Blogs from Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium, Europe


Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels October 8th 2022

This morning was a crisp, early start, and after a few free coffees from the hotel we slept in, Natalia drove us to Kinderdyjk, a cluster of 19 traditional windmills that has been preserved for tourist and cultural reasons. The complex offers a boat ride/ mill inspection guided tour for a small ransom, so we opted to walk along the tarred tracks that line the banks of the canal. Once again we have been blessed with unseasonal sunshine, as we dodged speeding cyclists, broke through large groups of old, and I mean old old, tourists travelling on the super long Viking Cruises Barge docked nearby. It was like stepping back in time, and some of the windmills dated back to the early 15th century. Modern windmills are electric powered and while they don’t have the smooth ... read more
Kinderdyjk Windmill.

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels September 8th 2022

We have spent much of the last two days wandering aimlessly around Belgium. Poor decision making, inaccurate GPS and confusing signage have made our trip here an "adventure". Nevertheless, it has been fun and we learned a lot about travel here. After leaving Bruges, our idea was to visit Ypres, the site of some of the worst fighting of WWI, and then head to Brussels. However, we entered the wrong destination for our trip and ended up at the Flanders Field American cemetery about 40 km in the wrong direction. It was a serendipitous choice. The museum was modern and told the story of American involvement in this little corner of the war. It was touching and personal. The video literally brought tears to our eyes. We then headed for Ypres which is a lovely town ... read more
Trenches at Passchendaele
More Trenches at Passchendaele

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels September 8th 2022

We headed 15 km south of Brussels on Wednesday to the Waterloo Battlefield. June and I had listened to Bernard Cornwall's excellent audiobook on the battle so had some background before we got there. As you can see, the battlefield is working farmland today but keep in mind that on June 18th 1815, there were about 185,000 soldiers in the frame (or nearby). Of those, over 50,000 were wounded or killed. This was truly a fight to the death with consequences that influenced the next century of European history. The chateau Hougoumont which never fell that day played an important role in events. In the middle of the main British position, the King of Belgium built a monument to his wounded son (whose irresponsible behavior almost cost Wellington his victory). The edifice is called the Lion's ... read more
Waterloo Battlefield
Lion's Mound

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels September 8th 2022

We started out today at Wasbar which is a restaurant/coffee house with washers and dryers (the machines have names like Xavier and Amelie). Had pleasant lunch while we waited. We even left for a while to get some Euros. There is an attendant who will move your wash into the dryer and then make you a latte. Last night we learned that there is a rail strike in the Netherlands and our train was cancelled. Had to scurry around for a solution. A one way car rental was $300 minimum so we settled on a a bus which leaves from the North Brussels train station at 1:00 pm. No idea how we are going to get to that station. I am working on that issue now. Obviously, we got a late start but wandered around the ... read more
Mannikan Pis
Hotel De Ville, Grand Place

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels July 23rd 2022

WED, 20 JUL 2022 TRAIN TO BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: My only experience with the rail system in Europe thus far has been with the high-speed trains (save that last-minute hop aboard before it departs fiasco) and not with the local trains. All of those trains have been staged at the platform awaiting its passengers well before the departure time – in a couple of cases, over thirty minutes early. Retrospectively, all of those trains also have been staged because that particular station was the origin of the train’s journey. Even though the high-speed trains made stops along the way for from two to five minutes, that scenario never even entered my mind for the train that pulled in at my platform over ten minutes before my scheduled departure. I got aboard, found a seat and heard the ... read more
Murals in the Burges, Belgium Train Station
Belgian National Day Llight Show Celebration on the Belfius Bank and Insurance Building – Brussels, Belgium
Belgian National Day Llight Show Celebration on the Belfius Bank and Insurance Building – Brussels, Belgium

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels July 12th 2022

From Deutsche Welle: As the euro dashes toward parity with the US dollar, currency traders say the slide is unlikely to stop there. While a weakened euro should worry European consumers, US travelers visiting Europe could benefit. The euro has taken a major beating against its US peer since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, falling to its lowest level in 20 years as surging gas prices and uncertainty around the Russian energy supply stoke recession fears in the eurozone. So, if you are a traveler like me, perhaps it is a great time to stock up on some Euros. I generally take about $1000 USD worth of Euros on each trip. Why is the euro falling? The general worsening of the eurozone's outlook amid soaring gas prices and fears of Russia cutting off gas supplies ... read more
My thick wallet

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels July 6th 2022

Belgians I’ve met have said Brussels is surprisingly sketchy and that’s certainly the impression I had venturing out from Midi Station. It didn’t seem fitting for the capital of the EU, though I suppose some would claim it is fitting. But once in the city center the scene shifts to a high concentration of waffle stands, chocolate shops and Delirium umbrellas. And architecture that rivals the other great capitals of Europe, in particular the incredible Grand Place: It’s been awhile since I’ve seen such ostentatious spoils of colonialism. I wonder what the second generation of recent immigrants will think of some of the statues around the city. In contrast, the EU diplomatic buildings are uninspiring. But it’s fun to walk around the area under the gaze of security and picture what big decisions the suits ... read more
Peggy’s Mussels
Manneken Pis

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels December 12th 2021

We had an early morning, 6:30 am. 1. We wanted to see the kids before they left for school and 2. Tobias had early morning meetings and Biggie had to work, and 3. We had a long train ride (3 trains) to Brussels. Tobias took us to the station and helped us with our bags, got us pointed in the right direction and we were off. As written in an earlier blog, we were headed to Brussels to visit our foreign exchange family. I must digress here. Pascaline came in the summer of 1979, Clayton was about to turn 2. Pascaline was probably 18 or so. We enjoyed Pascaline and invited she and any family members to visit and they invited us to Belgium. In 1981 we were heading for the middle east and were able ... read more
The covered shopping
Enjoying spiked coffee
Light show at the Christmas market

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels January 17th 2020

Brussels Half hour ride from Lille to Brussels. Four stops on Red metro line to Porte de Namur station, right beside Hotel Chambord. Took a walk down Rue de Numar. Coffee in TICH, a vegan cool kids large order at the counter joint. Opposite a similar Café called JAT. Then to the Musical Instruments Museum. ‘Old England’ Horta building. A riveted cast iron structure with airy feel. Darkened rooms full of the most extensive collection I’ve seen.... way better than Berlin, and broader and better presented than Finlandia Museum in Turku. Not all that much African stuff, lacked thumbpianos etc. But stunning environs. Brass section dominated by the Sax family’s experiments with trumpet and reed instruments. Saxhorns included a ‘trombone’ with seven bells and six valves. A ser I’d saxes with oboe like double reeds. Many ... read more
Glass Harmonica
Hurdy Gurdy
Roof top restaurant MIM

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels September 9th 2019

This morning I had some free time in Brussels so I followed Rick Steves’s walk around the Grand Place. The buildings are indeed “grand” but my full appreciation of the square was diminished by the work crews noisily removing tents and paraphernalia from a beer festival over the weekend. I had a little extra time, so I walked to the Belgian Comic Strip Center because it is one of the sights to see in Brussels. Belgium is responsible for Tintin and for the Smurfs and there are many other comics done here, too, apparently. Next I made my way to the Brussels airport and ate lunch while waiting for my flight to board. I had a piece of (square) pizza and my first glass of Belgian beer since I arrived in the country. Better late than ... read more

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