Brussels, Belgium – 21-23/12/2014

So after I went to Amsterdam, my second stop on my winter tour was Brussels. And to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it a lot more, but I’m going to safely assume that has a lot to do with my personal circumstances at the time.

Anyone who knows me, understands that I have an affinity for street art, and Brussels definitely didn’t disappoint me.

This little gem was hidden between streets, and I’m so fortunate to have gotten lost within the first 5 minutes, or I would have missed this.

The city is filled with cartoon mural paintings. This is largely due to the popularity of comic strips in Belgium. The subject matters covers anything from crime to politics to children’s comics and everything in between. However, the most popular is a comic series entitled The Adventures of Tintin.

As I explored Belgium, it seemed that most official buildings were covered in what appeared to be gold. It was quite lovely to look at. The few days I visited were cloudy and shielded the warm sun rays, however, every so often a beam of light would escape the gloomy shield and reflect magnificently off of the buildings. The reflection of light created a marvelous romance, as if the city has been kissed by the sun.

This monument is in Place des Martyrs (Martyr’s Square).

It commemorates all those who gave their life during 1830 for Belgium’s Independence. Underneath the cobblestone of the square is a crypt where around 400 bodies from soldiers are buried. Before the Revolution, the square used to be named after the patron saint (Saint Michael, I think) of Brussels. However, since after the fight for Independence, it was changed accordingly.

Manneken Pis (Little Pee Man) — Arguably the most famous statue of Brussels. As seen, it shows a young boy urinating into a basin. I had researched it before I went to Brussels and I was expecting the statue to be a bit bigger, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was about 2 feet tall in total. There are many legends of luck and fortune behind the statue.. but none I can recall haha.

Obviously I wasn’t going to pass up taking a picture like this.

What made Brussels so memorable is that it was my true first trip alone in Europe. Frightened but excited, I relished the idea of being able to do whatever I pleased without having to discuss or argue about itinerary plans.

At my hostel, I shared a room with a girl named Erica from Hong Kong. She turned out to be enjoyable company, and we spent our last day together shopping for gifts and chocolate for loved ones. There are some people that come and go from your life without second thought, I have encountered this many times whilst traveling, but I have a feeling (I have feelings, weird, I know) that tells me we will be reunited.

Last picture I took in Brussels before catching the metro to get to the airport.

My first day in Belgium was spent fulfilling a lifelong dream. Every since I can remember, I have always been highly fascinated with the idea that atoms are the smallest particles of elements. A couple of years ago, while in high school I did a project on atoms and stumbled across an article on the Atomium.

The Atomium was built in 1958 for the World Fair. In that time period, it was thought that atomic energy (science) would save humanity.

The atom “was at the center of attention as the almost inexhaustible symbol of energy and modernity…” – Atomium pamphlet

The Atomium consists of 9 balls, and are you are able to go up and inside of 5 of them. It really is a spectacular view.

I spent a good 2 hours just photographing from the outside. I was in awe, for lack of better words.

A bit in front of the Grand Place — which is Brussel’s most central and iconic square surrounded by beautiful 17th century reconstructed buildings.

In the center of Grand Place.

I took this trip almost 3 months ago, and since then so many things have changed, all for the better though. It just seems like a lifetime ago. How nice to be able to reminisce and look at pictures from a past I can never touch anymore.

A past I won’t let touch me anymore either.

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