Saturday, 10 May 2014

Brussels-3 Capital Cities in 6 days!

Our last day and the weather was really atrocious, heavy downpours and windy, we sat in all the traffic to the centre of Brussels with the very real thought of passing an hour in this weather. We popped into a supermarket on the outskirts to buy an umbrella for a silly mum who had not brought her raincoat...was a little taken back to find everything in French! That's the quirky thing about Belgium-it doesn't actually have its own language-half speak Dutch and half speak French. Apart from Merci I had totally forgotten all the French I had learnt on last years holiday! Total mind blank. Thankfully the woman on the till was friendly enough for us to understand each other, I was also given a beautiful cream, single rose in a cellophane wrapper-no idea why as the man in front of us didn't one but then we noticed it was Mothering Sunday in Europe the next day so I'm presuming because of that?? Was a nice surprise though and nearly made up for the super grumpy toilet attendent who kept chasing hubby for money when we had already paid to use the toilet! That is one thing I am not going to miss in Europe-the paying for toilets...

A funny thing happened when we arrived in the centre, we got parked straight away on the road for only 5 euros and it turned out we were a 5 minute walk from The Royal Palace-bonus! Also the rain stopped after 10 minutes-double bonus!!


The palace was rather imposing and reminded us a lot of Buckingham Palace but the children joked that they could have easily jumped over the walls of this palace as there didn't seem to be any guards. Quite different to our palace. Looks like the King was home too as the flag was flying..

Four Pesky Hobbits looking very saturated with their dad...


There are so many beautiful buildings in Brussels-just around from the palace was this huge square, with huge palatial buildings all decorated with gold leaf. Not sure who the statue is in the middle though?


Loved this statue outside the Museum of Ancient Art


Would love to come back here one day for a look around, the outside of the museum was so very grand.


From around the corner of the museum, Brussels just opened up to this beautiful view:


We bought some fries and mayo for lunch with hubby and Ruben deciding instead on waffles before walking towards the most amazing square! Its actually considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its called The Grand Place and lives up to its name. It was packed with tourists from around the world all taking photos. I saw one dad taking a panoramic shot on his phone of his wife and 4 daughters, impossible not to be in or take photos of other people in our photos because it was so busy. But an awesome place to stop and have our lunch....

I thought this was a cathedral but its actually the town hall, a couple appeared on the balcony and everyone (including us) cheered and waved. What a totally fabulous place to get married.



Opposite the town hall is this magnificent gothic baroque building, no idea what it was but it looked like it belonged in a film about Dracula!


There were lots of important looking people out on the balconies of these buildings too, must have been really cool looking out on the square form above there. The gold designs on the buildings were so bright and clean they looked like they had just been painted.


This is the building we stood in front of for lunch..

     
We walked further in through the streets, and through the beautiful glass roofed Galeries St Hubert-some amazing chocolate boutiques. It was the first shopping arcade in Europe built in 1847. No photos as it was so busy inside, probably due to the weather.

We walked through town to try and find the famous peeing boy fountain, passing along some fab comic and graphic art shops, toy shops, brilliant geek shops on the way. I loved the street art:


There was a huge crowd around the fountain which was rather small-think we were expecting something much grander, it was kind of slotted on the corner of two streets but was very popular. He was wearing some kind of suit, according to our guide book the Brussels museum houses all 760 plus of his outfits, which include an Elvis jumpsuit! Its become tradition for visiting heads of state donate outfits for him.

Its so funny as you walk down the adjoining street because there are huge statues of him made out of chocolate and even one of him eating waffles!

Brussels is such a stunning place and so deserves more of our time so its gone on our visit in the near future list! The drive out was pretty stressful, trying to find our way back to the motorway and it took around 45 minutes to get on the right road but as a total plus point we drove past the huge Atomium, would have loved to go inside and see the museum and ride all the way from the top in between the nine atoms but definitely next time!






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