture in Brussels, depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain's basin. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder and put in place in 1618 or 1619. The famous statue is located at the junction of Rue de l'Étuve/Stoofstraat and Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat. To find it, one takes the left lane next to the Brussels Town Hall from the famous Grand Place and walks a few hundred metres southwest via Rue Charles Buls/Karel Bulsstraat.

DISCLAIMER: Information about the locations was also taken from Wikipedia so if I got any names or dates wrong please don't kill me ;)))

Have you ever been to Brussels? What were your top 5 places to visit? Do you have any tips and tricks for out next trip? Please share :)

Yours truly,
The LadyBug That Enjoyed Brussels Immensely :)