Day 77: Brussels, Belgium

Day 77: October 7th

Brussels is a beautiful city… We spent the day walking almost the entire time and covered a lot of ground.

At the turn of the 19th century Brussels went through a period of revamping… The middle classes, merchants and artists opted to have their houses built in the style in vogue: Art Nouveau..and these homes are now UNESCO protected sites. We saw some of these homes just walking along street corners. If we hadn’t been looking for them, we would have missed them completely but once seen, they really stand out.

We walked into the city visiting the Church of our Lady Sablon which has some stunning stained glass windows. It was a sunny day so we could see the colors in full display.

Now for my favorite part: when I was younger, one of my aunts visited Brussels and bought all of her nieces and nephews miniature souvenir versions of the famous Manneken Pis statue. Since that day, I’ve not only kept the little souvenir safely but the statue has remained my biggest association with the city. In reality, the actual statue was a lot smaller than I expected but still adorable. They apparently dress him up sometimes but he was in his original birthday suit when we got there!:)

After lunch we walked to the Grand Place which used to be a Market place in the old days. It is stunning. A lot smaller and more intimate than some of the squares we have seen recently in Vienna, Prague and Florence but each building is stunning in its own right. I liked that it was smaller too.

We continued walking towards the EU Commission which was quite a walk away. On our way there we encountered a huge protest from the city’s firemen who lined up their fire trucks in the middle of the street and played their sirens on full blast. Initially we thought it was something serious with all of these fire trucks but a policeman nearby assured us it was just a protest and there wasn’t anything to be worried about. They had just blocked or slowed most traffic down in the entire city, but other than that, no harm done.:)

A long walk later, we got to the EU Commission buildings. We had walked almost all day and needed a break. The weather was still beautiful and it was great to be outside.

I wish we had more time in Brussels but this sort trip has made me want to come back for more.

Off to Spain tomorrow on a really early flight!:)

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Art Nouveau Home in Brussels

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Synagogue

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The Church of Our Lady of Sablon

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Inside the church…beautiful reflections from the stained glass

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Manneken Pis

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Brussels Bourse

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Grand Place..the most beautiful square we have seen so far!

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The other end of the Grand Place

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Grand Place

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Grand Place

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The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, one of the oldest shopping malls in the world

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You can see the Grand Place from anywhere in the city

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Beautiful fall day in Brussels

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Firefighters protesting their low wages

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Coffee break outside the European Commission

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