January 15, 2011

Brussels

Most of you know that I recently went to Europe for work. To keep airfare down I had to fly in a couple of days early. I know, oh how I suffer. I flew into Brussels Saturday morning and then left for Germany on a train Monday afternoon. I spent Saturday walking all around Brussels, mostly in the rain. As much as I hate rain I'm told just a couple of weeks ago Western Europe was freezing and covered in snow. Ok, I'll take the rain. It didn't make for the best photos but at least I wasn't freezing!

The first two pictures were taken from my hotel room. The first is the Bourse which is their stock exchange building. The second was just a building next to the Bourse I thought was beautiful with its turquoise window frames. I took some advice from Shaboom (more on her later) and actually used photo shop to remove that hideous crane from the background. A skyline like this shouldn't have a crane in the background.
Brussels Town Hall
I was drawn to the figures adorning the buildings. You could spend a day photographing them in just this one square - each is unique. Each is probably a forgotten story. Turns out these are reproductions and the originals are across the place in a museum in the King's House.
Maison du Roi (King's House) in Grand' Place
These gentlemen were on another building in the square
Memorial for Karel Buls, a Brussels politician who started the preservation of Grand Place
The cobblestones in the city are beautiful. I don't know why I didn't get a close up of the cross walks, instead of painting stripes on the road for a cross walk it was done in white marble cobblestones. Perfect.
It started raining so hard when I was walking around the Place du Grand Sablon I jumped into this little pub. I was so wet and cold that the corn soup I ordered could very well have been the best soup I've ever had. Baguette. Vin blanc. Merci! Marble bistro tables. Two old ladies and a pug getting hammered on white wine. The chandelier kept exploding and blowing the circuit breaker. Merci.
After I ate my soup I didn't need nor want the goat cheese and spinach quiche I ordered but I didn't want to be rude so I had a few bites. If I could have carried one of those tables out by myself I would have.
Notre Dame du Sablon
I bought chocolate and macarons from two of the big chocolatiers in Brussels - Wittamer and Pierre Marcolini located in the Place du Grand Sablon. By the time I left this area it was raining so hard I stopped taking pictures. I did a fast walk past the Palais Royal, Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Jardin du Mont des Arts Kunstbergtuin...it definitely warrants a return trip. I saw about as much as one can see in a single day.
I ate dinner at some pretty little French-Belgian bistro by my hotel near Place Ste. Catherine. I found it strange that the concierge sent me to an area that specializes in local seafood when the one thing I said I don't eat is sea food. Luckily I came across this little place. So many of the restaurants only seat about 20 people, I love that. I was lucky to get a seat. I'm a little surprised I don't have any pictures of my food. 
I saw a lot of these hanging clear globes around Brussels. It was so pretty with the lights.








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