This is the sixth post about my Brussels trip (the first can be found here). I thought I’d use it to briefly mention a few of the things that I got up to on my last day.
First up was the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée (Belgian Comic Strip Centre). Cartoons are massive in Belgium. Asterix, the Smurfs and Tintin are all famous Belgian creations, alongside many others. This worldwide success and adulation is honoured in the Belgian Comic Strip Centre. On my last morning I decided to take a look. The museum features over 5,000 original drawings and a whole section dedicated to the infamous Tintin. It was this section that I enjoyed the most. I used to love reading Tintin books as a kid. I couldn’t help laughing as I walked around and was reminded of the hilarious antics of Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock and Thompson and Thomson, and for the rest of the day everything that surprised me aroused a response of “Blistering Barnacles!” I think I might have to look into buying some of the books.
There are also a few murals dotted around the city if you can find them:
Next I was off to Koekelberg Basilica (Basilica of the Sacred Heart). It’s an Art Deco church that’s the fifth largest in the world. I actually made it there by accident. I had hoped to pay it a visit, but wasn’t sure where it was. It was situated beyond the scope of my map. I didn’t want to risk going “off-piste” on my last day as I had a train to catch. Instead there was an interesting looking church situated right at the end of the major road near my hostel. Due to the road being incredibly long and straight road there was no way I could get lost, so I decided to pay a visit. As it turned out, that was Basilica of the Sacred Heart, which was convenient.
The other thing beyond my map that I had hoped to visit was the Atomium. It’s a building erected for the 1958 World Fair. It’s built in the shape of a molecule’s nine atoms but magnified 165 billion times. The nine spheres are linked by escalators and contain a museum. It also possesses a venue for special events. It’s become something of a symbol of the city. This is unsurprising as it’s massive. It’s so huge that it can be seen from quite a distance, which I soon realised.
I initially had no idea where the Atomium was, but as I left the Basilica of the Sacred Heart I was pleasantly surprised to see it over some buildings. It looked like it wasn’t too far away, so I decided to take a stroll over. This “stroll” turned into quite a trek as the Atomium kept appearing “just over those houses”. Clearly I underestimated how big it is. It was so big that when peeking over the tops of buildings it looked like it was nearby when in fact it was actually still very far away. I must have walked for over forty minutes.
Like I say it’s pretty big:
Unsurprisingly, the inside offers some panoramic view of Brussels, but I’d read that it wasn’t really worth the 11E entrance fee. And after taking so long to get there, time wasn’t on my side, so I walked back while carefully re-tracing my steps. After not wanting to go “off-piste” I’d actually gone very, very off-piste. But I’d taken note of street names to make sure I didn’t get lost. Thankfully, I made it back okay and got to the train station with plenty of time.