We are staying in Brussels, but we had few plans to visit the city because we had plans to go to Amsterdam today instead. A rail strike allowed us to spend the day here. Many museums were closed or partially closed because their employees could not get in to work.
We are so glad we got to spend a day here. This is simply another breathtaking city.
We walked close to 10 miles today, and were often distracted by beautiful streets, parks and shops. We don’t know how dozens and dozens of fancy chocolate shops can all survive, but the displays in hundreds of shops today caught our attention.
We are staying right behind the Belgium Parliament building, a little different than the oval shaped glass monster that houses the European Parliament.
We did a lot of people watching.
We went by the nearby Royal Palace a couple of times and were one of the few people there to watch the changing of the guard at sunset.
Brussels is much like Paris in many ways. Lots of great parks in the middle of the city, many public squares with busy sidewalk cafes, statues everywhere. One picturesque pond had ducks, geese and swans.
And there were some things that didn’t seem to fit. We walked up to a large playground with basketball courts and lots of children that was maybe 10 feet from, and without separation from, the massive European Union Parliament building.
There were gypsies asking for money armed with their fake babies; or, in the case where they had real children, using them to beg for money at restaurant tables while they wait.
We saw a large military convoy truck sitting on a narrow but beautiful street. Across from there, two soldiers with large automatic weapons were guarding a museum that had some sort of Jewish exposition.
A beautiful city with a lot of culture, architecture much like Bruges and very busy.