I just spent two awesome days in Brussels, Belgium. Brussels is a truly unique city. Very different from Paris. If I could use one descriptive word it would be "colorful". While Paris' buildings were monochromatic (all a shade of off-white), Brussels' building were bright and multi-colored. It's a very ethnically diverse city. After getting up at 5:30 to make a 7 a.m. train, we took the high-speed Thalys to a gigantic multi-station town (?) called Lille. After a short layover, we arrived in Brussels. Upon exiting the train, my first thought was that it was a bit more urban and dirty than Paris. However, upon exploring the area a bit more, I didn't see many poor, sketchy people, so I came to the conclusion that the city is just old. The city emblem is a little mannequin boy peeing called "Mannekin Pis," so I have to assume that this place is just a bit quirky.
We walked to a local lambic brewery called Cantillon. It was the best beer I'd ever had, and the owners were very nice. Afterwards, we found ourselves in Little Lebanon. We stopped at a restaurant called Beyruth and had a pizza topped with corn (yes, corn!), artichokes, mushrooms, and olives. It was yummy and cheap. Then, we walked to the hotel. The hotel was actually a studio apartment on the third floor of a building. It reeked of old cigarettes, but had a cool view and everything we needed. We chilled out for a bit, and then went walking. There are SO many old cathedrals and palaces, all of which are adorned by sculptures ranging from religious figures to lizards. We ended up in a town square and ate hot dogs and Belgian frites (with mayonnaise - true to the local tastes).
The next day we did a lot more walking and ended up at the MiM (Museum of Instrumental Music). This has been my favorite museum so far of the trip. There were three floors packed with musical instruments of all eras and nations. I was the most excited to see their huge collection of various types of oboes! They had several shawms, a Hotteterre oboe, a Boehm oboe (which looked exactly like a double-reeded clarinet), and a double-reeded saxophone!