Wednesday, October 31, 2012

brussels, belgium

5-7 october 

Belgium. great friends. good food. what more could i ask for? 
my dear friend M would be celebrating her birthday soon and we thought why not celebrate in a grand manner? she has always wanted to see Belgium and it was close enough that we all figured why not? friday morning we all jumped on a train to Brussels with a few people planning on joining us later because they still had class. we had gotten an apartment for the weekend which was good because there ended up being 11 of total staying there! it was a very nicely decorated place near the city centre and plenty of room for all of us. 
relaxing in the living room. 
one of the first orders of business was of course food. M had a friend from home studying abroad that was able to make the weekend as well so we waited for her and then set out to find a good grocery store. because there were already so many of us we split into groups each in charge of brainstorming a different dish. wow i picked a group of great cooks! we had some yummy stuffed peppers and tortillas and just general goodness. as we were only in town for the weekend we wanted to make the most of it and whenever we asked people what we should be sure to do in Brussels we heard go to Delirium. this turned out to be a bar with hundreds of different beers. so we enjoyed dinner and then set out! 

walking the streets with my girls

when we arrived there were plenty of choices! we all tried a different kind - i picked a cherry beer which was delicious. it was a lovely evening talking and enjoying a new place with great people. 

they had a whole thick catalog to list all the different drinks available! 

packed building! it was three floors and each was this full. 

trays all stuck to the ceiling.

after a good time there we thought we might walk to another place we had heard about. our group and another large group from our school were there and we all took off in a large crowd. we didn't end up finding any place but enjoyed walking the pretty streets. 

our whole group with a couple of extras! 

we made it home safely and all crashed into bed somewhere throughout the apartment. i lucked out and scored the master bed with two of my good friends. 
the next morning we wanted to explore more of the city starting with the gardens near our apartment. it was raining but we weren't about to let that deter our fun! there was an art exhibit in this building as well that we wandered through before going out into the gardens. 

many of the flowers were already dead but the trees and shrubs were still lovely to walk through. as we walked through i could just imagine enjoying a spring day with a good book in a maze of hedges. 

there were also neat statues scattered throughout the grounds near the observatory. 

after the gardens we took off into the city and went back to the large memorial that we had passed the day before. it was dedicated to the council as well as the soliders of the two world wars. 

we also went to the amazing cathedral on our way to our apartment. it was so large and the outside incredibly intricate! 

the inside had soaring ceilings and amazing artwork of past saints, stunning stained glass, a large organ, and depictions of scenes from the Bible. 

after the beautiful cathedral we continued to make our way to a large market area where we found lovely stalls of jewelry and painting, with a statue in the center, and ringed by shops of patat, waffels, or chocolate. 

of course we had to stop and pick up some yummy belgian chocolates! we picked a few that looked tasty and each one was delicious! 

we gathered back at home to make dinner and play some card games. we had a great evening! so many laughs and general good times. there was also an event going on throughout the city that started late and kept going til 2 am. we hit up a few of the exhibits that were going on - including one where you could dance as a hologram! so i have now completed my 20 seconds of fame. 
we also began the celebration of dear M's bday! 

oh here are more photos of the city during the day. 

the next morning was clean up and a bit more walking around the city before it was time to head home. 

we found a whole park filled with funny statues dedicated to food and assorted belgian recognized things. 

it was a lovely weekend with great people! a very happy birthday to my friend, i hope it was the most memorable and fun you will every have! 
brussels was lovely and i would love to travel back someday - even if it is just for the waffels!! 

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