Brussels: Chocolate, Waffles and Cobble Stones


Grand Place Square Brussels Backpacking through Europe
Amidst the grandeur of the Grand Place Square

Wow! Loved the city center with cobble stone streets, all of the old buildings and exquisite architecture. Lots of whimsical art sprinkled throughout the city on the buildings. We stayed in a great location in the old city center. Our hotel was in the middle of this area about a block or so away from Grand Place. St Nicolas was a lovely hotel that offered breakfast for 15 euros each. Smelled yummy and nice breakfast area, although we didn’t have time to try it either morning that we were there. We were able to walk from the train station to our hotel and to all the shops, restaurants and sites around there. Perfect location. Friendly local on staff at our hotel was so helpful with recommendations of walk-able areas we had not yet explored and ideas for restaurants frequented by the locals. We really enjoyed our stay at St Nicolas Hotel. Even though the room was tiny (reminded us of staying in NYC), it was sufficient, nice and clean. 

We walked all up and down the cobble stone streets and didn’t have to worry about cars or any traffic other than lots of people. The streets are full of shops and restaurants. The buildings are old and and beautiful. So much history.

Grand Place is just a block off of the main street where our hotel was located. Grand Place is grand! Stunning gold adorned buildings. There is a Royal Palace-not currently the royal residence, a Town Hall Building, and other opulent and massive structures. The King’s House is a museum. These buildings line the square, which is a vast open space, some of it occupied with vendors, most of it occupied with tourists!

A favorite highlight in Brussels was the Chocolate Workshop that we attended. Thoroughly enjoyed learning how to make little ganache filled chocolates, pralines and learning about working with chocolate. Sweet little chocolatier, Anastasia taught us so much and gave us boxes to take all of our chocolate creations with us. Train snacks!! We also met several students in the class who were studying in Europe. One nice guy studying in Germany have us tips for our next stop in Cologne, Germany

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Since we couldn’t choose, we also booked a Belgian Waffle making workshop too! The waffle workshop started with a tour, meeting our instructor, David, at Grande Place and heading down waffle street. He explained the different waffles as we stopped at a couple of waffle shops. We also happened by the Manneken Pis. It’s a famous statue kind of tucked into a street corner. It’s smaller than I thought and not in a plaza or square, so I was glad we came up on it. We made our way to a studio a few blocks away and began mixing up Belgian waffles with all the fresh ingredients he had for us. After his demonstration (some had never used a waffle iron-especially not a Texas shaped one! Lol), we all cooked our waffles on the irons, then on to the best part. He had lots of fresh toppings for us to load up on our delicious waffles and enjoy with each other!! Such a fun and tasty class, even tho we learned that the locals actually only sprinkle powdered sugar on theirs and they do not eat them for breakfast. I tried powdered sugar only at 1st, it was delicious!! I could totally get on board with this local custom. 

Making waffles Brussels Backpacking through Europe
Waffle Workshop in Brussels

Met some more interesting people in this class, and really enjoyed Fiona, from Australia-living in the Netherlands, who had also been in our Chocolate making class. Very sweet and interesting person. 

Waffle Workshop Brussels Backpacking through Europe
Waffle Workshop in Brussels

Beautiful Cathedrals here. We are starting to get a taste of these magnificent and ornately embellished Cathedrals of Europe. Wandering around and one will just appear. So cool. St Catherine Church is a majestic cathedral a little ways from the city center with a plaza in front. Since vendors were set up in the square, it was a little difficult to get an unobstructed pic. In another direction, towards the train station, away from the old city center is St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral. This one is said to be a replica of the Notre Dame in Paris. It has a park in front of it, so no vendors. It’s beautiful and lots of people were just relaxing on all of the steps leading up to it.

Brussels is our 2nd stop on our Backpacking Through Europe Adventure: 9 countries, 14 days, and we are picking up on some of the customs. Besides paying for toilets, when you ask for water with meal at a restaurant, they always bring out a bottle of ‘still’ or sparkling water and the glasses. Also, you may feel like you are being ignored. They are not quick to clear your plates and you may never get your bill unless you ask! They do not typically work on tips. Some touristy places do expect tips though. But you still have to ask for check! 

Big Dog’s Review: On our backpacking tour of Europe we spent two days here in Brussels. This amazing town with its cobble stone streets and wonderful architecture didn’t disappoint. When we weren’t site seeing we made chocolate and Belgium waffles (classes you can experience). Right outside of our hotel was the Grand Place, a huge square of historic buildings all with gold accents. The streets are all lined with cafes and eateries for all tastes. We didn’t do any shopping on this trip, but all the name brands are there for your pleasure. Enjoy!

Wrap Up: Time difference, not being able to sleep (working 1/2 the night because US is awake), and maybe some jet lag is starting to catch up. After a nice Italian dinner, we get ready to continue our journey to Cologne, Germany next. This will be a couple of train rides early in the morning. 

Making Belgian Chocolate

55 thoughts on “Brussels: Chocolate, Waffles and Cobble Stones”

  1. You had me at chocolate – haha! But seriously a beautiful city, the Cathedral looks to be a must-see. thanks

  2. We will be visiting Brussels in December for the Christmas Market, God willing. Thank you for the great overview.

  3. I love Brussels. I have not been since I was a teenager. I definitely want to go back.

  4. My family would love to take the waffle making class. What’s better than combining fun and delicious food?!? Our first trip to Europe with our kids is scheduled for next month, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to cancel it yet. We were looking forward to exploring Europe with our 4 kids (age 3-11) and your post reminds me of all the great things we will get to see and experience once we’re allowed to travel again.

    1. There were kids in our waffle making class and loving it! Hope you don’t have to cancel your trip!! I’m so ready for us all to be able to travel again!

  5. This looks like a fantastic experience! I’ll have to see how far Brussels is from my sister’s house so I can add it to my trip!

  6. This looks amazing. It’s articles and pictures like this that are keeping my wanderlust alive right now. Thanks for sharing.

  7. We were in Brussels last summer and loved it. The waffles were fantastic to eat but I would have loved to have had the time to take a waffle making class. Looks like fun!

  8. Wow what a trip. At first, I was amazed by the waffles and chocolates and pastries (I could keep going) but then all the pics of the amazing places you saw. The history is so impressive. Thanks for sharing.

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