Well, I made it to Brussels and am now en route to Gent, just west of Brussels. I’m staying in Belgium for a week before heading to France to move into my apartment and am basically just bopping around.
Day 1 in Brussels:
Unluckily for me, around 2 minutes after getting to the train station at the airport to go to my hotel, the entire system for buying train tickets crashed due to a strike in Brussels. After 2.5 hours of standing in a stagnant line, they finally decided that they couldn’t fix it and we would all just have to buy our tickets from the automated ticket machines. I’m sure this method works great for most other people. Unfortunately for me, the machine wouldn’t read my card and only accepted coins (which I didn’t have yet). Fortunately, one of the workers helped me by breaking my bill up into some coins. So, after spending more than 3 hours at the train station, I was able to take my 20 minute train ride to my hostel… wooooo.
Upon arriving at my hostel, I was able to sit down and rest for a little bit. I eventually decided I was much too tired to be sitting on my bed and went for a walk. Brussels is a pretty interesting city! There are a good variety of shops and restaurants, lots of street art, and these cool alleyways from as old as the 14th century that connect the larger streets.
Day 2 in Brussels:
So despite having many plans for Day 2, I ended up only going to the Museum of Natural Sciences. I took the metro there, and was going to walk there from the metro stop – about a 20 minute walk. This 20 minute walk…. magically… transformed into a 4 hour exploration of the SE of Brussels because the museum was NOWHERE to be found. What I ended up discovering was that Maps had the metro station one street down from where it actually is. Regardless, I got to see so many cool parks! Parks here are much more manicured than in Oregon – I have yet to see one forested area but have seen many beautiful, soothing parks with various greenery, paths, and statues/fountains. Brussels has a lot, some small, but others are quite big. The ones I liked the most are Parc de Cinquantenaire and Parc Léopold.
I was also caught in a huge rainstorm and was soaking wet, which added to the fun of being outside, and basically lost for half the day.
I did eventually find the museum, though, and it was really cool! Lots of dinosaurs, information on the history of the museum and belgium, and on human bodies. The most interesting fact I learned is that it is possible that T-Rexs were covered in feathers like chickens!!!!!
Day 3 in Brussels:
Day 3 was my monument day. Many impressive buildings, churches, squares, etc. etc. in Brussels. All in all a good day – just wandered around the city center and old town for several hours. I visited:
- The City Hall of Brussels
- Cathédrale des Saints-Michel et Gudule
- Park of Brussels
- Petit Sablon**
- Eglise de Beguinage
- Eglise Notre Dame de la Chapelle**
- Eglise Sainte Catherine
- Eglise Notre Dame du Sablon**
- Grand Place**
**Most impressive/favorite places
I ate the famed Belgian gaufres on day 3 🙂 yummy. Also, spent 5 euros on a Starbucks latte. That means I spent more than $5 coffee and milk. Whoooops. I can’t hang with all these European straight espresso drinkers & I’m okay with that.
On to Gent!