The “tourism” in Brussels — even at the beginning of low season — is enough to make one go mad. It’s crowded and kitchsy. The Grand Place is very pretty, especially first or last thing when there are only twenty people around instead of two hundred standing in awkward places or walking backwards to get a good picture.
The city is old European, which makes it difficult for me to find my way around. It gets pretty modern pretty fast and it seems fairly gritty, but that could be my projection based on the weather and my being ready to go home.
I did not suffer myself to take a picture of the Mannekin Pis, which did not deserve such condescension.
The European Parliment was closed both days I was there for All Saints Day, which was rather disappointing.
There were a few beight spots, including the Galleries du Hubert, which is the basis for all modern shopping malls but much prettier, the Costume and Lace museum (great for research!), the Musical Instrument Museum, the Comic Book Center, and the BELvue Museum, which celerbrates Belgium’s modern history. (As a nation, it’s younger than us!)
I would highly recommend the BELvue, as it gives a really interesting and educational background not only on the country itself, but its role in both world wars and the modern political scene of Europe. Plus, you get to see really great artifacts, like this catalog page demonstrating the modern industrialism surge at the end of the nineteenth century.
All in all, I’d go back to see the EU center, but I’ve seen what I want to see. I’d make Brussels a day trip or overnight from Bruges, but of course, that’s my opinion!