First day with the family in Brussels
Since we recently took the children to the cinema they won't stop asking: "When are we going to Brussels to meet Tintin and eat waffles?"
Seeing as the Belgian capital is so close, Patrick and I don't hesitate for a moment, and head off for a family weekend.
Plus, it's Henry's 10th birthday in a couple of days, so we seize the opportunity.
Exploring a world of dinosaurs
In order to make the most of our weekend in Brussels in Tintin's footsteps and start our trip well rested, we arrive in the evening.
© Muséum des Sciences naturelles
We start the morning with a nutritious breakfast, while reminding the children to stay close during our walk and go to the toilet before we leave.
So we set off and, as promised, take the tram towards the biggest display of dinosaurs in Europe, at the Natural Science Museum.
After gaping at the Jurassic park, we take the children through the rest of the museum's exhibits and activities:
- a journey through time
- minerals, precious stones, fossils, gigantic whales and microscopic insects
- the Evolution gallery and Biodivercity
- themed temporary exhibitions
Both father and child are under the spell. One wonders who's the most amazed out of the two!
Short break for a typical Belgian lunch
We then head towards the Place Jourdan nearby to eat some chips at the famous Maison Antoine.
Brussels has a huge number of chip shops, a real institution in the city. There are several in every area, often open all night. The one we stop at is considered to be one of the best in town.
Wow, here we are, sitting on one of the friendly terraces on the square, at the heart of Europe, surrounded by the European Institutions. We are surrounded by people speaking different languages and different accents. It’s really cosmopolitan here!
As we're in the European district, we decide to walk up to the Schuman roundabout where a number of European Community offices are.
Shortly after, we arrive at the Cinquantenaire Park with its string of museums.
Before we go into the main museum we decide to make the most of the lovely view and go up to the Arcades, which you can access through the Military Museum.
There is a beautiful view from here, we can't resist taking lots of pictures!
"Look! The Atomium!" shouts Henry. We can't wait to visit it tomorrow.
Family itinerary at the Musée du Cinquantenaire
© WBT - ThomasBlairon.be
Among the number of museums on the site, we decide to visit the Royal Museums of Art and History – Cinquantenaire Museum, but in an original way.
We wear the headphones provided and carry out an inquiry inspired by Cluedo in the Museum's cloister, thanks to the special kit we're given at the entrance of the museum.
What a surprise! While we continue our visit, Henry sees the mommy that inspired Herge to write Tintin and the 7 Crystal Balls but also the statue of Arumbaya from The Broken Ear adventure. "I told you Tintin would be with us the whole time!" The whole family is having the time of their lives!
As for Charlotte, she was completely mesmerised by the Egyptian exhibit: the mummies, the tombs, the hyroglyphs and the beautiful jewels had her in a trance! What a delight to see the kids enjoying themselves and learning at the same time.
As we leave the museum, the children have earned the right to a delicious ice cream at Capoue Ice cream parlour on the nearby avenue des Celtes.
Yum! The speculoos and spiced bread ice cream really are gorgeous! Its my husband who seems to have enjoyed the ice cream the most...even if he seems to have managed to get half of his on his t-shirt! And he wants us to believe that we went to Capoue for the kids!
We start to make our way back to the city centre. We cross the stunning Grand Place, we say hello to Brussels' famous Ketje, the Manneken Pis and naturally, we stop to have a look at the Tintin fresco (on the Comic Book Tour), on rue de l’Etuve.
© WBT - ThomasBlairon.be
Click, click, click, Charlotte and Henry take turns to take pictures perched on their father's shoulders. We won't forget to post the pics on our favourite social networks!
While heading back to the hotel, we can't avoid the Tintin Boutique on a little street that starts from the Grand Place. This is the perfect occasion to swap hubbie's T-shirt for a smart Snowy sweat-shirt.
Dinner and magical evening at the Comic Strip Village
We go back to freshen up, especially the children who still have chocolate ice-cream around their mouths, and we decide to have dinner at the Comics café on the magnificent Place du Grand Sablon. We find Tintin waiting for us... it's a statue but it's still Tintin!
© WBT - ThomasBlairon.be
Located close to the Comics Strip Village, with real streets and a central square, this place dedicated to the 9th art also has a library which Charlotte and Henry have already spotted as soon as we get to the square. It's no use arguing, we won't be able to have dinner until they see all the new books and we buy a couple of classics by Franquin and Roba to complete their collection.
Hmm! Something smells good, what are we having Mummy? Check the Comics Café Menu. While we wait for our food to arrive, the children are kept busy colouring in their place mat with all their favourite comic book characters.
The evening goes incredibly well, so we choose to end it with a frame of bowling at the Crosly bowling which is very close by, in the lower Sablon area on the bvd de l’Empereur. Just a short game for all four, which the boys enjoy particularly, at first, by teasing Charlotte and me, but then, lo and behold, we win!
We get back to the hotel after a day full of excitement, eager to go again tomorrow with lots of new and surprising activities.