Today we went on a hop on hop off tour of Brussels. It rained... again. However, it had stopped just before we got on our bus and we were able to head off and see the sites. We passed Grand Place and saw the Chinese district and saw a nu,ber of parks and statues. But this was not the reason for our tour. No my friends, we had a specific goal in mind when we bought those tickets. We were going to the Atomium stop. Not to see the Atomium (a structure built to commemorate the World Fair when it had come to Brussels), but because this was also the home of... wait for it....
Yes my friends, that is correct. We went to Mini Europe. And what might that be you ask? Well let me tell you.
It is a small world built in a small amusement park outside the city that consists of over 350 structures that all represent major landmarks known throughout the European Union (EU). It is all on the same scale of 1:25 and consists of everything from Big Ben to the Eiffel Tower to the ruins of Athens. It even had Sacre Coeur and since Jocelyn is demanding I be honest I will tell the truth... when I saw that (FROM A DISTANCE AND AS A QUICK GLANCE!!!) I just instantly made the association and started calling it the Taj Mahal... yes, I am aware they are not part of the EU... and it didn't have golden domes... but I kept calling it that. I might have even argued w/Jocelyn for a second or two as to the validity of that statement. In the end, I was obviously wrong so we'll let it go now.
ANYWAYS! So in our own way, we travelled all of Europe in one day! I know you're jealous. Oh! And did I mention they had the Berlin Wall??? And that you got to see it get knocked down? Sadly, they couldn't make a tiny Hasselhoff but you'll definetly have to see the pictures.
So as we completed our trek through Mini Europe, our travels came to an end.... because it began to rain... again. So off we ran and hopped back onto our bus. By the time we arrived back at Grand Place for the last time, we were there with just enough time to take one more delictible sampling of Belgium Waffles before running back to the hotel to grab our bags and head to the train station for our ride to Brugges, Belgium.
The ride itself was alright. It was only an hour long so mainly we just sat and read our books. Then we got off and realized the information booth was closed and not very many people were speaking English. With some masterful moves on our part, however, we were able to get the most direct route to our hostel and got our train booked to go to Paris in two days.
So off we walked... in the rain (or as Jocelyn chose to call it "Our European Spa Mist") out to our hostel. We arrived and found we had two other roommates and then took off to the center of town for dinner. We had read in our hostel guide that there was a small joint off of Grote Market that sold 3 euro bowls of spaghetti named Madard. Upon arrival I promptly ordered myself a drink and Jocelyn caved and had Kriek Max. This is one of Belgium's beer. Now anyone that knows Jocelyn will probably be highly shocked at this so let me set the record straight before we get any further. It is cherry flavored beer... and it's pink. Now that you all may breathe again, let me get to the spaghetti. It was AMAZING. Go to Brugges. Go to Madard and just eat as much as you can. And don't make the mistake of thinking you can eat the large. Unless you've got the appetite of a horse and can eat for days, don't try and tackle this feat. Belgium will beat you. Both Jocelyn and I were defeated.
After dinner we wandered into another square just off the market and found a small concert in play. The girl singing was awesome and we were highly disappointed to find that they didn't have a merchandise table set up anywhere in site. We did, however, get a couple of pictures and I am hoping I will be able to figure out who she was in hopes of getting a cd at a later time.
Then it was time to head home. Let's not dwell on the details but needless to say, I was directionally challenged all of a sudden and I got us lost.... for two hours. Jocelyn tried to help at one point, but sadly, I had screwed it up so bad, there was no helping. And when you're in Brugges you HAVE to pay attention because you can accidentally take one street over from the one you need and end up on the other side of town. What started as a two hour excursion ended up getting us home after midnight. I'm still trying to look at a bright side to that situation and it still hasn't come. But I will continue to try.