Fun Fact: Brussels’ International Airport is the world’s largest chocolate selling point.
What can I say about Brussels, and guess what I’m not a big fan of European countries. I feel like I’m still in London with different languages being spoken and accents. As I was walking through the town centre, I thought I was in London, same shops, same products and the same feel. When I travel, I want to be far removed from home, stepping into a new culture, and new experiences. I appreciate this should be expected in European countries but what I expected was to be taken out of my comfort zone and challenged mentally.
Let’s start with the good:
I’m a big advocate for free walking tours, they are generally conducted by those who do this as a passion and genuinely know their country and want to share that knowledge with us. Whatever location you visit, try and find a walking tour. I had a lovely gentleman named Clinton he made the walking tour as enjoyable as possible, telling jokes and exaggerated stories with useful tips on where to find cheap tasty local food.
This is an amusing story with a bit of a history lesson which will always stay with me. The version I heard was in 14th century Brussels, Brussels needed to be protected from foreign invasion. Fire was set to buildings within the city walls by the foreign invasion, and by chance a three-year-old boy had decided to pee on all the soldiers, the soldiers were disgusted and fled! This version is ridiculous; however, I never want to know the real story as I am content with this version.
Usually, I write about what I did and what I saw. However, I want to talk about an experience I had at a local supermarket. I went into a shop and bought a few snacks to share with my work colleagues upon my return to work. I was able to buy most of the items I needed; however I was still on the hunt for other things. Luckily, there was another supermarket close by. As I walked into the shop, I could sense I was being watched by a member of staff. It is not a feeling I can describe, but it is something that you feel that makes you feel uncomfortable. I went directly to the tills as that was where the drinks were located. I picked up a bottle and joined the queue. As I was ruffling through my bag to find my purse, the till clerk looked into my bag and asked me immediately, where did I purchase the items in my bag. Let me add, it was backpack which was on my back the whole time I was in the store until I got to the till. At the moment, I should have called her out, but I didn’t as I was in shock, she had the cheek to look into my bag and question me about items in my bag. She must have seen the look on my face and quickly explained that I am not allowed to bring items they sell from another shop. Erm…firstly, how am I supposed to know this and secondly, I do not own the store so how can I know what they do and do not sell. She informed me the next time I come into the shop, I should leave my bags at the till and then shop. I politely told her I won’t be coming back as I don’t appreciate being called a thief. Thirdly, that’s not how to treat customers. She was more than welcome to follow me back to the bin where I threw the receipt. She immediately apologised, and I had a feeling it had something to do with race, but I didn’t allow it to spoil my time in Brussels.
Let’s include something happy, and as you can guess. FOOD.
I would recommend Balls and Glory, there are a few located around Brussels. In short, this is a restaurant where you’re presented with a ball of meat which has been fried with mashed potatoes, gravy and sauce as as side. The food was delicious, and surprisingly it wasn’t too heavy.
Would I go back? No.
Why? Once is enough.