Brussels

Comics and chocolate truffles

Mural comic strip of Tintin (R) work of Hergé and Rick Hochet (L) work of the artist Tibet

Mural comic strip of Tintin (R) work of Hergé and Rick Hochet (L) work of the artist Tibet

French Belgian comics are popular in Europe with many of their first publication appearing in Belgian magazines such as Spirou, Pilote and Tintin. Being the centre of comic strips, Brussels has one of the most interesting mural paintings dedicated to these comic characters and unless you are a fan and in search of these creative images, they would probably go unnoticed. Being part of Brussels cherished attraction I decided to see some of these comics characters immortalized on walls spread throughout corners of city by cartoonists and comic artists. It might probably a whole day or more unless you follow a guided tour. My journey into the fun world of comics begins at the source itself, the Belgian Comic Strip centre. The comic museum is housed in a historic former Wauquez department store designed by the Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta. This place is certainly worth a visit and even if you are not too keen on comics, the building itself is worth a stop over. Here you can glimpse the fun and imaginative world of comic characters, with its permanent and temporary exhibitions. Right in front of the Comic centre is the Marc Sleen museum with a permanent collection of the life and work of the creator of Nero. Another comic must visit which could be fun for kids and adults too, is Moof, a special museum dedicated to cartoon figurines, original drawings and collectibles related to the world of comics. The annual comic book festival is also held in Brussels.

The Belgian Comic Strip Center housed in the Art Nouveau style of a former department store

The Belgian Comic Strip Center housed in the Art Nouveau style of a former department store

Walking down the towards the cathedral and head to the Grand Place, you can see more of these comic strips along the Marché au Charbon with the two fun characters, Broussaille, one of the very first comic strip made in 1991 by Frank Pé.

Brousaille, comic strip mural created in 1991 by Frank Pé

Brousaille, comic strip mural created in 1991 by Frank Pé

Visiting Brussels is not complete without tasting its seafood specialty, and I was not too keen in waiting and spending too much time in restaurants, I decided to drop by the Nordzee – a popular eatery famous for their fried fish and mussels.

Mussels and fried fish at the Nordzee in Brussels

Mussels and fried fish at the Nordzee in Brussels

After a delicious stop over, I continue to search for more comic strips and here are images taken during my comic walk, meeting with some of the most popular illustrative characters, Monsieur Jean, Tintin, Broussaille, Olivier Ramaut, Ric Hochet, Gaston Lagaffe, Victor Sackville, Nero, The Scorpion …

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Soon my feet begins to feel the fatigue trying to get from one place to another in search of these fun characters. Back to the Grand Place to visit the must see chocolate shops and plunge myself into the exquisite world of mouth watering truffles and luscious pralines, with famous names such as Neuhaus, Leonidas, Godiva and Mary. A visit to the nineteenth century Royal Galleries of Saint Hubert offers a gourmet trip back in time while discovering historic chocolate shops with aesthetically and luxuriously wrapped chocolate boxes shown on their window display.

Belgian chocolate truffles and pralines

Belgian chocolate truffles and pralines

At the Grand Place the Godiva chocolate shop is an attraction itself with curious passersby looking at the making of fresh strawberries hand-dipped in rich yummy milk and dark chocolate.

Dipping fresh strawberries in chocolate at Godiva chocolate.  Boxes of famous Belgian chocolates, Meert, La Belgique Gourmande, Godiva and Mary

Dipping fresh strawberries in chocolate at Godiva chocolate shop. Boxes of famous Belgian chocolates, Meert, La Belgique Gourmande, Godiva and Mary

While chocolates in all its splendours are one of the many gourmet attractions, other tantalizing sweets like pannekoek and rich cream topped waffles lined the streets of Brussels as well as traditional biscuits and Belgian candies – these chewy cone shaped fruity cuberdons originally from Ghent and the caramel honey flavoured babeluttes.

Cuverdon and Babeluttes Belgian traditional candies

Cuverdon and Babeluttes Belgian traditional candies

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