“Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, Please!”

Day #21: July 19, 2009

Our first official day in Belgium wasn’t filled with many activities & sites to see, unlike other cities we’ve been to. We started off by going to an internet café, and doing a bit of shopping. Of course, we went into every single chocolate shop, sampling as much as we could! The only thing we had planned in Brussels was to go to the Coco Museum.

Now, I know what you are thinking. “What a brilliant idea to go to a Coco Museum in Brussels, Belgium…that must be a wonderful place!”

On the contraire my friend! Ok, maybe Amy and I had some unrealistic expectations, like a Willy Wonka factory or something, but it was a very small house with three tiny levels.

DSC05404Level 1: Pay entrance fee. Receive sample of a cookie dipped in warm chocolate. Initially, we were thinking, “Yes! Already free samples!!!” We proceeded to watch a DVD and learned that chocolate actually comes from a fruit. We looked around this 12×12 room of chocolate statues, and then concluded our level one experience with a demonstration how chocolate “bonbons” are made. This may have been fun for the rest of the crowd, but both Amy and I had already made chocolates before; and really, all she was doing was putting melted chocolate in plastic molds. The redeeming factor of level one, we got another sample.

Level 2: Old tin cans, a few pictures of coco beans being processed, and a chart of how much each country’s consummation of chocolate. It looks like Switzerland consumes the most…

Level 3: Chocolate dresses. Now this sounds like it would be neat to see, but it was only a dress completely dipped in chocolate. What is so special about that?!

Now, I’m sure you are asking, “You at least got to buy some homemade chocolate in the gift shop right?” Wrong. There wasn’t even a gift shop!

 

Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium

Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium

Now this Coco Museum beckons for a travel tip. Maybe plan at least three “to-do’s” in a country. The first activity should be priority. The second event should be a backup plan if your first one, well, falls short of expectation! And the third attraction should be a backup of the backup and a “let’s do this if we have time, are broke from all of the shopping, and sick from all of the chocolate we’ve consumed” plan. The Coco Museum was the only activity we had planned in Belgium! Oh well, we truly had a wonderful time relaxing, shopping, eating, and well, just being. We are now well-rested, broke, and ten pounds heavier. Oh the life of a backpacker!

 

DSC05451Although we didn’t plan for anything else, we did come across a main attraction in Brussels (which completely baffled Amy and I in understanding why it is a highlight of sightseers and an emblem of the tourist souvenirs…), aka: the peeing boy fountain. The fountain was on a street corner, and the boy was completely exposed! Only in Europe…only in Europe.

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