Thursday, 10 May 2007

Brussels

First stop was the Atomium (although you need a pass to get here its miles from the center), which was built in 1958 for the world festival. Its meant to represent an iron atom several thousand times larger, was kinda boring inside. But had the shock/surprise/delight when I got up to the highest sphere. As I was reading a sign stepped back and the disab led person the people were helping was actually Stephen Hawking!!!!!! I couldn’t’ believe I was 20cm away (I stepped away to allow them more room to move). I was so shocked I didn’t ask for a picture and they did seem in a hurry.

So finally after calming down, I went to mini-Europe which was heavily overpriced (but I am only here once, eh!!) so I went. It was really cute and well done. Although they were still missing some countries out (like Hungary). They had miniature models of the major monuments from each country that is part of the EU. After that, went to the European center of Brussels, which was on the complete opposite side of the town. Saw the new monument that they erected which was nice, as well as the European Parliament. Headed home and had a night in cause weather crapped out just as I was having dinner. Right foot has gone down a little.
 
The last day of this little holiday was pretty good. Had a great sleep in a room with an ensuite shower, and 3 American girl roommates. Got up fairly early and went out. Got metro to the farthest place which was the Palace of justice. Sadly it was under construction so I couldn’t really see much of it. Around it were also the World War monuments. Walked to the Egmont park which was nice, and saw Egmont Palace which was hiding behind the park and not a well known site. Wasn’t that impressive. Then went to the Royal Palace which was cool, and quite large. Typical European style of grand building, with it being rebuilt several times. Sadly all the museums are closed on Monday (which I didn’t know) so I couldn’t go to the museum showing the old ruins of the castle. Then walked thru the Royal Gardens to the Belgium Parlimentary building. 

From here it was to St Micheals Cathedral which was very nice and grand. The pulpit was incredible. Cannot believe such a piece was carved from wood in such detail. It shows the story from the first sin to redemption, with symbolism (such as sin being the skeleton above Eve and also representing the punishment of death). Heard the clock bells chim, they had a nice tune to them. Then walked around the center of town. The main two things to see wast eh Grand place which was really nice. Pity I didn’t come later as during the summer the square is turned into a blanket of flowers. And then Mankken Pis, which is a little statue of a boy peeing. Somehow important. Got myself some cheapish chocolate, and the usual souvenirs. But the unique one was Belgium lace which is suppose to be an old tradition.

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