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Friday, November 2, 2012

Brussels, Belgium

We took the train from Strasbourg, France to Brussels and arrived Saturday night. After checking into our hotel, we met up with Angie and Shane. The next morning we headed out to see The Grand Place.





We spent the day walking around and exploring


We wandered off pretty far from the hotel but got to see this view below. The arrow is pointing at the Atonium Structure. It's a popular tourist attraction that we, unfortunately, didn't have time for. We only had one full day in Brussels and decided to spend it walking around the city. But at least I can say I've technically seen it!


This is our only group shot. And a bad one of me and my fat looking arm. But everyone else is looking good!



Here was the view out our window early that morning


This is the Manneken Pis ("little pisser"). It's tiny and located in a tiny corner that we just happened to have stumbled upon.


Apparently it's a local tradition to dress him up and there are over 800 suits they put on him. So when we stumbled by this wedding outfitter with the statue in the window, we thought it funny enough to snap a photo:



The food is incredible. Between the chocolate, belgian waffles, and the frites, it was caloric heaven.

Jas got a photo of me excitedly holding a belgian waffle. Not sure what makes them so special (they're probably deep fat fried 5 times), but they're better than any waffle I've ever had and this one was smothered in white chocolate. My favorite travel food I've ever had!!!!!!!!!!!


Then we stuffed frites into our pie holes. Jas got the lowdown on their cooking process from the vendor. These really are fried twice. The first time is to cook them. Then when ordered, they're flash fried at a higher temp. Customer chooses topping. They had curry, ketchup, and we chose the mayonnaise. For the record, I wanted to try the curry but Jas did not. The mayonnaise was stupid good.


Mussels were in season but we didn't end up ordering any. They looked great though.



More belgian waffles





The chocolate shops.... they're beautiful







While wondering around we found Notre Dame. It was pretty incredible. We're fans of the old churches, there is just something about the architecture and respect for places of worship. 



The next morning we were up early and took the train to the airport.


We're fans of the train. It's so much better than airlines. They're easy to use, generally cheaper, and the freedom you have aboard is so much more humane. We took many trains during out stay and never had too much of a problem finding our way around. We had taken the train in Italy on our honeymoon as well and liked it. Our longest train ride was the 5 hours between Strasbourg and Brussels. It went by very quickly. We had our ipads with rented movies, music, books, magazines, and of course there is always the scenery as you're traveling through the countryside and towns.

If you're thinking of traveling to any of the places we've been, here are the hotels we stayed at:

Lucerne, Switzerland: Hotel Seeburg. Loved this hotel. It is located along the lake and our room had a gorgeous view of Mt. Pilatus. Unfortunately for us it was cloudy and rainy the whole time so we were not able to see the mountain very much. But the lake was still gorgeous. The bus is located out front and very inexpensive to take into town. Breakfast included

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland: Hotel Oberland. Gorgeous! This hotel is very quaint, not modern by any means. The ceiling is low enough at one point walking up the stairs that Jas had to duck. But the restaurant is very good and the staff was as kind as can be. Breakfast included

Strasbourg, France: Adagio Access Strasbourg Petite France. This hotel was fine, nothing to call home about. I would have liked to be closer/more in the middle of Petite France. It's an easy walk to both Petite France and the train station which is nice but the actual street it's located on was a bit dodgy. No amenities as this is more of an apartment hotel, re: no hair dryer. But if you're going to stay in town for a bit, they did have a mini kitchen which is helpful with cost. The breakfast was the typical bread/cheese meal you get at most hotels but this one charged 8 euros/person. We skipped it and found a little cafe with cappuccinos in Petite France instead.

Brussels, Belgium: Marivaux Hotel. We really liked this hotel and it was definitely the nicest one we stayed at on our trip. The breakfast here was the best as well with crepes, bacon and sausage, eggs, a cappuccino machine (heck yeah!), breads, cheeses, fruits, etc... Our room was large, too, which is always nice. The walk to Grand Place was about 10 minutes which isn't bad. Also about a 10 minute walk to the train station in the other direction which was nice.

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