It had been a long time since I was in Brussels. 2 and a half years or thereabouts. But I wanted to see the Christmas market, and flickums
I've always loved Eurostar. It's a lot less hectic getting to St. Pancras - although I was getting very panicky when flickums' train was getting more and more delayed. Still, it arrived and after a brisk walk to the Eurostar departure area, we checked in with a whole minute to spare. Sadly there wasn't enough time for flickums to admire the Disney tree. But once we were inside, we could wave our passports at the passport people, put our bags through the security scanners, and relax. And this time neither of us were suspected terrorists.
Trainn took us to Brussels at the incredible speed that Eurostar manages, zipping through the tunnel, then through France and then through Belgium, and then we arrived, and I confidently led us to the metro. Except while I'm absolutely certain I went in the right direction, clearly someone had rotated the entire station 180 degrees since I was last here and the metro was in the other direction. Also got a bit confused with buying tickets because they've changed from the paper tickets. And we had to queue up at the ticket barriers because the machines don't take notes. In hindsight, getting a 10 trip ticket was a false ecnomy because we only used 4 trips. Oh well.
Arrived. Met with Barbera - the lovelyiest of Italian ladies. I knewher when I was living here and it was nice to catch up. She took us to a nearby restaurant - just round the corner from the hotel. I had rabbit in a very nice kriek sauce, and Belgian beer.
Woke up next day, had the lucicrously expensive hotel breakfast, strolled through the market - which was just opening, and flickums was highly amused by a stall that said "Choco Nads". It was just opening though and I had an urge to visit the essential sights of Brussels.
Then we went to the Atomium. Belgium's famous alien spacecraft. Flickums bought me a beer at the restaurant, and we saw all of Brussels and the surrounding area and all the other displays in the Atomium.
After that the market was open so we looked around there and I had a gluhwein, and we saw lots of exciting things. Then we went to see the other essential sights - the Grand Place and the Mannekin Pis. I think something might have been going on in the grand place just before we were there because we seemed to be fighting against the mass of people. I always feel the Mannekin Pis is a it disappointing, but it was at least wearing an outfit.
Flickums was excited by the Cheesecake Cafe, and had an omelette and a cheescake. That girl loves her cheesecake!
Sunday we largely ambled around town. Had a look at the comic museum but didn't go in because it looked a bit dry and we were both a bit tired. Had a look at the giftshop though. Flickums decided to goive names to the various parts of Brussels. There was the chocolate district, the beer and chocolate district, the gloves and chocolate district, and the pushy restaurants and chocolate district.
I went ice skating, and found that it was harder than it looks. I would have been a lot happier about it if other people there were as inept as me but I was the only person who wasn't, so I decided it wasn't really for me. I did get a maple lolly as a reward from flickums though. Went on the big wheel after that, and flickums decided it wasn't for her. She did get a chocolate lollypop as a reward though. Flickums bought herself some Chocolate Nads, and bought me a beer (Delerium Tremens!) and a glass with pink elephants on!!! And various other gifts.
That evening was the Christmas parade. Lots of floats. Some of them really well done, including a humungous train, and santa and reindeers, and some giant teddy bears, one of which seemed to be having trouble with his gloves. They played a repretitive french Christmas song that
Ate at one of the many nearly identical restaurants in the St. Nicholas area (The pushy restaurants and chocolate district). Decided we'd go for the one with the best sales pitch, But the first guy did such a good job that we decided to get there instead. We had waffles! I was worried we might end up missing out on them.
My bag weighed several times more on the way home than the way out, because it was laden down with beer. And a few glasses. Glad Eurostar doesn't have a weight limit. Glasses survived the trip home!
So that was a busy weekend!