heysel and brussels (belgium day 3)

21.03.2011

We decided to spend our last day in Belgium by having a city walk around Brussels. So again, we transformed ourselves into tourists: pointing stuff and looking into maps.

We spent some time taking photos in Ruisbroek, where our hotel was. Then we had to wait for a while at the train station because we didn’t realise the change of schedule between weekend and weekdays.

ruisbroek

Our first destination was the Atomium. This Brussels landmark was absolutely not to be missed. With total height of 102 meters, the construction of the gigantic iron atom structure was a marvellous sight.

atomium

It was a super ambitious project created for the same purpose as the Eiffel tower: World Exposition. The Atomium was built for the World Expo 1958. Visitors could go to five out of nine balls (or atoms), of which the top most atom being the panoramic room.

view from the top

The drawback of the Atomium (in particular compared to Eiffel tower) was that it is located outside the city centre. So the panoramic view was not that nice. (Well of course Paris has one of the best city plans anyway..

Atomium is located at the Heysel square, and football enthusiasts might have recognise the name “Heysel” from the worst football tragedy in history which killed 39 people.

heysel stadium

We could also see the stadium from the Atomium (hey, that rhymes). We saw the Europapark from above as well, but we didn’t go there since we didn’t feel like going there anyway..

Other Atomium ballswere filled with both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The permanent one was about the Expo 58, while the temporary one was about the stars (and astronomy in general).

exhibition

Stepping out from the Atomium, we took touristy photos and had our first ice cream of the year. It was the first day of spring after all! 🙂

ice cream

Then, we went to the city centre of Brussels. It was quite a small city so everything was within walking distance. We went to the Grote Markt/Grand Place, the Manneken Pis, and his fake cousin Jeanneke Pis.

brussels

grand place

manneken pis

jeanneke pis

We had another Belgian beer session (I had my favourite Leffe blond) and wrote a postcard to Maarten’s parents.

writing a postcard

As we walked to the station, Maarten finally found a nice pack of frites (Belgian fries) after having several failed ones, hoera!

more photos are here

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