After Cologne, I am finally in Brussels, the city where I will be spending the night. The very first night of my Chapter Wanderlust trip. It is a mixed feeling, while I am excited, this can also be said as the first solo trip of my life. I will surely share more on my thoughts at a later post when I am almost at the end of my trip anyway. I am also doing my very first CouchSurfing experience! This is gonna be a brand new experience and adventure for me. After finding a host and talking to her, I am really glad to be meeting her and seeing how this “type of travelling” would be fun to me. I will share all these in another post of mine very soon. Now back to the point. I am here to write about my experience in visiting the Atomium. For those who do not have any idea what is this about, the Atomium is actually one of the must visit attraction in Brussels. It is a building or sculpture that was originally build for the 1958 Brussels World Fair. It is built for the expo and now currently it is a museum.
For those whom are interested, here is a little of the history on it. Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (60 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected, so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes of 3 m (10 ft) diameter connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose stairs, escalators and a lift (in the central, vertical tube) to allow access to the five habitable spheres, which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere includes a restaurant which has a panoramic view of Brussels.
Some people would find it weird, actually CNN have also voted it to be one of the most bizarre building in Europe. If I am to infer, it is made to be like an atom where the sphere are all linked and connected, in today context if I am trying to be a little small expert I would say that it actually pretty represent Brussels. Brussels can now be said to be the heart of EU where all the countries come to the city for meetings and stuff. It is somehow like the various sphere, where they are a huge thing by their own, but when connected it is pretty impressive. Now to share a little on the attraction, it is actually slightly located outside of the city centre and you have to take the metro out here. The metro cost 1.20 Euro and you can reach here with the station, Heysel. It takes around 20 mins from the city centre. Brussels metro is pretty clean and safe, although the necessary precaution is still necessary.
Once you alight from the metro you can see signs that will naturally lead you to the place and you can surely see the attraction. The surrounding are pretty amazing, with a nice avenue and some nice gardens and greens to delight you. As usual the protocol for me would be whipping out my phone and snapping pictures after pictures. Then another thing I would usually do would be definitely be
Me: Hi, I am so sorry, but could you help me take a picture
Me: Thank you very much!
Me: Do all my act act pose
Me: Thanks so much
In front of the Atomium you can also find a sign which says WELCOME to Brussels. This is one of the popular photo taking spots. It is kind of the popular one in Amsterdam where people climb up and do stupid post. Although yours truly is also one of the one. HAHA. Check out the pictures that I took here.
The ticketing office and also the entrance is also located right behind the place. Remember when I told you that one of the thing that I do often, here was definitely asking people to take photo for me and also helping others take as well. While queuing up to get a ticket for the Atomium Experience, a couple that I help to actually approach me and offer to give me their ticket. After some hesitance, hahah, and also asking them again if they are sure if they do not want the ticket, I kindly accepted them. I guess sometimes you are just lucky. It never hurt to ask someone for help and definitely help others when they ask politely. I always have this thinking that if you are polite, people will help you and you will help them as well. “Cough Cough” those sulky tourists, you know who you are! Seemingly, I believe that they are part of a tour and the ticket are included in it, but they do not have enough time to head up. The ticket were pricey though, I saw on the stub that it cost 24.70 Euro! Gosh. I am really so lucky. The ticket even include entrance to the nearby Mini Europe, although I didn’t enter it in the end. The happiness was really there on my face. They even gave me the extra ticket and told me that I could give it to another person if I can find one.
If simply find some person that was queuing up and give it away. After all I have no need for it. Only if I came with my host, then we could both benefit! Just for information, if I didn’t have the free ticket, I could get one at 8 Euros for the student price. For children’s it will be 6 euros and the adult’s price would be 12 Euros. For the combination ticket which I got, the prices would be 16.60, 21.80 and 24.70 Euros respectively for children, student and adults. One great tip for your holidays would be definitely bringing your student pass or even the 11B(Military Card) for Singaporeans, you never know where there might be discount.
You got to know that the attraction is pretty high, from the ground floor to the main viewing deck, where you can really get an impressive view of the city and surrounding is linked by an elevator. While the rest are pretty much walking on stairs. The elevator is pretty impressive, one of the fast ones I will say. I will let the photos do the rest of the talking, the place is pretty interesting. In some of the spheres, you could see the history of the place, some are places for exhibitions and the viewing deck is definitely the most impressive one! It is also the most crowded one.
I really like the viewing deck where they will give you information and let you know what you are looking at far away from your direction. Since it is 360 degrees, if you have pretty serious eyesight, you can see places like Berlin, London……
All in all, I had a pretty nice time, learning about it and then also explore the surrounding, just taking a chill walk in the greens. The weather was also perfect. A tip would be wearing comfy shoes and have fun. Don’t rush. It is worth going even if you do not want to pay the entrance fee. A 1.20 Euro metro fee for some nice unique building and pictures, WORTH IT! Next up, I will be sharing one of the best seafood place in Brussels. Stay tuned!