Friday, 3 July 2015

Brussels {Day 1}

We arrived in Brussels in the early evening, and headed off to find our apartment without a map. This wasn't so clever, as we soon were on a street I hadn't written down in the description and we were totally disorientated.

However, when looking for somebody to ask about directions, our stereotypical idea of Brussels residents were confirmed: The lady we asked was there for an EU training program, and then an old man carrying a bag of baguettes came by and helped us further. Fortunately, after two more people at a bus station seeing us trying to figure out the map helped us out, we discovered we weren't far at all and we found our way. After putting our things down, and marveling at the apartment we were staying at, we headed into the city with a bit of a plan to see the Grand Market.

On one of the first streets we spotted the Congress Column so we headed over to take a look. There's also the memorial to the Unknown soldier, and one can see the Basilica of the Sacred Heart over the hill in the distance.

It was hard to fit the whole monument into a picture, but it's huge and grand and shiny and became out point of reference for finding our way home at night!
Next we passed by the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. There was hardly anybody there, aside from a couple sitting on the banister.

The plan was to see the Galleries Royales St. Hubert on Monday, but it was suddenly right there, so we wandered in. Maybe we're lacking in class, but it really just reminded us of the Pavillion in Durban. That said, an undercover alley way that's this well lit is pretty cool :)

After staring through the shop windows at the chocolate shops and fancy lace shops, we were on our way again in the direction of the Grand Market, known to be the most beautiful Market place in Europe. Aw we rounded a corner and saw the square, it was beautiful! The buildings that the sun shone onto were really amazing!

With there not really being too much to do in the square, besides sitting on the floor or gutters like many were, we wandered down a street lined with souvenirs and chocolate and waffles... until, quite coincidentally, we came across the Manneken Pis, which explained the street lined with so much to appeal to tourists!

We asked somebody to take a picture of us, and in that moment Malcolm joined the thousands of people who have a photo of a little boy statue weeing on his head.

We also spotted some of the comics that are drawn on the walls, since one can do a comic-strip tour through the city.

By now we were starving, so tried to find some traditional Frites. We found so many döner shops, and were apprehensive because, come on, we live 100m from a döner place in Richtsberg...
But, eventually we were hungry enough and went for one because of it's clever marketing - Manneken Frites. The chips really were different to ones we've had before, and were delicious!

We continued wandering around while slowly heading back to the Grand Market and then to our apartment. There were things to see all along the way and, with the sun setting, even the Cathedral looked totally different.

We stopped to at the Congress Column again, to sit and watch the sun set before walking the last little stretch home.

All in all, it was a great first day and we were surprised at how much we'd seen just by chance. I also realised how terribly rusty my French has become, and set about practicing it as much as possible in the next two days!

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