Brussels, Belgium – A unique country that has a good mix of cultures. Here you’ll find people who speak variously languages including Spanish, French, and more! The city of Brussels has become one of my favorites with amazing architecture such as the Grand Place. Shops can be found everywhere selling delicious Belgian chocolates, beers, and waffles. Live music around the Grand Place is also incredible as you sit outside and enjoy your desserts.
- Flying to Brussels airport, you’ll need to take a train into the city. Buy a ticket at the terminal and ask around if you are unsure which train to take as the signs are not in English.
- From the train, get off at Bruxelles Central where you will immediately be greeted by tons of chocolate shops, waffles, and a five minute walk to Grand Place.
- Smurfs! For those who didn’t know (myself included), Belgium is known for comic strips and creating the famous Smurfs! As you walk around there is an area where comics are really popular so there are tons of murals around featuring famous comic strips.
- Cushion some extra days to visit other cities such as Bruges and Antwerp.
Places to Visit as a Tourist
- The Grand Place – One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Come for a different experience at night too when everything is lit up.
- Comic Strip Route – Tons of comic shops, murals, and collectible shops to explore.
- Mini Europe – A miniature park where you pay to get in to see small scale of famous European landmarks.
- Manneken Pis – You’ll notice tons of souvenirs and pictures of a small statue of a boy taking a leak. This is a famous fountain from the 17th century that is near Grand Place.
- Jeanneke Pis – If you have one for a boy why not one of a girl? This is the sister fountain to Manneken Pis.
- Royal Palace of Brussels – Tours are available during the summer to view the rooms and throne.
- Bruges – About 2 hours away on the train, you’ll find yourself in a very beautiful city with amazing architecture and restaurants. Recommended by many locals.
A lot of Belgian foods and they are all amazing! Every restaurant I tried had amazing food so you can’t go wrong. Just watch out for tourist traps where foods are priced higher than average.
- Belgian Waffles
- Belgian Beer
- Belgian Chocolates
- Belgian Meatballs (Visit Ballekes in Brussels, I went there a few times while I was there)
- Flemish Goulash
- Brussels Mussels
- Tip for “Mat Surfing” is to always call or contact the school ahead of time to see if you are even allowed to take a drop-in class or come by for an open mat session.
For this trip, I visited Kaizen BJJ Brussels which is actually located a bit outside Brussels but the train takes you right to the location. The address is Boulevard des Invalides 214/216, 1160 Auderghem, Belgium. To drop by for a class, send them a message via Facebook to find out their schedule.
The gym is actually located upstairs in a facility that teaches many different martial arts and other activities. Changing room and showers are also available if needed.
Kaizen BJJ is an affiliate with Master Flavio Behring who visits often to offer seminars. The class was led by several black belts and taught in various languages to ensure everyone understood the techniques. As I stepped on the mat, I felt welcomed and could tell the group had a very close relationship. Everyone treated each other like family.
We started our warm-up with a light flow roll with no resistance or finishes. A majority of the class that day was live training. We rolled for almost 2 hours and it was a great experience meeting so many people. Don’t worry about languages, you’re good if you speak English. Definitely a very friendly school that welcomes visitors.
Mauro Birattari was one of the main black belts who was really kind and offered many tips for travel and visiting gyms in other countries as well. Definitely try to meet him if you’re visiting the academy.
Great training and people so if I ever find myself back in Belgium I’ll be sure to drop by again.
Of the European countries I’ve visited so far, Belgium sits at the top of my list. I feel that is because it’s a mix of cultures and you can get a bit of Spanish, French, and more when exploring. The foods definitely matched my taste and the environment felt safe and clean. Will definitely visit again soon and also head to both Bruges and Antwerp next time.
Brussels, Belgium – September 2018
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