Salut Brussels!

Trip Start Apr 15, 2009
Trip End Jul 10, 2009

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Flag of Belgium  ,
Thursday, May 21, 2009

Note: Apologies for the delay of this installment - I wrote the entry last night and the computer ate it!!!

On Thursday 14th May we left Paris, and arrived later that afternoon in the little city of Brussels, Belgium. We caught a metro train without any issues (quite clued up on the metro thing now!), however after arguing and walking in the wrong direction whilst trying to find our hotel, we decided a taxi was the best option to get us there :) !!!! We flagged down a taxi and we both felt like we were in a Bond movie - the driver was crazy, weaving in and out of a number of little cobbled streets! But we got there in one piece, and were pleased to find our hotel nearby to Luxembourg Square - a little area of restaurants, pubs and even a little supermarket.

We got settled into our room, and headed over to one of the pubs to sample a couple of Belgium's famous ales. From there we moved onto a little Italian restaurant down the road for dinner. Very nice!

The next day started with a couple of very fresh (and still warm from the oven) rolls and croissants. We caught the city tour bus and saw the majority of the city sights - the inland port, Royal Palace and the Atomium (a huge structure representing an atom magnified 150 billion times - quite impressive!). However, as we got about 2/3 through the tour we came across a massive union rally that took up most of the city! As a result our tour was stopped, as all the roads had been closed, so we had to walk! We strolled up to Grand Place, which represents the city centre. It is surrounded by gorgeous old Gothic buildings, more pubs and heaps of stores selling Belgian chocolate. There were also some stores selling lace (apparently an old Belgian custom). After taking some photos, we made our way through the cobbled alleys of restaurants (selling the national food - mussels!) and found the very small famous statue of "Mannenken Pis" - a little boy peeing! For such a famous monument, it was extremely small!!

On the way back to the hotel we visited a couple of department stores - I am having major shopping withdrawals, as everything is too damn expensive after converting back from the Euro to the Aussie dollar! You know it's a worry when you look forward to shopping when you get HOME from holidays!! That night was a very cheap dinner - we bought some packets of Cup-a-Soup, and some bread in the hotel room :) Simple but yummy.

Saturday we had a bit of a sleep-in - you don't feel guilty having sleep-ins in Europe, as nothing opens until at least 10am. We walked into the city (about half an hour), and took in some more of the sights. It is a very small and old city, which would be really pretty if it wasn't for the mountain of graffiti makes the place seem a little dodgy and dirty. We finished our tour of Brussels with dinner in Luxembourg Square - there was no need to fight off the crowd, 9pm on a Saturday night and the place was deserted!! Very strange!

We enjoyed our time in Belgium - especially the abundance of chocolate and beer!! Who wouldn't?
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