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December 7, 2016

Day Trip to Brussels

It’s been a month since we were in Paris (how has it been a month already??) and I have so many photos to share, but instead of doing one huge post, breaking it up into smaller “chapters” will be so much more fun!  Plus, it will help me feel like we extended our trip somehow :-)

I mentioned that we were taking a day trip to Brussels where I lived for a semester after graduating from college.  It had been 12 years since I’d been there so I was excited to go back, see what had changed, have some waffles from street vendors, stock up on Belgian chocolate and of course show Ben around the city.

It was an early morning to catch the train, but so worth it.

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It was so surreal to arrive here after taking countless trips in and out of this train station over a decade ago.

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And oh how I wish we had fast trains in the states!

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We headed straight for the Grand Place.

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And had a stranger take our photo with my phone :-)

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I didn’t know this before living there, but hand-made lace is a big deal in Belgium and while Maison Antoine is in the middle of the Grand Place and usually swarming with tourists, my roommate Arica and I used to go there fairly often.  So, Ben and I went back later that night and bought something for a Christmas ornament as well as two lace handkerchiefs for our daughters for their weddings.  Ben asked me if I’d be able to keep up with them for 30 years and I assured him I would :-)

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It may have been 9:30am, but we got our first waffle!  And it was the best tasting waffle (yum!).
And just so you know, these Belgian waffles are more like dessert than the breakfast waffles we have in the states.  These are made with a pearl sugar and they’re divine.  I had one more from a street vendor later in the evening and it was even more delicious than this one was!

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We wandered for a bit and soaked in the morning light (because the sun shining in Brussels almost never happens!).

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He’s always making me laugh… especially when we’re sitting in front of a store that sells waffles and “los churros”!

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We passed an olive oil store and immediately turned back to walk inside.  Ben in his happy place!

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The place I was most excited to see though was the old neighborhood… and it surprisingly looked just the same!
The dark brown door was the house Arica and I lived in.  We taught English classes on the 1st and 2nd floors, the window above the garage was a small guest room and behind that was the kitchen.  Our room was on the third floor, but in the back of the house.

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And this is the little park just outside the door.  It was always filled with children on the evenings and weekends!

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I needed a photo with my phone of me at the front door to send to Arica and the friends we worked with.  I never thought I’d be back in this spot with my husband, much less with our daughter in my tummy!

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So, this wall is really special to me because of the photo I have of the neighborhood women who would sit here watching their children play.  They’re all lined up facing the park and you can only see the backs of their heads, but I love it.  And it’s still on my dresser where I see it every day.

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I could NOT believe this snack place was still there!!  We called it the Turkish Wrap Place because they served Turkish wraps with kefta and whatever else you wanted in it… including fries IN the wraps.  So delicious.  And I was so happy that they were still there and open and that Ben was able to experience them too!

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So, you know how Paris has the Eiffel Tower left over from the 1889 World Fair?  Well, Brussels has the Atomium left from the 1958 World Fair.  No where nearly as wonderful, but I couldn’t take Ben to Brussels and not take him to see this!

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We had some strangers take our photo with my DSLR but I like this selfie so much more :-)

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The other bonus of going to the Atomium was that on our way back to the metro, we found out there was a Harry Potter exhibition going on!  So we decided to go and check it out just because!

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(All of these from the exhibition are iPhone photos)
It started with a miniature sorting of some of the kids that were there (they were all sorted into Gryffindor).

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There was SO much movie paraphernalia and it was so fun to see!
But everything was in French and Flemmish so Ben couldn’t read any of it ;-)

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We got to visit Hagrid’s hut!

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And then we got to see Dobby before attending the Yule Ball!

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Our last stop was the comic book museum.  I bet you didn’t know that the Smurfs are actually Belgian!

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Look how cute those little pants are… there’s even a hole in the back for their tails!

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Before heading back to the train station, we wandered back to the Grand Place for some night photos and to grab some dinner.

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We also stocked up on chocolate… except that the stash we bought for ourselves almost didn’t make it home to the states because we almost ate it all before landing!  So worth it though.

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To see other travel photography posts, click HERE.

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