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Places to Go : Brussels, Belgium

Hello! Hope your Sunday is going well. I'm going to take a little break from posting for a few weeks but I'll be back Sunday, January 29. See you then!

San Franciscans John+Jim are on a New Year two-week trip to London, Brussels and Paris. Thank goodness for today's phones as we text daily and I almost feel like I'm traveling with them. I thought you might enjoy a bit of sightseeing or should I say "shop-seeing." I asked if they'd text me photos of any cool store windows. After all, a girl's gotta shop. Let's take a look.

John+Jim took a quick 2-hour Eurostar from London. Here's Brussel's cobbled main square, La Grand-Place, where the city was just taking down their Christmas Market. While Brussels dates to Stone Age, the earliest written reference dates back to the 12th century.

A beautiful park in Brussels.

A window with macarons at Pierre Marcolini. This chocolatier has shops in 8 countries, including China and Japan. Based in Brussels, Pierre Marconi buys the chocolate beans around the world and makes it's own chocolate at their atelier. His chocolates tie for #1 best in all of Brussels. He also makes macarons. Online, a box of 12 macarons is $30 US.

A zillion choices in this Brussel's chocolate shop. Brussels is considered the World Capital of Chocolate. According to the NYTimes, there are 2.21 million residents and some 500 chocolatiers, about one chocolatier for every 4,000 people. The average Belgian consumes over 15 pounds of chocolate each year, one of the highest rates in the world.

You're probably familiar with Brussel's Manneken Pis, a little boy peeing into a fountain. Here, you can get candy versions of the famous statue.

I'd definitely look in this shop.

Storefront window. Guessing truffles?

A chapellierie in Brussels. Although Brussels is officially a bilingual city, speaking both French and Dutch, about 85% speak French. Flemish is also spoken in parts of Belgium.

John+Jim rode the Hop On, Hop Off bus for two days, covering two different routes. Here's a church they passed from inside the bus.

Yesterday, John texted me a photo of his lunch - Belgium mussels, with a bowl of pomme frites and Belgium beer. Yummy! Have a great few weeks and I'll see you on the 29th.

all photos : john+jim

About the shop in the top photo ~

(from the Maison Dandoy website) "Specializing in SPECULOOS, a crunchy biscuit with brown sugar, the Dandoy speculoos come with cloves and cinnamon or vanilla or coated with handmade chocolate. Crushed, it mixes with a yoghurt, hides at the bottom of a coffee, sprinkles on a cheesecake or on a chocolate mousse.

According to tradition, speculoos are a tasty reward for good children during the celebration of Saint Nicholas on December 6.

Our great-great-great-grandfather Jean-Baptiste was a baker. In 1829, he opened his first shop in the heart of Brussels."


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