To the myriad travel bloggers who suggest that you spend only one day in Brussels, what are you talking about? 

Jake and I spent our time on the go, moving from one sight to the next, and we barely scratched the surface of this eclectic, multilingual, exquisite city.

Unlike my typical preference for site-seeing, we arrived in Brussels with absolutely no agenda, no working GPS, and only one cartooned city map featuring an exaggerated Mannequin Pis. 

We started the day where our bus line ends on the north end side of the city centre, somewhere along Boulevard Emile Jacqmainlaan. Because the only geographical point of interest on our cartooned map was the Mannequin Pis, we headed south toward him and stumbled upon the Place Des Martyrs / Martelaars Plein (The Martyrs Square). The square quietly memorializes a few hundred national heroes who died during the 1830 war of Belgian Revolution. Today, the buildings surrounding the square house Flemish government offices.

As we continued, we waltzed by several more sites worth investigating further: Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Drug Opera tea room, Centrumgalerij. A quick stop at the Flemish tourism centre provided us with a good map and directions to a public restroom. Public restrooms do cost money in Belgium, so don’t forget to bring change. After traveling by bus and wandering city streets, it was the best 50 cents I spent. We settled down for waffles and coffee at a table in Marche De l’Agora Bruxelles, a lovely outdoor square and market just outside of the Galeries de St Hubert. I would suggest this spot to anyone. It’s quiet around 11am in the off season and you would hardly know that it’s a tourist trap in the summer.

I will not bore you with a blow-by-blow account of the day, but suffice it to say that the beauty of Grand Place / Grote Markt made the pit of my stomach flutter. We regaled ourselves with handmade chocolates from Neuhaus. We prayed in St Michiels en St Goedoelekathedraal. We stood in line for frites at Bij Chez Papy and they were worth the wait.

There is so much more to explore in Brussels. This is not a one-day city.