£20 IN... BRUSSELS
Brussels is where the EU parliament rubs shoulders with big businesses - so you’d better believe it’s spenny.
But it’s not all arse wiping with banknotes.
This city is a paint brush smear of Art Deco buildings running into 19th-century mansions and medieval churches. Plus these guys live on a winning diet of chocolate, waffles, frites and beer.
But just how far will £20 get you in Brussels?
Manneken Pis - exactly what it sounds like.
Head to the corner of Rue de l’Étuve and Rue du Chêne to see this little statue in all its publicly urinating glory. The best bit? No one really knows why it’s here. That doesn’t stop them queuing up to take he’s-peeing-in-my-mouth photos 🍆
Make sure you check out this guys sis and dog, they both love an audience when they pee too.
“Nobody cares for the woods anymore”
Sonian forest is straight out of LOTR - think Treebeard's gaff, Fangorn Forest. It’s 5,000 hectares of towering oak and beech trees to run, cycle, walk and fish your way around. And there’s not a torch-bearing orc in sight.
Under a fiver
Last fiver? Go shopping, obvs.
Roll up your sleeves and practice your French, it’s time to get down and dirty at the flea market. Jeu de Balle is one of the best. It’s in the charming Marolles district and has been running since the 17th-century.
Dusty books, old vinyl, interesting ornaments, and the odd creepy doll - go at closing time to snag the best bargains.
Forget water - there are only two liquids you need to be drinking in Brussels, and they’re both brown.
L’Ultime Atome does a hot chocolate which is perfect for your control freak mate. It’s a mix it yourself glass of hot milk and pure dark chocolate nibs. Feeling lazy? Maison Renardy doesn’t make you mix your Tanzanian hot chocolate with 73 percent cacao.
Hit up The Sister for over 70 organic Belgian beers - prices start from €3. Or there’s family-run brewery, Cantillon which does tastings in the tap room. You’ll have to crawl to La Brocante for the local pils and some lunchtime jazz - these Belgian brews are stronger.
Under a tenner
Cedric has named his deli (Fernand Obb Delicatessen) after his cat…
If one man’s love for his feline companion isn’t enough to make you want to eat here, maybe the fact it won the award for best shrimp croquette is. It’ll set you back €7.50, but it is the best.
Dunk yours in ‘ouille ouille’ (spicy sauce) and got to crispy carb heaven. RIP arteries. Oh, there’s burgers and waffles too.
"You said there'd be beer..."
WIELS Contemporary Art Centre is housed in a former brewery (you can still see the copper vats), and it supports emerging international artists.
They also get involved in local community projects - like community gardens and teaching women initiatives.
Get yer mouth around it and give it a blow...
Check out the Musical Instruments Museum for hand-painted grand pianos, wooden guitars in weird shapes, and a Flemish harpsichord.
Next stop, The Magritte Museum, for surrealist vibes.
There’s 230 works by René Magritte - think dudes with apples for faces, rainbow-coloured nakey people, and penis pipes. All for just €10.
Brussels has loadsa great food but you'd have to have Jeff Bezos‘s bank account to afford to eat it. Doesn’t help that the city is known for its seafood - which is basically rich person meat.
Bia Mara is a fish and chip shop on steroids. We’re talking lime and lemongrass batters and seaweed salted chips. Dunk em in garlic truffle or basil chilli sauce. Even better, all the fish is sustainably caught and served in reusable eco-friendly wooden boxes.
It’ll set you back €13 at most, enough for a minty mushy pea side or samphire and cucumber salad.
For something more rustic, check out Tonton Garby for sandwiches which have reached cult level status - pick a cheese, pick a meat. Simples.
Still hungry? Berlaymont Café do a big bowl of moules frites for around €15 which leaves you enough small ones for a craft beer.