I had not visited Belgium before. Not properly. I had passed through it many times while driving from Germany to the UK or the other way. I remember the joy of the introduction of Euro notes coins because it meant I could stop for a coffee in Belgium without having to exchange currency or pay foreign currency bank fees on a card. That’s how long ago I got used to driving through Belgium.
I confess, I always perceived it to be rather boring. Lots of green agricultural land, which is important, but not very picturesque. On my recent drive up through southern Belgium, I felt the same way. This time, however, the plan was to stop and do things. On the drearier of the two days of holiday, we visited the Atomium, on the sunnier day we walked around Brussels.
What became clear to me as that by driving along the motorways you miss one of the most striking features of Belgium – its architecture. And I compare that to a frequent sensation of awe to its green and pleasant land I get from driving along some English motorways. Belgium never evoked that in me.
Brussels is home to grand palaces,
stunning guild houses and administrative buildings,
and a wonderful ability to combine old and new architectural styles.
There is also plenty of public art. I obviously went to see the famous child (who is much smaller than even some of the replicas you can buy of him) but also found some other playing children on the Mont des Arts and its wall clock too.