Up and Atom-ium!

Brussels Travel Blog

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Inside one of the train stations

Ever since we decided to go on the trip, Lesley had been going on about something called the Atomium she wanted to see in Brussels. As the structure wasn't featured in my guide book I didn't really know what it was all about but happily accommodated her wish and, after a hearty breakfast on Sunday morning, we braved the extremely user friendly public transport again to head into the outer edges of the city. And I was so glad we did!

The Atomium was originally built for Expo 1958, designed to look like a giant iron crystal cell 165 billion times larger than the real thing. There are nine spheres all accessible by escalators in the tubes that prop up the impressive looking structure... there's even a restaurant in the top one, which is reached by a lift with a partially see through roof (trippy).

Inside one of the train stations
Although the Atomium was allowed to fall into disrepair after being built (it was never meant to last), it was recently renovated and is now perfect for travellers and tourists wishing to catch a glimpse of Brussels' skyline or just see this really neat building up close.

Lesley and I did the full tour, which was around €9 I think and included a ride in the lift to the top sphere (this is where the views are). You then come down the lift to the ground again to access the escalators that take you to the other spheres. Nothing outstanding, but the architecture itself was worth the effort. It really was pretty amazing all round.

After we had had our fill of giant balls we headed back into the city centre for a well needed lunch break.

Is this the mailbox of the beast?
Determined to sample those elusive frites before leaving Belgium we managed to locate a cafe/restaurant that served chips AT LAST. We tucked into them with the obligatory raspberry beer before venturing off on a bit of a mammoth walk to see the remnants of some famous Art Nouveau architecture in the city. By the time we had walked to where the buildings were, though, we were already pretty knackered, so it was with a bit of a half assed effort that we traipsed further to check out the individual buildings that were pretty far and few between (we were following a walk set out in the Rough Guide). Admittedly there were some stunners in there, though, so it was worth it to see how Belgium's well to do crowd must have lived at the turn of the 20th century.
The planetarium

Clocking the time, however, we soon realised we had to high tail it back to the hotel to collect our bags and head to the airport... stopping to grab a few more chocolates on the way (for friends of course). Again, we had no problem navigating our way around and we were sadly soon winging our way out of Belgium after a thoroughly enjoyable weekend visit. Flying in the face of anyone who had suggested that our trip would be dull, it turned out to be one of the best yet... with loads to see, plenty of the world's finest chocolate and beer to sustain us (what more could a girl ask for?), the friendliest locals I've ever encountered, and a rich assortment of sights to experience. Top notch if you ask me, and a spot I highly recommend! Viva Belgium!

jbo says:
Great! I'm glad you enjoyed it. You'll love Belgium :D
Posted on: Sep 29, 2007
happygili says:
your description was great, gave me an even bigger appetite
Posted on: Sep 29, 2007
Pearl510 says:
Viva Belgium, or "Leve België"/Vive la Belgique" in Flemish/French (yay)! I'm glad to hear you liked the trip. You seem to have been very lucky with the weather too! You must have enjoyed some of the only sun we had this summer. Perfect timing ;)
Posted on: Sep 01, 2007
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Inside one of the train stations
Inside one of the train stations
Inside one of the train stations
Inside one of the train stations
Is this the mailbox of the beast?
Is this the mailbox of the beast?
The planetarium
The planetarium
The planetarium
The planetarium
The planetarium
The planetarium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
Inside the Atomium
Inside the Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
The Atomium
View from the Atomium
View from the Atomium
View from the Atomium
View from the Atomium
View from the Atomium
View from the Atomium
View from the Atomium
View from the Atomium
Some lighting inside the Atomium
Some lighting inside the Atomium
Inside the Atomium
Inside the Atomium
Inside the Atomium
Inside the Atomium
Lesley in the Atomium
Lesley in the Atomium
Lesley in the Atomium
Lesley in the Atomium
Men in flat caps shovelling from a…
Men in flat caps shovelling from …
Overview of the Atomium
Overview of the Atomium
Me holding up the Atomium
Me holding up the Atomium
Me holding up the Atomium
Me holding up the Atomium
Lesley and the Atomium
Lesley and the Atomium
Lesley and the Atomium
Lesley and the Atomium
The police are polite
The police are polite
Chocolates!
Chocolates!
Chocolates!
Chocolates!
Chocolates!
Chocolates!
Chocolates!
Chocolates!
Self portrait in a chocolate shop
Self portrait in a chocolate shop
Do they sing about cocaine here?
Do they sing about cocaine here?
Some renovation needed
Some renovation needed
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels
Brussels
Salt n Pepper
Salt n Pepper
Belgian fries
Belgian fries
Belgian fries
Belgian fries
What makes them so funny I wonder?
What makes them so funny I wonder?
Someone had creatively altered the…
Someone had creatively altered th…
Just thought this was pretty neat
Just thought this was pretty neat
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
176 km (109 miles) traveled
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photo by: Vlindeke