Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Grand Place

We started our visit to Brussels with a trip to the Grand Place - the historical and cultural center of the Belgium capital city and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The square is dominated by the town hall building and surrounded by guild houses built in the 17th century.The guild house on the left was the brewer's house and houses The Museum of the Belgium Brewers today. The museum shows an uninteresting 10 minute English film about beer brewing and has a room full of beer brewing equipment. Perhaps the museum might have been more interesting if the room with the equipment and explanation was not constantly dark due to the film showing in continual repeat. Oh well, the museum was included with the purchase of the Brussels Welcome Card and came with a free beer at the end. It gave us a chance to sample Belgium Paradise beer; we both had the dark and it was quite good.

The Swan house on the left is the former home of the Butchers' Guild. This also the place Karl Marx and Frederick Engels lived when they wrote the Communist Manifesto. Today it is an expensive restaurant.

We overheard a conversation among the statues atop the guild houses.
*based on the Rick Steves Guide Book to Amsterdam, Bruges, & Brussels.

We couldn't leave the square without checking out all the chocolate shops and the Brussels invented pralines (filled chocolates). Our first stop was to window shop at the original Godiva store. We checked out the displays at Nuehaus and Galler along the way, but we chose to buy our chocolates from Leonidas. They may not be handmade but we got a lot more chocolate for our Euro!
We enjoyed munching on the chocolates for the rest of our visit in Brussels.


Katie said...

ahh how could you not buy the neuhaus! it's my favorite and i'm SO jealous you were in grand place! i loved it. i see from your "wordle" that you saw that mannekan pis, but did you see the jannekan pis? the little girl peeing in the alley way? she's kind of hard to find :)
miss you!

Laura Kay said...

You will have to tell us where the janneken pis is so we can see it next time!

Well we tried two of the chocolate shops this time, so next time we will give Gallers (and its Black 85) and Neuhaus a try. I'm all for buying chocolate!