Sunday, March 29, 2009

Brussels: Thursday/Friday 26th & 27th March 2009

We had stayed out near the airport as our apartment was not available until today. The station for the village of Kortenburg was about 2km away, so within walking distance – especially when we found a short taxi trip would be €30 – because it was such a short distance. Unfortunately for us it bucketed down and we got soaked. We both changed our trousers when we got to the station. Once in Brussels City itself we dropped our bags at left luggage and had a look around. The Grand Place is smart with a series of impressive buildings surrounding the square. We did the obligatory visit to Mannekin Pis statue (a Brussels icon) – but he was not dressed in any costume today. They probably didn’t know Andrew was going to be visiting today so nothing special had been prepared.

We had a bit of a city explore, then went out to our apartment for the week. It will be nice to have a base after a week’s of constant travel. It is on the 4th floor of a building without a lift and it was a bit of a killer lugging suitcases up! But it is good and after a visit to the Delhaize (local) supermarket we are set.

Brussels: Thursday 26th March 2009

Having travelled for over a month with basically no rain – lots of snow, but no rain – we are getting lots of it in Brussels. This morning we went to the Museum of fine arts http://www.fine-arts-museum.be/site/EN/ . While we knew it had a good collection of Flemish art we were surprised once again by the size of the collection. We ended up having to have lunch and return to finish off the museum. The museum has an impressive collection of Flemish paintings by Brueghel, Rogier van der Weyden, and Anthony van Dyck and more than 20 Rubens. By the end we were a bit museumed-out.

We then headed up to the Palace of Justice, the law courts of Brussels. This is an enormous building that is visible from many parts of the capital. The building is bigger than St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. As it is on rise it should have good views over the area – but with the rain there was no view – we will return!

Interior Steps at the palace of Justice

We sampled today one of the specialities of Belgium – waffles – mmmmm. Lightly caramelised on the outside they require no syrup.

Some street art seen near the parliament

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