Friday, July 2, 2010

A Day In Brussels

Well I’ve got my days in order again…realized today that I was a day ahead of myself….we were scheduled for a day in Brussels on Friday! Yes…I did manage to get on line early this morning. I had lots of time to think in the middle of the night. We had to change rooms late yesterday because of lights not working and they forgot to tell the night manager. At 3 am he rented the room and we had visitors! Such a mix up but everything settled down and Jim went back to sleep and I didn’t for several hours.

Got up about 7 am and turned on the computer and the wifi worked! By 9:00 am we were in the car and headed for Brussels to meet up with a friend that I met in Australia during the Outback Tour in 2008. We’ve stayed in touch with Facebook and set up a meeting for today. He is a school teacher and has plans to tour the USA later in July and will be staying at our home for a few days…even though we are not there. I delivered a key and maps to him today. His apartment is north of Brussels by the airport in Zaventem so it was easy to find.

Jim really enjoyed the fact that Jochem did all the navigating and driving for the day. We were with him for about six hours. Some of the sights that you will see in the photos are:

1) a large wind machine….we see more and more of these in Europe but also still see the Nuclear Stacks as well; this was taken along the highway on the way to Brussels.

2) The Antoium….the 1958 Expo….looks like a science project of silver balls…they are actually each a room and the top one has a restaurant.

3) Mini Europe….didn’t go in as we’ve seen the actual sights for the most part; and the nearby Bruparck.

We then drove by the Japanese Gardens and the Royal Gardens. You’ll notice in the photo that Jochem has a mini convertible that was fun to ride in even though the sun was hot and it was humid!

Parked in the Centrum and walked for several hours all over the center of the city…you’ll love the old buildings. There is one photo of ruins underneath a building….look like Roman ruins…discovered during some construction.

Don’t miss the “Manneken Pis” and then the female version “Jeanneke Pis” … strange icons but they are very popular! The Manneken Pis even has an entire wardrobe and was dressed today…we’re told that this is unusual. The female doesn’t seem to have any clothes…but I think she could use some!

There are many cartoons on sides of building, examples of the Sunday cartoons; another unusual feature of Brussels to add color to their city.

The clock tower performs on the hour but we seemed to catch it all three times on the quarter or half hours so we didn’t get to see the statues move in and out but the music was great!

We were getting tired of walking so after a bit to eat we headed back towards the car; stopped for a photo of the Cathedral and then drove to the Royal Palace. My plans to eat at the Cook & Book near Jochem’s apartment were cancelled as Jim was getting tired and we had an hour plus drive back to our Formule 1 in Gent. Lots of traffic as people were heading west towards the beaches for the weekend.

The photos of the apartment are of Jochem’s place…and the Tour de France….well of course…the race goes through Brussels next week!

Arrived in Gent, found the diesel fuel for the auto; and drove around the Centrum before going to the hotel. It’s tough to get fuel on the weekends without a European credit card with an electronic chip as the attendants take the weekends off. We’re in for the night and the rain storm complete with lightening has finally arrived….hopefully this will clear the air a bit as we head for Amsterdam tomorrow morning.


Unknown said...

Hi Martha,
Interesting photos of the boys and girls. Loved seeing Jochem.
Mary and T

Jochem said...

I really enjoyed showing you around! It was nice to see you again. I follow your adventures through Europe here in this blog and I have to say it's quite amazing what you've seen already!
I'm getting ready for my own adventures, which will begin on thursday! Looking forward to it!
Take care and enjoy your stay xx