October 23rd, 202
You have to visit Brussels if you visit Belgium. At least it is the most touristy thing to do. So after Lasne, I headed back up north and drove to Brussels. There are restrictions on driving diesel cars in Brussels, so I had to be careful not to get a ticket. I found a spot to park the car right outside the emission enforcement zone that was the closest to the main sights of Brussels. I took the bike, loaded the map, and headed to Atomium first.
I think it is quite overrated. I like the fact that there is a science museum inside, but it was so crowded and overpriced that I decided not to go. Instead, I took a walk in the park nearby which was beautiful and not as crowded. After a stroll around, it was time to visit the downtown Brussels, where the action is supposed to be.
Biking in Belgium is quite safe, but it is not comparable to biking in Amsterdam or even Helsinki. Technically, there are bike lanes, but the lanes are on the main street and you share the road with cars. It makes it a bit dangerous, but most drivers are respectful of bikers.
It was a Sunday afternoon, so there were not that many traffic jams, and the streets were not very crowded. I found a nice place around the old town and locked my bike and continued on foot. There are many interesting places to visit in Brussels, but somehow, I expected more. I thought, like in Amsterdam, I need to spend hours and days orienting myself and visiting all the interesting sights there. The old town and the city center area are quite small and it does not take that long to do a sightseeing tour. I still managed to spend a good few hours just taking it all in. There is the Grand Place, a huge city square completely encircled by elegant historic buildings dating back to the 14th century, Manneken Pis, an iconic bronze statue of a boy relieving himself publicly, Delirium cafe, which is a bar/cafe spanning across several blocks, and many other places. There are some museums to visit, but I was just too tired to visit them.
I biked back to where I left the car and headed to the eastern side of Brussels where my old high school classmate, Kaveh, lives now.