For Once, Screw the Calories Count


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Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels
April 24th 2013
Published: May 27th 2013
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Do you know that to burn off 1 fried chicken breast you’ll need to bike for an hour? Two slices of pepperoni pizza translated to 2.5 hours of climbing the stairs. While to burn off cheese burger and fries; that require over 2 hours in the elliptical machine. I’m not one of those girls who think carbs are sinful and only eat celery sticks for dinner. I’m someone who enjoyed my oxtail soup and chili crabs, but I also go to the gym 2-3 times a week. I don’t mind to indulge, but the food better be good. Or else it won’t worth the compensating exercise.

So I ponder there in front of the waffle stall; thinking to myself whether this is worth it and how many hours of running would that waffle translated to. I’m not really into sweets and that mountain of whip cream scares the hell out of me. But hey when you’re in Brussels, you got to do it the Brussels way. So for once, screw the calories count. But then again, hold the whip cream. I’ll just have the banana & nutella waffle. That is, shared with my husband. The couple who shares calories together, stays together!

I would say though, the waffle price advertisement is kinda cheeky. They said 1 euro only; but that will only give you plain waffle – not even covered with sugar or cinnamon. Adding banana and nutella makes it 2.8 euro. You’ll need to pay more for other toppings. Different stalls play the same strategy. One of the stalls have this giant Maneken Pis statue outside it – which is kinda tragic considering the real one is probably only 1/10th of it.

Initially I was thinking to try another Belgium specialities: the (French) fries but it looks like regular fries so I skipped it. There are also rows and rows of chocolate shops; we even saw many fellow Asian tourists who drag big branded shopping bags passing Grote Markt. Definitely not budget travelers. Yeah, who said Asia is in bad economy? My husband is the chocoholic but he decided to skip it. He said, how different can chocolate taste? But now, seeing and editing the pictures again; gosh – maybe we should bought some! Oh well, I guess that’s another reason to come back one day.

My husband and I are on the hunt today; we want to find the famous comic murals spread across Brussels. Equipped with map, I thought it’s going to be easy to find at least 6-7 in an hour. But apparently it’s much harder than I thought. The murals are not so… celebrated. There’s no direction pointing to it on the street. It’s often hidden under a quiet corner; or just looks plain. We ended up only finding 3 of them.

As we don’t have much time and need to catch our train to Paris soon, next we marched to the MOOF (Museum of Original Figurines). My husband is a big smurf fan. He kept humming the “Sing the Happy Song” all the way to Europe. So even though it cost 8.5 euro to get in, and the museum is rather small – but it’s all worth it seeing his smile. What’s there is not only Smurf, you can also see Tintin, Obelisk & Asterix, Lucky Luke, etc. Somehow towards the end they also show a life size Batman statue. Strange, I thought it was from a different production house.

Anyway, even though it was just a quick stopover – but I still enjoyed it. Albeit its… rather plain. Maybe
Comic WallsComic WallsComic Walls

Those comic walls are like good single guys in this world - so hard to find ha ha...
by now I’ve seen too many old squares and ornate buildings already. The blue sky helped a lot though to lighten the mood. Come to think of it, I wonder why prices in Brussels are higher vs Amsterdam and Paris? I mean – Belgium is a country in between – so shouldn’t the prices quite similar? I wonder why.

Only stopping over in Brussels for several hours, I feel like I haven’t really given the chance for Belgium to really impress me. Maybe I should revisit again someday. Maybe.

TIPS:


• If you’re taking Thalys from Amsterdam to Paris (or vice versa) – unfortunately you’ll need to buy 2 separate Thalys tickets as they are not allowing you to stopover for free. The sooner you purchase, the cheaper it is. if you see a deal – snatch it! Alternative to Thalys would be taking the local/regional train but it’s longer.
• Some train sites are imposing compulsory credit card fee (i.e. the Netherlands or France) – so to legally avoid the extra charge, you can actually buy it from Belgian train site: http://www.b-rail.be/main/E/index.phpif your train is going to/from/passing Belgium. For some reason the Belgian site doesn’t have credit card fee and it’s the SAME train ticket (and SAME price) as if you’re buying from Netherlands or French site. So the only difference would be the credit card fee. Other countries with no credit card fee would be German and Switzerland train sites. I know some of you might think – ah it’s just couple of Euros; but hey – I’d rather spend it on waffles :D If you can get it for free legally, why not?
• If your credit card is not from Europe – it might get rejected. The way to solve is by to call them and give them your reservation number. When I read this tips in tripadvisor – I was very skeptical. But actually they are very helpful & professional. My ticket was released real time and once they “give a go” on your credit card in their system, it works for future bookings. It sounds like it happen often so the guy already know what to do.Overall I still save money by calling them and activate my credit card vs purchasing tickets in Dutch/French train site as I was purchasing several tickets.
• If you’re bringing luggage and thinking to stopover
Smurf Smurf Smurf

You can take picture of this one for free because it's OUTSIDE the MOOF
in Brussels, you can store your bag in the lockers. The price is depending on the locker size. The smallest start from 3-3.5 euro (I forgot how much was it exactly). Surprisingly, the “smallest” locker can hold both of our backpacks (sized around 45L, roughly 8-9 kg each). If your treasures still can’t fit into the biggest locker, then there is a booth where you can store it in a room (manned by an officer).
• Although I didn’t have the time to visit, many people said Brugge is nice. It’s an old town with pretty square and canals going through it. Had it not because I’m catching a Beyonce concert in Paris; I’d probably enroute to Brugge.
• Hotel prices in Brussels fluctuates depending on demand. When we were there, there was this huge expo and hotel prices tripled. As an alternative, you can just hop on the train and sleep in Antwerp or some other cities nearby. For us, we decided to go straight to Paris.


Click HERE to see more of my pictures and my hotel reviews are HERE .


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27th May 2013

Brussels without waffles and chocolate is...
well, NOT Brussels. We lived there 11 years, so thanks for the memories. Do return sometime, and also visit Brugges.
28th May 2013
Sugar Overload!!!

Sneaky waffle pricing!
Wow, those waffles look fab...yes, a huge calorie count but worth it! You should have tried the chocolates, Belgium chocolate is unbelievably good. As you say though, it gives you an excuse to go back!
29th May 2013
Sugar Overload!!!

yeah, now I wish I tried some of those chocolates - well you're right, there's always an excuse to go back :)
28th May 2013

Delicious blog and great tips. Sounds like sharing is a good way to justify the calories and prices. ;)
29th May 2013

ha ha yes, in concept it sounds romantic too; although in reality it was quite messy with nutella all over our faces :)
29th May 2013
Sugar Overload!!!

That is photogenic!
Yum.

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