European Vacation (Part Quatre)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

You can catch up by reading Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Day 7

Park & Basilica

This day was all about reminiscing. First we took the Metro to Simonis, which was the stop I had lived at.  We met up with MDB and walked over to the house she grew up in and I had lived for a semester (her parents just recently sold it and moved to France).  Next up was a walk through the park to Basilica Koekelberg- Sacre Couer, one of the 10 largest churches in the world! I once had a view of this from my bedroom window.
Basilica up close

Once inside the basilica we were able to go up to the top which gives an amazing view of the city. Unfortunately the weather was not really cooperating while we were there, but we still got some cool views and a ride in the elevator with a glass top.

View from the top.  
In this picture see if you can see some silvery balls floating in the distance along the horizon (that would be our next stop).

After the basilica we had lunch at my favorite "Snack" shop (Snack Simonis) in all of Brussels. The frites and sandwiches were still as amazing as I had remembered and didn't measure up to any of the other places we tried on this trip.  


Our next stop of the day was Atomium.  Just like the Eiffel Tower, Space Needle and the Unisphere in NY, this structure remains from the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels.  The Atomium is an iron crystal enlarged 165 billion times.  Each of the spheres holds a different exhibit (the top one is the panorama view), some are permanent exhibits and others are temporary.  The "bonds" hold stairs, escalators or elevators including the one shown in the picture below which was fun to ride down. 

Cool escalator
After hanging out at Atomium, we headed back to downtown to visit the Musee Magritte Museum.  Rene Magritte has always been one of my favorite artists and I had been to the Magritte House which was his House in Brussels, but this new Museum has a much more extensive collection of his works. Overall I prefer the house tour to the full musuem, but enjoyed the museum (which is attached to the Beaux-Arts Museum). 

Since we only had one day left, we spent the rest of the evening doing some souvenir and chocolate shopping before having some more beer and great food.

Day 8

 For our last day :( we went over to the VUB (Free University of Brussels) where I went to school for the semester and I showed AG around campus, well what I remember about it.  After we went to Colruyt, a supermarket which is kind of like a cross between a Costco and Trader Joes, and stocked up on as much Belgian goodies that our suitcases could hold.  Later that day we got our first and only glimpse of blue sky before going to the chocolate museum.  The chocolate museum was interesting, but the best part was the copious amounts of chocolate samples.  

Brussels Ruins
For our final night, it was Museum Night Fever in Brussels where all the museums were open from 7pm to 1am and had all sorts of fun things going on with DJs and drinks.  We started out at the Jewish Museum, the Belgian Jewish community is very small and we learned a little about it, but since all the exhibits were only in French and Dutch it was a little hard to understand.  I got about 75% of it from my HS french knowledge, but AG was totally lost.  Next up we went to the Royal Library which is similar to the New York Public Library.  They had a fun activity where you could make pop up books or pins from old books.  Our last stop before the museums closed was the Belvue museum of Belgium.  The coolest part of this museum was that is is built on top of an archaeological site which you can explore.  The weirdest part of this museum was that for the event they had Aliens on exhibit??
Are they Belgians or Aliens?
That night/morning we had to say goodbye to MDB and pack up for our flight back to NY. I could go on all day about the trip so let me know if you want to learn more.

It was Shariously an amazing trip - time to start planning the next vacation!


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