Monday, January 24, 2011

Brussels Saturday

I went to Brussels this weekend and am proud to say that I made it there and back safely. I had a little mix-up with the very first train I've ever ridden in Europe and ended up at Gouda, halfway to Utrecht, instead of 5 minutes away at the other station in The Hague. Understandable mistake; could've happened to anyone...who is too dumb to read signs or remember a platform number.

The up side: I saw my first windmills of the trip. There were 4 or 5 in a field between here and Gouda. I'm sorry to say that I didn't take any pictures, but I was too busy trying to keep myself from panicking and throwing myself off the train onto a flock of sheep.

I eventually did get on the right trains and ended up in Brussels, free to roam for the next 24 hours. So I just wandered in the general direction of the Grand Place, the big elegant square. I walked down a shopping street (it was unbelievably crowded because Les Soldes are going on and everything is on sale) and got a hot waffle (obviously a must when you're in Belgium). I made it to the Grand Place, which Wikipedia tells me was recently voted the most beautiful square in Europe. You can decide for yourself (though my pictures probably don't do it justice; the weather was pretty crummy).

That's the Maison du Roi on the left.

The Town Hall. On the top, there's supposed to be a statue of Michael slaying the devil or some nonsense like that. And there are a bunch of saints standing around up there. But mostly, it just looks cool.

And here's me in the square, just in case you didn't believe I was actually there. Most pictures of me from this trip will probably be self-portrait style, one of the consequences of solitary travel (and of not wanting to be touristy enough to ask someone else to take it for me).

Then I walked the small streets as all the restaurants began lighting up for the night.

I eventually ended up at one for dinner and a beer. I couldn't leave Belgium in good conscience without having a Belgian beer. My Chimay Bleue was fine, but the restaurant where I chose to eat alone was a little uncomfortable. At one point, I was the only customer there, and the waiters were getting bored, so whenever any potential diners walked by, I felt pressure to act like this was the best dinner I'd ever had in Belgium (which it happened to be, but not because it was anything more than mediocre).

After dinner, I walked back to my hotel, but not before seeing the Town Hall one more time. I think it looks even better lit up (though again, you probably can't tell from my photo. It looks a little bit better if you click it to get the slightly bigger photo).

I'll post about the rest of my weekend in Brussels in the next day or two. I just like to keep you in anticipation so you'll keep coming back for more. And I'm too lazy to resize all the photos right now. 

But I promise it'll be the best second post about Brussels I've ever published.


  1. It appears that your blog posts are being corrupted on their long journey through the transatlantic fibreoptic cables. You keep mentioning riding trains yet the code for pictures of said trains fails to reach my browser. Please advise when you have this situation resolved. Thank you!

  2. Your pictures are great and I can live the trip through your eyes and not leave home.
    Have a great time and I will continue to read your blog. Yvonne