My first solo stop was Brussels, the capital of the European Union. When my mum and dad went on their honeymoon to Germany, she said they just got off the train and walked to whatever hotel they wanted to and found a room, rather than booking ahead. This is what I thought I would do, but I quickly learned this would not be ideal for the rest of my trip.
There was a hotel right across the street from the train station, so I went in there to get a room. It was a bit pricey, but I didn’t know the area so I didn’t want to wander through neighborhoods with no chance of finding another hotel, so I settled in, went online and booked a room for my next leg in Bruges. For the rest of my trip, this was the best plan of action so, God forbid anything happen, I’m only booked through my next planned city.
Once my hotel was booked, I began to wander the city and headed into the main town square that had a museum about the city’s history. When I began to look around, I was so shocked by the room of outfits for the Mannequin Pis. I had never heard of or seen this statue, which is a fountain of a young child urinating into a pond. Apparently, because Brussels is a popular spot from many country officials, each time they visit, they bring a new costume from their home country for the fountain. After I finished at the museum, I just had to see this fountain person. It was definitely a strange statue, but the fountain as a whole was much less weird than the room full of costumes was. There were so many people around this small fountain on the corner of some small random streets, you would’ve thought it was the Trevi Fountain.
The next day I did some more wandering to a beautiful church, palace, and the EU parliament building. I toured the parliament building and learned a lot about the processes and interactions between the countries. It was a very interesting and interactive tour that would be a great spot to take your kids and have them learn without knowing it. My favorite part of it was being in a round room with screens covering the walls, projecting the parliament room, so you felt like you were in it and involved in the international conversations that were happening. While this city is quite old and most of its architecture still reflects this, there are numerous new-age buildings under construction. If you want the old-timey feel, get there as soon as possible, though the newer buildings are just bringing the capital of the EU up to date.