After arriving in the city, I found my way out of the City Center station. It was more like I stumbled under the weight of my backpack and being super tired from my journey.
As I got outside of the station, I tried to get my bearings and ended up making laps around the actual station because I couldn’t figure out where I was.
I eventually figured out where I was and made my way to my hotel. After I got into my room, I took a look outside to see what my view was and…. It had started raining. When I originally popped out of the train station it was blue skies with minimal clouds and now a storm had appeared out of nowhere. I had 24 hours in this city and I knew that I couldn’t let anything stop me from exploring. Especially because I really wanted to see the comic book murals all around the city.
I pulled out my Chelsea boots, took out the clothes I had stuffed in them to save space and prepared myself for the rain. I went outside with my handy dandy tourist map I got from the hotel front desk and began my adventure. First stop was the Grand Palace.
In the rain, this plaza is ominous and beautiful.
After awkwardly standing in the center of the square and taking an excessive amount of photos I began my comic book journey. I went to the first location I thought was the start of the tour and could not find the mural. No idea what mural I was looking for but I knew I was looking for a huge painting on the side of some building. I wandered through every side street within a 5 block radius of the train station and couldn’t find anything. So I thought that I would look for a shop that might know where I could start. So I went back to a comic book store I had passed earlier and asked for some help. I was directed to the information booth outside. The information booth that was boarded up and closed… So I went to the Marriott hotel across the street and asked the concierge to see if he could help. He provided me with a map that had all the murals marked. SCORE. Not.
I followed the map and tried to find about 5 of these murals marked on the map. None of them existed. They didn’t even exist in the side streets around where they were marked. I managed to find two of the murals in my random wandering and getting hopelessly lost. Note that one of them wasn’t anywhere close to the markings on the map and the other one was about three blocks off. The easiest one for me to find was the Tin Tin one near the Mannequin Piss which was a nice surprise that I managed to hit two things in one street.
After that, it started raining again. And by raining I mean the streets cleared and the cracks between the cobblestone filled with water. People began to take shelter under all the awnings and I knew that it was time to give up. 6 hours of wandering, little to no success on finding my murals, I felt like a drowned rat and I was hungry.
So I found my way back to the Grand Palace, stopped for a Belgium Waffle covered in Belgium chocolate because obviously.
Stood outside (because you get charged about 2€ more to eat inside) under an awning with a huge smile on my face and ate my waffle. That was my highlight of Brussels. If you go just for the waffles, you will not be disappointed.
I ended my day in Brussels by watching BBC World News and mentally preparing myself for Budapest.
I left the next morning at 6AM on the express train back to the airport and began the next leg of my journey.
Tip: I felt very safe walking the streets of Brussels at 6AM by myself before the sun came up. It’s a fairly safe city to visit as a solo traveler.