Atomium wasn't in my planning initially. However, after I knew that it's built in year of 1958, I became interested in it. I didn't expect this building to be this old, even though not as old as all the other attractions which were there since a few centuries ago. However, I expect this Atomium to be fairly recent!
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The Atomium
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Closer look

The Atomium is a "body centered cubic", crystal structure of iron. It's built in year of 1958 for Expo. And was meant to be demolished after Expo. However, it got so popular, eventually it was kept until today.

If you purchase a ticket for entrance, you'll enter from the atom from ground, and like any other tall building in the world, you'll take a lift that goes straight up to the highest level to enjoy the view of the city.

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Realize there's only a little skyscrapper in the city that stood out among the buildings
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Very gloomy day, nothing much to view actually
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After viewing from top, you can go back down to ground floor, and take escalator or stairs to other "atoms" for some other exhibitions. However, to our experience, that's really redundant. The exhibition was so boring and totally waste of time. We simply walked a round because we have to get to the other side to get down.

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Stairs to another atom
The entrance is 11Euro per person. In my opinion that was a bit expensive because the view was just okie. Maybe the weather wasn't very good. Besides, the exhibition was very badly done. However, I wouldn't say it's not worth to visit at all, at least I admire the engineering that was done back in 1958. It's still amazing even for today's standard. (sorry, I'm a nerd)

Maybe another better way for visiting the Atomium is to make reservation for dinner at the highest level . I think it'll be great to enjoy night view while having dinner. It should be romantic. We didn't make reservation because our itinerary was not fixed entirely. It's a shame.

How to go?
With Metro, everything and everywhere is accessible. Atomium can be reached by Metro, simply alight at Heysel station, Atomium is just a few minutes away.


Musical Instruments Museum (MIM)

Musical Instruments Museum is the only museum we visited in Brussels when we were there. We spent a long time in the museum, longer than we expected, almost half a day there. And I thought, it was one of the coolest museum that I've ever been.

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Building opposite the back of MIM

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I took this picture in the middle of the road

MIM is easily accessible. To go to MIM, you can either take metro to Troon station. Or, you could chose to walk from Grand Palace. We chose to take metro to MIM, and walked our way back to Grand Palace.

The reason I said MIM is only of the coolest museum I've ever been, is the audio guide, the abundance of musical instruments that you've never ever heard of, and the value of the ticket.

Some certain musical instruments have had some recordings. There is an audio sign on the floor for these instruments and all the visitors have to do is just to stand in front of the instruments with a guide, the guide will play the music from that particular instruments automatically. Besides, the screen of the audio guide will show the picture of that instruments too, so that you can be sure you're listening to the correct one.

There are total 10 levels in the building, and total 4 levels with display of musical instruments. I've learned a lot of funny looking/weird/interesting instruments, i.e. Jew's harp which makes funny sound, glass harmonica which was invented by Benjamin Franklin, Bible regal which is an instrument that looks like a thick bible etc. I also learned that saxophone was invented in Brussels, by a guy called Adolphe Sax. Because there are just too many things that were not explained in the museum, I bought a book in MIM, titled "50 Unusual Instruments", featuring the most unusual and popular instruments in MIM collections.

The ticket was only 8Euro per person, with an audio guide for each. With the abundance of instruments shown, I would say this 8Euro is really worth it.

After hours spent in the levels looking at the instruments, we decided to have our lunch at the top level of MIM to enjoy the view of Brussels.

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From our table
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Other side of the restaurant
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From the outdoor seating which nobody wants to sit as it's too cold
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Interior of the restaurant, it's simply packed with tourists

The food in MIM was actually good. I ordered a MIM salad, while the Man ordered Fish of the Day. As our bags were kept in the locker, I could not change my wide angle lens with a normal kit or my 60mm, I didn't take any photo of the lunch.

After the lunch, we made our way to Brussels Central Station which was only walking distance from MIM to get our train tickets to Amsterdam. And we enjoyed the walk back to Grand Palace.

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For a moment I thought it feels a bit like San Francisco

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Slanted street like SF

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A building opposite MIM
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Just like the contrast of that van
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A park near MIM
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View from the park to where I was at MIM
How to go?
Nearest metro station: Troon
Or you can walk from Grand Palace

How much is the ticket?
8Euro per pax


The Best Onion Soup Ever!

Jan told us about this small little shop, just next to flea market in Brussels.

La Clef D'Or.
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This small, humble, unpretentious little shop is famous for its home made soup. We did not know what soup to order, so we asked the young chap. He told us they're famous with onion soup. I don't like onion, I definitely didn't have a good experience with onion soup before, at The Soup Spoon. However, we still decided to try it!

We ordered a bowl of onion soup, and a cup of warm coffee. And had a seat outside, facing the flea market. Enjoy the slightly warm weather on that day.

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The first sip, was heavenly! The melted cheese inside the onion soup was just fantastic! Please remember to say yes when they ask you if you would like to add some cheese, say YES to the cheese! Definitely a deadly heavenly combi :)

I miss this soup so much I wish I could get it here!

It was cheap to eat here, it's only 4.20Euro for soup and coffee. We proceeded from here to Noordzee Mer du Nord, imagine how satisfied we were within that 2hours :)

If I would ever visit Brussels again, I will not give this onion soup a miss! Seriously :)

Place du Jeu-de-Balle 1 Marolles


布鲁塞尔的跳蚤市场 Flea Market at Brussels

我很少会把跳蚤市场列入行程里面。不过,在布鲁塞尔的最后一天,我无论如何要在Noordzee Mer du Nord用午餐,所以剩余的只有短短的半天。在欧洲,太早出门也没用。我们照常在B&B慢慢吃早餐,然后问问Jan的意见,该上哪儿去。



根据他的建议,到跳蚤市场的最佳路途是搭地铁到Louiza,在Palais de Justice观赏城市的全景,然后乘搭电梯到底楼然后步行到跳蚤市场。

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De Laaisie Kruimel, a good conclusion of Amsterdam

One thing we were complaining when we're in Amsterdam, there wasn't much of good food that we've came across.

On our last day, we already gave up on good food, but by chance, we found De Laaisie Kruimel!
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We did not have any itinerary on the last day, just roam around aimlessly, enjoying the last bit of Amsterdam and the slightly warmer weather than the past 6 days! (damn it! really? last day?!)

We passed University of Amsterdam everyday, so we decided to walk in and take a look. That's how we found this small and unpretentious shop around the area.

We just had a light lunch at Remembrandtplein before we walked here. But looking at all the nice pastries, I just can't resist. Besides, it's full house, I bet it's good!

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The Man ordered a simple plain butter croissant as he knew he would miss the croissants here. The croissants were served with freshly made jam, it's really good!

I let the waitress recommended to me. And she recommended me a popular choice of their shop, zuccini cake.
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I know I know, you have doubt, I had too! It's a zuccini flavoured butter cake, top with lemon curd. I ordered even though in doubts, but it's actually good! That's why, let the waitress take charge on what to order is actually a good thing!

Since it's the last thing we had in Amsterdam before travelling to airport, I think this can really considered as a good conclusion of our trip :)

We spent total 9Euro, for a croissant, and zuccini cake and a cup of hot chocolate.

By the way, forgot to mention, everything in this shop is home made!

Langebrugsteeg 4AmsterdamThe Netherlands

Windmills at Zaanse Schans

Ever see a Netherlands poster without windmills? If there's no windmills, there must be tulips!

No trip to Netherlands can ever be completed without a trip to see windmills, no matter how touristy the place is. But yet, I almost forgotten to plan this into my itinerary until the Man reminded me by asking, "Are we going to see any windmills there?".

Windmills used to be very important. It was used to mill food productions, for example rice, soy, mustard seeds etc. Then, the development of windmills went on to heavy duty job like sawing. However, when modern industrial was introduced to the world, windmills were slowly taken down. Everybody wants efficiency. 

That is the reason till date, there wasn't many windmills around. When windmills almost went to extinction, a group of windmills lovers tried their very best to protect and conserve windmills. That is how we got Zaanse Schans, this touristy place which acts as a open air museums.

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A small welcoming town

Walking into Zaanse Schans.

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I wish I can stay here too.

Peaceful town.

Finally, windmills!
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Actual working windmills

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Windmills... again...

There are total 6 windmills in this area. There are 5 in my picture. The windmills are very beautiful in this very scenic place. The only problem you will have is that you can't stop taking pictures. I think I have most photos of windmills over my one week of trip.

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The roaming ducks from the farm next door

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I just love the colours
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I love the sun too!

I just like how the ray of lights shine on the windmill :)

The windmills are actual working windmills which you can visit them. We only went into one that is free admission, which was milling mustard seed. I remember there are also one that is milling paint dye, another one sawing. The rest, I can't recall. But they are about 2-3Euro per admission.

There's a small farm with some ducks, goats and chickens running around just next to where the windmills are.

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The farm next door
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Only the ducks can swim pass the canals and roam around the windmills.

The weather was a bit crazy when we were there. It was sunny, then cloudy, then sunny, then cloudy, then snowing, then sunny.... You can see that from my pictures.

There are also a Zaanse Schans Museum which we didn't visit, a cheese shop which also demonstrates how a cheese is being made, a clog shop which we were too lazy to visit, and two restaurants. We went into one that serves pancakes because it's already planned in my itinerary that I will eat pancake at Zaanse Schans :P

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On our way back to train station

We spent almost 3-4hours here in Zaanse Schans and love every minute of it.

How to go?
You can either take train or bus to Zaanse Schans. We waited for bus on Saturday morning, but a kind man told us there was no bus on that day. Therefore, we took a train. Take train Amsterdam Centraal to Koog Zandijk, the return ticket is 5.80Euro per pax. The train journey was only 20minutes. When you reach Koog Zandijk, you will have to walk about 10-15minutes to reach Zaanse Schans. 

If unfortunately you forgot to purchase a return ticket when you're in Amsterdam, and you happened to need to purchase from Koog Zandijk, please remember to prepare coins. There are only machines, no counter. And the machines only accept debit card from Netherlands or coins. 

Worth to go?

How long should you spend your time there?
If you plan to visit all the windmills, and the museums, I am suggesting you to spend morning till evening in Zaanse Schans. If you're like me, just want to enjoy the scenic view, half a day is good enough. 

If you have I amsterdam City Card, you will get free admissions or discounts to certain museums. You can always check the promotion here.


Belfry of Bruges (Belfort)

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This is Belfry tower, the bell tower of Bruges since the medieval time. Belfry is located just next to the Markt since year 1240. It is 86m high and to reach the top of the tower, you will have to climb 366 steps. It didn't sound like a lot. But the steps are very steep and narrow which only allows one person to move. So, whenever you hear a person would cross your path, you would have to stay at one corner of the steps and wait till they pass.

The steps get narrower and narrower towards the top. It gets more and more scary to the top. This is definitely not small children or wheel chair friendly.

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View from top of the tower

This is the view when you're up to the top of the tower!

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Another view from tower

And this too!

It wasn't as nice as this when you're up there, because there were wire mesh to prevent accidents. So, it was little bit disappointing. But what the heck, we still take pictures like crazy. It was very cold and windy up there. Plus, the 47 carillon bells ring once in 15 mins, which makes talking very difficult :P

Like any other high tower in the world, it indicates the distance between the tower to another city.

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Brussels, where we are heading to.

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Antwerp, where we changed a train to come to Bruges.

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Amsterdam, where our journey ends.

Entrance to Belfort is 8Euro per person. It remains open on Monday even though most attractions are closed.

I personally find that the 47 carillon bells are very interesting. However, I didn't take any video when I was there. So, I'll share some videos from Youtube below.

I supposed this huge music box mechanism is the one that control the bell at the top. You would see this half way to the top.

This is when the bell rings~

(Disclaimer: I do not own this videos, I copied them from Youtube)

Is it worth a visit?

Yes, why not! Plus, it's a UNESCO heritage! You should :)