Week 4: Adventures in Belgium- Beer, Chocolate, & Too Many Frites

Last weekend Lena and I went to Belgium- and by Belgium I mean Brussels and Brugge, specifically.  We spent Friday evening and all day Saturday exploring Brussels and then on Sunday morning we checked our bags into a locker at Brussels Midi Station and jumped on a train to Brugge.
The first thing we did after arriving in Brussels, after our 4 hour bus ride, was to go to our Airbnb.  We actually opted for rented a bedroom in someone’s apartment versus an entire apartment.  Friday night we had one goal, and one goal only… Mussels and Frites (French Fries) for dinner.  With a suggestion from a friend, we set out for Chez Leon for dinner. It was delicious!!
After dinner, we walked around the city center and then went to a huge bar called Delirium and drank more beer!
Saturday morning we set off for the Grand Place, which we saw the night before, but we wanted to see it in the daylight.  We obviously had to have coffee and waffles for breakfast so we stopped at a really cute cafe right off the main square. After checking out the Grand Place we went to find the very strange, yet famous, Mannequin de Pis- which is basically a tiny statue of a little boy that pees into a fountain.  This pissing child is a huge tourist “thing” in Brussels- chocolate shops sell chocolate replicas, it is on every post card, and in the Museum of the History of Brussels there is a whole exhibit dedicated to this pissing boy in various outfits.  (It was just as weird as you think).

 

 

 

 

Later that day, we wanted to go see the Atomium, which is located a bit outside of the city, so we jumped on a metro and ventured out there.  When we got there, it was pretty cool but we didn’t really get it- most things built for the World Fair are sort of odd.  We decided not to pay the money to go inside, but we did have a nice walk around the park and then got back on the metro to head back to the city center.

 

When we were back in central Brussels we searched for lunch… and found a magical place called Fritland.  Can you guess what they serve?  FRITES.  But not just frite sandwiches.  Lena and I both got ( getting two was a huge mistake, we definitely could have split one) these frite sandwiches were made with a baguette, a little bit of lettuce, to “hamburger” patties (but they were more like breakfast sausages), about a pound of french fries on top of that, and finally, topped with this spicy cheese and or mayo sauce.  IT WAS SO GOOD and I got full just by looking at it.  After lunch, we walked around for a bit more then eventually made out way back to the apartment.
Before dinner, we went back to the Grand Place to buy tickets for this awesome event called “Museum Night Fever” which is basically where you paya flat fee and got access/free shuttles to all of the museums in Brussels after hours.  Then we had Thai food for dinner and went off to explore the museums.  We went to the Brussels history museum, the manuscript museum and then the opera house which had this whole light and sound show going on.  The manuscript museum was actually my favorite, although I had no idea what to expect.  It was basically a museum of letters, to and from all of these famous/historical figures.  There were letters from Napoleon, Louis XVI, Victor Hugo, Claud Monet, Picasso, Voltaire.. basically everyone you can think of that was significant in your European History class.  It was amazing.
Sunday we woke up, packed, and went to Brussels Midi Station to check out bags into a locker, and then jumped on a train to Brugge, which is north west of Brussels.  After having a bit of trouble navigating the train station-  we went to about 4 ticket offices and all of them redirected us- we were on the train to Brugge.  Once we arrived in Brugge we basically just wandered the streets trying to find cafes and looked at all the Finish Medieval architecture.  Unfortunately, most of the city was closed, because it was Sunday, but we still had a great time wandering around the city.

 

 

 

 

Here comes the fun part: We got on the train back to Brussels from Brugge, knowing we would get in with about 30 min to get on our bus back to Paris.  Unfortunately when we arrived at the station, we realized that we had no idea where to get on the bus, and we soon found out that no one else working in or around the station did either.  So we missed our bus backed to Paris.  We called the bus company to see if we could get put on another bus, however the only next option was at 4 am and that wasn’t about to happen, so we had to suck it up and buy 100 euro Eurorail tickets back to Paris.  The funny thing about this whole ordeal is that the train we ended up taking got us to Paris in an hour so we arrived in Paris basically 3 hours before we would have if we had taken the bus…

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