Arrival in Belgium
Brussels Travel Blog› entry 122 of 128 › view all entries
I arrived in my last country of my trip through Europe. Sure, I was flying out of Paris, but I wasn't going to spend much time there.
I learned quickly that there were three train stations in Brussels, which seemed a little excessive, as it was only a couple minutes between each. But, no matter, it was convenient. I made my way to the hostel and dropped off my things before heading out into the city. It was sad to think that this was the last time I would be checking into a hostel in 2005.
The city is actually really beautiful, and it felt very old. I was excited because they speak both Flemish and French here, so I could practice my French some more.
How cool! I really lucked out there. I took the grand tour of the palace, if I remember correctly it was free, but it was neat to see and I would have paid for it. (Don't tell the king of Belgium that!). From the palace I walked through the town, with my destination the Manneken Pis, or the peeing boy. My great aunt had been to Belgium many years ago, and when she heard I was going, this was all she talked about. "Go see Manneken Pis!" I wondered what the big deal was.
After the rain stopped though, it didn't rain again for the rest of my time in Belgium. I made it to the statue, and I guess I still wonder what the big deal was! It was cute to see, but what is the significance of the peeing boy? While I was in the area, I had to try a Belgian waffle. Sure, I know it's all a touristy thing, but what did I care? They looked really good. I got one with strawberries and powdered sugar on it. It WAS good! Near the Manneken Pis is the Grand Place, which is the main city square of Brussels. This massive, old square offers several great examples of architecture, including the Hotel de Ville with it's massive tower.
I continued on through Brussels and came to the St. Hubert Gallery. Not really sure what this was by the name, I found out that it was a 19th century shopping center. This is one of the 3 such covered shopping centers in Brussels. The center was designed for ground level shopping, with the upper two floors for apartments. Inside this shopping center is the Neuhaus Chocolatier, one of the oldest in the world.
From St. Hubert Gallery, I headed over to the St. Michel Cathedral, where I got some photos. Another example of the beautiful architecture of the town. As the day wound down, I headed back to the hostel to get directions for a supermarket. As I wandered the streets looking for a place, I wandered into what must have been the Turkish part of town. I could feel the eyes on my back as I passed through. I did eventually find a shopping center, bought some food, and went back to the hostel via another route!