I really like Brussels. Although I usually go down there for business, I try and stay longer just to walk around downtown. Brussels is only two and half hours away by train from Amsterdam and it’s enough of a change to feel like a mini-vacation. I speak French, but after years in the Netherlands, I also speak Dutch. Shopping in Brussels is what I call Belgian roulette. If I walk into a shop and look around slowly, people switch to Dutch. Then I answer back in French, but they hear my Québécois accent, not being able to place it. Then they switch back to Dutch. Then they hear my Dutch, which is very ‘Amsterdam’, with a slight English accent. Then I try and switch back to French, then I give up. For cool places to go, I recommend checking out Time Out.
(Photo: Rue des Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat, a touristy restaurant street)