Tuesday 5 March 2013

Brussels on a Whim - Day 1

Whew! Sorry for the long gap, everyone. It's been a pretty hectic six months or so at work, which has put me behind on the blog. Thanks for coming back and without further adieu here's a few catch-up posts.

After hurridly making plans the day before, we arrived into Brussels on Saturday lunchtime where we met up with Bobby & Erica, took a quick trip to the hotel, check-in and drop bags then out to explore a little and (most importantly) find lunch!

On the way into town, though, we took a bit of a detour past the Royal residence & nearby park. Despite being in the depths of winter, there was still a goodly bit of green about.
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In the park, they had a few pieces of sculpture installed that focused on the culinary heritage of the city. At first we couldn't figure out what balloons had to do with Brussels, but on closer inspection we realised that it was decorated with mussel shells!
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Giant moule in bright orange (no I didn't get it either, but you certainly couldn't miss it for the colour!)

A recommendation from the hotel had us heading into the centre of town, threading through some wonderful old streets. Unfortunately, both of the places we had recommendations for had since closed, so finding ourselves on a random street corner in Brussels we decided to take a punt. Across the plaza was a fairly unassuming bistro called Brasserie du Jaloa. Why not? Over we went and sure enough they had a table for four. Win! Only once we were seated and I did a bit of googling did I realise that we had managed to plonk ourselves down into a Michelin starred bistro. Rather more indulgent than we were originally intended, but extremely tasty with good service and quiet enough the four of us could get caught up properly.

After words, we definitely needed a bit of a walk, and being November, the sun was already starting to set, giving the city a beautiful golden glow.

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The bourse or stock exchange. One of Europe's oldest.

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Sadly the city's Roman foundation museum was already closed. But we peeped through the glass doors down into the ruins. Will have to try to visit on our next trip

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The grand plaza

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Beautiful frescos on the side of one of the buildings

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And coming into another square, a market was packing up where 2 horn players were playing around with some antique instruments.

More than a little cold and still pretty full from our epic lunch, we decided to take any easy night of it. Chatting away, with a light cold supper (cheese, crusty bread, pickles, charcuterie and plenty of wine) was a great way to spend time with old friends.

A minor hitch with our room (in the form of a smoke alarm that beeped incessantly and very loudly) meant that we didn't actually get settled in to sleep until gone midnight. Fortunately, the next day was to be a late start and somewhat flexible. . .to be continued

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