Brussels.what can you suprise me with?
Trip Start Nov 20, 2012
36Trip End Dec 25, 2012
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Even though the temperature doesn't rise much today( a chilly 3 dgrees) the people do and the streets are soon busy with Saturday crowds. Some off to the Xmas markets we enjoyed last evening , some off to the various sporting events etc and us.. well, best we see the local tourist attractions.. The Grand Place by day shows the true enormity of it's buildings.. the architecture from 3 different eras (Baroque, Gothic and Louis XIV) make their marks on the square giving it an unique style.
Next on our walk was the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral ,a Roman Catholic Gothic style church built 1226-1490. As the national church for Belgium it is here that royal weddings and funerals take place. The interior is not as oppulent as some european churches but still very impressive!
Over to the Royal Palace (circa 1783-1934) , the official residence of the royal family.. who actually don't live here..more of the "office" for them. It sits directly in line & opposite the Belgian Fedral Parliment building.. Brussels Park sits between the two.From the middle of the park both front doors are perfectly aligned.. Symbolising their system of government & constitutional monarchy.
While on the history of Brussels, next stop is the Triumphal Arch (Finally built in a 1905 ) long after the enormous buildings either side ,built for the National Exhibition of 1880 ,to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the independent state of Belgium
Now for some fun.. up to the Mini- Europe.. a miniature park located in Bruparck . Mini-Europe has the reproductions of the most attractive monuments in the European Union on show, at a scale of 1:25. Roughly 80 cities and 350 buildings are represented. The park is renowned for the quality of its models, some of which cost as much as €350,000 to make (the Brussels Grand-Place).
With 300,000 visitors per year and a turnover of 3 million euro, Mini-Europe is one of Brussels’ leading attractions
The detail is amazing. the simulations achieved..the trains, mills, boats sailing, sounds, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the fall of the Berlin wall.. all so realistic.
As night falls the illiminations add to the magic of the complex
Alongside is the magestic and intriguing Atomium structure.. built for the 1958 Expo, the structure is a symbol of the atom concept, representing an iron crystal, magnified 165 billion times. It is comprised of nine large spheres joined by connecting steel and aluminum tubes, and reaches a height of 102 metres. Time did not permit us to enter & enjoy the view from the top sphere or the interactive exhibits etc.. Next time ..
Last but not least a meal in the famous inner city "Drug Opera" tavern/ restaurant.
Seated next to an upstairs window , appreciating the view outside and the inteior decor..Xmas is well catered for here.. our meal & drinks finished off the Brussels discovery...