“You know, I wouldn’t mind it if you moved here…”: Brussels According to Raffi
We only had the daytime to spend in Brussels, so I wanted to make the most of it. I knew we had to do 3 things: visit La Grand Place, go to Delirium, and eat Belgian waffles. Yet, before arriving in Brussels, I did not even look up where La Grand Place, the center of the city, was; that proved a grave mistake. I did the following, to no avail: (1) drove around a lot; (2) checked the car GPS; (3) followed street signs for “La Grand Place”; (4) even asked someone on the street in which direction it was! By the way, while driving around, we got stuck behind this military vehicle and because I asked Raffi to take a picture of it, he claims they talked about us and one of them aimed a gun at us. How much of that I believe, I am not sure!
Somehow, none of the things we did sufficed to lead us to the center of the city. Finally, I admitted defeat, parked on the street in a neighborhood I did not recognize, and Raffi and I walked around in search of a cafe to grab a bite to eat. Strangely enough, despite being hopelessly lost and not having seen anything yet, Raffi liked Brussels a hell of a lot more than Düsseldorf!
The cafe was a life-saver because Raffi got to eat, I got to drink tea, and most importantly, WI-FI! It wasn’t until I downloaded Brussels on Google Maps that we found our bearings. I’m sure by that point, we wasted around 2 hours. *sigh* I set the GPS in the direction of Delirium, since I knew it was in the right neighborhood, and then we walked for 20 to 30 minutes. Here’s what we encountered along the way:
I cannot explain how calming it was to see the Grand Place square: it’s a familiar place I had been wanting to return to for a little over 4 years. 😀 That was when Raffi said, “You know, I wouldn’t mind it if you moved here…”
He was very impressed by the buildings in the main square. Among them, he noticed a place that said brewery and said he wanted to check it out. Once we learned that it was a mere 5 € for a tour and beer afterwards, we knew the tickets would be worth it. Actually, the tour was underwhelming because it was self-guided and only consisted of pictures and videos; we didn’t even get to walk from one room to the next! This is literally it:
We spent maybe 10 minutes looking around before we went to redeem our beers. We had a choice of 2 beers, so sensically, we both got one type of beer (me the fruity one, Raffi the lager).
Raffi liked the glass; he asked me if we could take it home; I told him obviously not because for 5 € we should be thankful. He asked me to ask the bartender if the glasses were included. I sighed and instead asked the bartender if we could buy the glasses; he said no. 😦 I thanked him and went back to share the hope-shattering news. Raffi was so surprised, though I didn’t understand in that moment why he was. We were on our way out, when the bartender came from behind the curtain that separated the bar with the common area, called Raffi over, and slipped him a glass wrapped in a towel. I couldn’t believe it! Raffi had a satisfying smile on his face and said, “See, I was shocked even you couldn’t get us a glass; but now I’m sure only you could have gotten us one.” He was so certain I would be able to get us one. I was thoroughly astonished and quite elated.
Next, we went to Delirium. I knew I had to show this bar to Raffi because it holds the World Record for greatest number of beers on tap: 3,162!! Here’s what beer we got:
The bar we went to is actually part of Delirium Village, as Delirium is separated into a few different entrances, so it is almost like there are a few different bars with the same name.
Then, we went to get waffles. I told Raffi that there are a bunch of vendors selling waffles so we could get waffles from any one of them; he insisted that we go to the restaurant because he wanted to sit. Here’s what we ordered:
Raffi really enjoyed his, but my waffles fell short. Either I had had better ones in the past, or I ordered the wrong condiments. Upon leaving, Raffi saw a chocolate store and, as he knows Belgium is known for its chocolate, he wanted to buy some for his family. We went in the store and benefited also, as the vendor gave us small pieces of chocolate to taste before we packed them into a box.
I was very pleased Raffi enjoyed everything we had a chance to see in Brussels, and this reassured me that he would look at the rest of Europe with an open mind.