The highlight of the day is to visit the Atomium. This monument is a national icon of Belgium and is as iconic as the Eiffel to Paris. I have seen pictures of the Atomium but had no idea what is was like up close. More about the Atomium later …
I went to Brussel Centraal railway station to catch a train to Heysel Park.
I was still hungry after that little breakfast of Waffle. I stopped at a food stall at the train station called Maciotto. I had seen Maciotto in several stations before and thought I should check this out. They sell traditional Italian snacks. Since I thought that there would be nothing much for lunch at the Atomium, I got myself a snack as brunch.
I got something called the Diavoletto Pollo (I think the word diavoletto means devil in Italian). This 3 Euros snack contains tomato, chicken and olives. Anyone can tell me more about Diavoletto? I had never come across this before.
For travelling, I used a 1-day Transit Pass which costs 4 Euros. Can’t complain about the price — London and Paris is much more expensive.
Next to the Atomium is the Mini-Europe. Mini-Europe is a park which contains replicas of famous buildings in the Europea Union. Shoot … I missed the opening by a mere two days! It was still closed for “winter”.
Before I walked over to the Atomium, I stopped by the picnic benches to eat the diavoletto. It was good with lots of meat balls in it. For just 3 Euros, this is one of the better value for money snacks I had. Simply delicious and it was still warm too.
The Atomium was built in the year 1958 as a show case monument for the Brussels World Fair. This structure was supposed to last only six months — it’s still standing today. The structure consists of nine spheres, each connect with escalators in tubes. The shape is based on a unit cell of an iron crystal.
The Atomium had just been renovated and is now sporting a new shiny reflective skin. In each sphere there are exhibits, and viewing platform which provides a panoramic view of Brussels.
The entrance fee was 9.00 Euros. I was surprised that there were not many people around. I find that the most interesting exhibit is the video about the construction of this monument. Other than that, there was nothing much to see. Many of the exhibits are catered for children mostly.
The Sphere are joined by escalators. This is one of the longest in Europe.
One gets to the top via a lift. This is where the observation deck is.
Brussels is kind of flat and you can’t see much in term of interesting landmarks. Below is the view of the Mini-Europe from the top of Atomium. The park consists of about 100 buildings of cultural importance from all over Europe. That would have been a great place to take pictures.
Well, in Brussels you got to at least go see the Atomium but really, you can cover this whole place in 30 minutes.