3 May

This past weekend, three of my friends and I visited Brussels, Belgium! It was such a good weekend. We were supposed to go to Brussels last weekend, but because of the volcano, our flight was cancelled. Besides some drama with hostels (they’re trying to charge me for a night that I didn’t stay there! $140!) everything went smoothly! We took another lovely Ryanair flight, which went a lot better than last time, since we knew what to expect! We landed in Brussels around dinner time, and after an entire day of traveling, we were exhausted. We went to our hostel first, to check in, and found our hostel to be situated right next to the Godiva chocolate factory! We then asked the manager of the hostel for a food recommendation, and he told us that right around the corner there were a few good restaurants.

We ended up eating at a pizza place, that had EXCELLENT pizza! As soon as we sat down, a man started talking to us in broken English/French. We had no idea what he was talking about, but he kept pointing to our chairs and saying, “They hot! They hot!” What?? Our chairs are hot?? Then his wife (who by the way looked to be about 40 years younger than he did) explained that someone had just left, and her husband was just making a joke. Ohhhhh! Gotcha! The old man thought this was hilarious. He continued to talk to us non-stop, asking where we were from, what we were doing here, etc. We kept him entertained, but were also trying to order at the same time, as we were starved! We hadn’t had anything to eat all day! As my friend, Kaitlin, was ordering, he said “spezialit√§ten!” which is specialty in German. He kept saying it over and over, then talking in French some more. Kaitlin told him to hold on for a second while we ordered, but he just kept talking! We ordered our pizza, then our attention was right back on him. He then got really upset, because apparently he was telling us we should order a Brussels specialty, because he could get them at the same price as the pizza. (on the menu, they were at least double the price) After our sincere apologies, he was still upset. Then, just as strangely and quickly as he got upset, he got happy again, telling us about a ski resort in Austria that we were supposed to have heard of. It started with an M. Sorry, sir, we don’t know what you’re talking about! (His wife, by the way, was cracking up at this whole interaction!) Then, of course, since we didn’t know what ski resort it was, he got upset again, and said “YES! You know it!” No, we don’t! His wife then apologized (while laughing of course!) and dragged her husband away. He was still telling us about it until we couldn’t even hear him anymore! Brussels had already made an impression on us!

After dinner, we walked around a bit and and saw the area by night. We were all exhausted, so after that we headed back to the hostel and went to bed. We got up early the next morning, as we had a lot to see in one day! We headed to the Atomium, which is this atom-looking thing that is a science museum. It was built for the World’s Fair in 1958. It was really cool! We took a lot of pictures, then headed to the EU (European Union) headquarters. We went to what we thought was the EU headquarters – this really great looking building with all the flags of the EU outside of it, but in fact it was parliament. It wasn’t what we had seen or heard of before. When we found the real EU building, we were quite disappointed. It was in a pretty ugly area, and it was a pretty ugly building itself! We weren’t too impressed, although it was neat to see the EU headquarters.

We walked around downtown later, and I have to say, I was most impressed with the Grand Place. It is in the center of town and you are literally surrounded by amazing looking buildings. My friend compared it with Vienna, saying it was all of Vienna’s great architecture in one square! It was really beautiful. We had waffles (naturally!) in the Grand Place, and just walked around! We then walked to find the Manneken Pis. As much as it is hyped up, we were again disappointed. It is literally a fountain of a boy peeing. The statue itself is not much more than a foot tall! After walking some more, eating more waffles, and eating some Godiva chocolate, we headed back to the hostel to clean up and go out to dinner for my friend, Kelsie’s, birthday! We ate at this Italian place (yes, again not Brussels specialty…just too expensive!) which was delicious! We met an older German couple who had lived in the US for a few years awhile back. They were so friendly and nice to talk to! After dinner, we headed to a bar called Delirium, which supposedly has the “Best Beer in the World!” It was fun to try the beers and we just had an overall good night out. We headed back pretty early, as to catch the subway and because we had another early day tomorrow. The next day was yet another day devoted to travel. We took Ryanair back to Bratislava, and then a bus back to Vienna.

Since Brussels, I’ve been miserably sick! (I am sitting in bed with PJs after not leaving the apartment in 24 hours :/ ) But this weekend I am going to Krakow with the same great people I went to Brussels with, so pray that I feel better soon!


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