Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Brussels Sunday

As promised, here's the second part of my weekend in Brussels. I went to bed Saturday night watching The Simpsons (in English, with Dutch subtitles) and Parenthood (dubbed in French). Being in a French-speaking country was actually really refreshing for me. While I'm nowhere near fluent, it's nice to be able to read signs, recognize a fair amount of the words being spoken around me and have a little break from the hacking and gagging of Dutch. 

On Sunday morning, I packed my stuff up, checked out of my hotel and went out wandering again. Just when I thought I was lost, I turned a corner to see this:

Town Hall again. I still think it's beautiful.

Brussels had weather pretty similar to most days in The Hague: gray and rainy. Some of the streets got pretty slick for me and my cheap American boots. You'll be relieved to know that I didn't fall, though I came close several times. I carefully made my way to the Manneken Pis (or at least in the general direction of the Manneken Pis...and a waffle stand).

Once I saw this crowd, I knew I'd found it. All the surrounding streets were basically empty and then suddenly there are 30 people trying to get a picture with a tiny peeing boy. 

See how small he is? I knew that coming into the trip, but I figured when in Brussels, do as the Brussels tourists do.

Then I went to find an area where a few museums live. It's in the higher part of town, so I had to struggle uphill, but I was rewarded with this great view once I got there.

I went to the Musical Instrument Museum, which looks really awesome from the outside. I wish you could tell better from my picture, but if you're curious, go look it up yourself, you lazy bum. Something about it looks kind of steam punk-y to me, and I secretly love steam punk (the design, not the weird sci-fi nerd stuff).

The inside was full of all kinds of musical instruments and cool old things. And I had to guess what some of it was because the explanations were only in French and Dutch.

They had a carillon, which I had never seen before. And I'm not posting a photo so that you'll have to go to Brussels to see it. Or you could Google it, but Brussels is more fun.

A grandpa Mac. I took this photo mostly so my laptop could see one of its ancestors. He's resting comfortably in a display about electronic music.

The worst part about the whole museum was that you couldn't touch any of the instruments. I reeeeally wanted to. Instead, I got to wear big goofy headphones that would start playing music automatically when I stepped close to the instruments. The bad lighting in the place served me well in this photo as you can't tell quite how goofy the headphones are on me.

This museum was full of some crazy instruments. Like this one. It's basically a music box, but somehow it plays horns. I took a lot of pictures of the other crazy things, but a lot of them didn't turn out too well with the lighting and the glass cases. But they had a bunch of traditional instruments from around the globe, trombones with bells that looked like dragons, two-foot-long ocarinas and cornets with curly tubing.

They had a ton of weird-looking pianos (and clavichords). This one's definitely not the craziest, but it's one of the better photos. 

Me again. Behind me are mouth harps (or Jew's harps) and the music they played with it actually sounded really awesome. Good for the Jews.

After the museum, I walked around again (this time downhill) until I found Central Station and was able to hop on a train pretty quickly. And it was actually the correct train this time. (Though I stupidly did not take any pictures of said trains. Next time, maybe). 

1 comment:

  1. AWww I'm waayyy jealous. Those gardens are beautiful, and the musical instrument museum looks super cool too. Although I don't think i'd want to play the instruments and put my mouth/fingers all over the same places that every other tourist had before me. I'd watch you do it though.