Monday, May 31, 2010

Brussels- Our 5th Anniversary

Mussels in Brussels: check
Belgian Beer: check (with Shea tending bar)
Belgian Chocolate: check
Belgian Waffles: check

For our 5th anniversary, we headed over to Brussels, Belgium. We arrived on Friday, April 9th (our anniversary) and stayed through Sunday night. After checking into the hotel, we headed over for some massages that Shea had set up. We both really enjoyed being pampered and then we headed back to the room to freshen up before walking to a very nice French restaurant for dinner. We celebrated reaching 5 years and talked about all our experiences and then wondered about what the future has in store for us...good times, of that we are sure.
On Saturday, we headed into the heart of Brussels. It is an interesting city, balancing both centuries old history and traditions with the future as the headquarters of the European Union. We started our tour with a visit to the Royal Palace. From there we walked through gardens to the Galeries Royales St. Hubert, which could better be described as an old European shopping mall. After some window shopping, we headed into the Grand Place. The Grand Place is the old main square in town (a portion seen above). On one side is the impressive municipal building and across is the Musee de la Ville de Bruxelles (Museum of Brussels). The square is completed by a grand hotel and across from it centuries old homes with splendidly decorated facades. After taking in its sights, we walked the few blocks to see the well-known water fountain known as Manneken-Pis. It is, as you see above, a toddler doing his thing. Belgian humor.
We then headed into a Belgian Beer Brewers Museum, where we learned about the evolution of Belgian beer making. Of course there is no better way to end a museum tour than with a beer. They teach you how to properly pour a Belgian beer, and of course Shea volunteered to play barkeep after her instruction.
From the museum, we headed over to St. Micheal's Cathedral. We wandered around inside then came out to find a Belgian waffle with chocolate sauce calling our names. We answered. Delicious.
Next we headed into another area of town where we found the Belgian war memorial, dedicated to the soldiers killed in WWII. Located just down the street from this monument is the European Union headquarters building with its grand fountains and surrounding Parc de Bruxelles. We walked through the park back to the elegant Royal Palace. We then headed over to the Notre Dame du Sablon chapel and toured around inside. After the visit, we stopped in and bought a box of Belgian chocolates to keep us company for the rest of the evening. Also delicious. Our final tourist stop for the day was the Justice Palace seated atop a hill looking over the city.
After a full day of walking we decided it time to eat some dinner. So, when in Brussels it's time to devour some mussels...and as you can see above we did exactly that.
After a night cap at a Belgian bar sipping on some Belgian beer we headed for Belgian bed.
On Sunday, we woke up, put our bags together, and started back into the city. Along the way while changing trains on the subway, a woman stopped us and told us our backpack was opened...uh,oh. We'd been Belgian burgled. They got away with Shea's wallet when we weren't looking. So, we quickly called and cancelled our credit cards and bank cards, and fortunately (thus far) have had no problems. We did actually get the final laugh though because Shea had exactly 10 cents in her wallet. They probably thought they were getting some rich tourists and haha...10 cents- suckers.
After a couple hours of getting that all cleared up, we toured some other areas of the city we had yet to see. We then headed on to the airport and caught our flight back to Frankfurt.
Even though we had a bit of bad luck on Sunday, overall, we had a great trip and really enjoyed our little Belgian celebration. 5 years long and going strong!
(How many times did I use "Belgian" in the post? First, correct answer gets a Belgian beer on us...)

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