I went to Bruxelles today with my host mom and host sister Margaux and I loved it! I took the train with my host mom from Namur to Bruxelles Centre and met up with Margaux outside the train station. Trains are extremely easy to take, and I'm pretty confident that I could do it on my own. I'd have a few nervous jitters but I think I could do it. After all, I navigated JFK International Airport all by myself, even though I almost missed my shuttle because I didn't realize I had to walk outside from the FCC to the pick up zone..... Anyway, I digress.
It was a beautiful day. It was close to 24ºC I think, which means it was about 75ºF. I actually thought it was kind of hot, but then again I'm probably just getting used to the tepid weather here. Our first stop was the park of Brussels, adjacent to the palace. They had cute statues of mussels, fries (one had each fry represent a skyscraper), and beer. One statue of beer had a ribbon around it saying "Miss Belgium", as if it had won a beauty pageant. There was also a statue of a brussels sprout being carried by a stork.
Our next stop was the Palais Royal. It was beautiful. The flag was flying atop the palace, which meant the king was in Belgium.
Moving inside, I decided I might as well just live in the palace, because it's way too beautiful not to. I'm sure the king and queen will make an exception, right?
I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that my pictures do not do this beautiful palace any justice. And I'm surprised, because my host mom said Versailles is much better. I believe her (partly because I know Marie Antoinette wouldn't live in a place unless it was extremely beautiful, or she would've redecorated it) but it's still weird to think about. Margaux and I kept a lookout for the royal family, but I guess being in Belgium doesn't mean you have to be in your palace, waiting for exchange students to stop by and take a picture with you (le sigh)
I of course, had to take a picture of the royal piano.... :)
The green chandelier and green ceiling are made up of the wing cases of around 1.5 million Thai jewel beetles. I'm being so serious.
I then decided that I didn't want to live here anymore... at least my home doesn't have any beetles in it. That I know of, at least.
After leaving the palace, we were on our way to Grand Place, the place I've been wanting to see for YEARS. On the way there, we saw a beautiful church and a really cool structure that had amazing lines (hey, what can I say I took Photography I and Mr. Shaw taught me something). It was a gallery for random things, namely chocolate.
And of course, we got distracted by Delirium. For those of you who don't know what Delirium is, it's a massive bar that holds the Guinness World Record of the most flavors of beer commercially available to the public. It acquired the record in January of 2004, so naturally they had 2,004 flavors available at that time. I don't know if they have more or less now.
I tried a chocolate beer. It was... interesting. It definitely tasted like chocolate, but it was so bizarre. I think it was good for maybe a few sips, just for the novelty of it, but not the entire bottle. I'll remember that next time when I try to get something "exotic". I'll stick to my fruity beers! I'm definitely going back there though, it's amazing. My exchange student friend from Vermont, Caleb, met up with us at Delirium and continued on with us to Grand Place.
Grand Place definitely lived up to my expectations. It was beautiful, but also much bigger than I expected. I guess that makes sense though, because that's where the flower carpet is held every two years. I missed it by a few weekends, but I still loved being there.
You can't really tell from these pictures (due to my amazing skills in photography, I'm sure......!!!) but the tower of the town hall is actually incredibly off center. Caleb pointed it out to me, and said that there's a myth that the architect, upon realizing it was off center, jumped off the tower and killed himself. That most likely never happened, and Wikipedia (okay every English and History teacher/every high school student reading this, I KNOW it's not a credible source, but just enjoy the story) says that it was mostly due to "scattered construction history" and "space constraints". It's still pretty though.
After Grand Place, we went and visited Manneken Pis. Before I left Belgium, I promised myself I wouldn't think anything of Manneken Pis, because really, it's a little boy peeing and everyone takes pictures of him and I just didn't understand the appeal. But I can totally understand it now. He was dressed up and it was so cute and a little funny. Still completely inappropriate, but I enjoyed it. Every 4th of September (the day I went to see him) he is dressed up as a uniformed soldier of the Infantry Brigade "Liberation", to mark their entry into Brussels in 1944. He wore little white gloves and a beret. It was cute.
After, we went to a little restaurant and had waffles and fries. I again forgot to take a picture of my waffle but it was a Brussels waffle and I got ice cream and hot fudge on it. There are two types of Belgian waffles, and they are NOTHING like what we have in America, so if you ever say you have a Belgian waffle and you're in America, chances are you aren't really having a Belgian waffle as Belgians know it. Brussels waffles are light, crispy, rectangular, and usually served with powdered sugar. Some people get fruit or ice cream on them, but that's usually because a lot of restaurants offer the other toppings if there are a lot of tourists nearby. Liège waffles are denser, chewier, and sweeter, because it has caramelized sugar over it. I think I prefer Liège waffles.
Caleb and I parted ways after that (it's really weird doing bisous with another American but we're trying to be Belgian so we sucked it up) and then after a while my host mom, host sister and I went home. It was a long day.
Tomorrow will be an even longer day. This was supposed to be a short post, because I have school tomorrow (first day of high school!!! again) but it's massive and now it's 12:30AM. I'm glad I did it though, because I'm sure I'll have a lot to talk about once school starts soon and I couldn't deal with writing a bigger post. I'm in 6ème, or "rhéto", which means senior year. Wish me luck on my (second) first day of senior year!!!!