Grand Place

March 07, 2013-GrandPlace-2389

March 07, 2013-GrandPlace-2389
The Grote Markt, grand market in Dutch (or Grand Place in English/French) is the considered to be the center of Brussels.  The large building on the left side of the photo is the city’s town hall, which was built during the 15th century.  As with most places like this in Europe, it was once a market.  To the right of the photo is the King’s House/Breadhouse.  The remainder of the square are guildhouses, which have ornate sculptures and frescos that are covered gold throughout the square.

March 09, 2013-GrandPlaceGuildhall-2588Some of the Gold Frescos of the Guildhalls

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Another early morning wake up to head over to Ciampino Airport. This weekend Grant, Andrew, and I were off to Brussels, Belgium.

After a relatively short flight (2 hours), we landed at Brussels-Charleroi airport. Since the airport is roughly 50km from the city center, we had to pay for a shuttle bus. 22 euros later, we were at Gare du MIDI, a really large train station near the city center.

I was surprised to find out that they speak French and Dutch in Brussels. Having taken a few years of French in high school, I was able to understand a good majority of the French. At the same time, nearly everyone spoke English.

We stayed at a bed and breakfast named Albert Hostel B&B, located a few miles outside of the city. The hostel (more like a hotel) is located in a relatively wealthy looking area, which was a nice change. We lucked out on the room. We got a three person private room, which turned out to be an entire floor. The beds and bathroom were very nice, another relief compared to the dorm style hostels we have been staying in. The owner of the Hostel runs the whole thing as well, a very nice man!

March 07, 2013-AlbertInn1-2410Albert Inn B&B

March 07, 2013-AlbertInn2-2414Albert’s Inn B&B

The B&B is located 50m from a tram stop, so it was a brief 8 stops to reach the center of the city. Brussels’ transportation system is great – very clean and on time. Definitely an improvement over Rome’s!

We walked around looking for a bite to eat and ended up at a restaurant in the touristy area (unfortunately). Oddly enough, it ended up being an Irish restaurant. After a good amount of walking around and eating delicious Belgian waffles, we stopped at a place called Delirium Cafe. They have a bunch of beers on tap, along with over 2,000 bottles. We tried a pint of one of the house specialties and made our way back to the hostel to freshen up before dinner.

March 08, 2013-WAFFLES-2577WAFFLES

March 08, 2013-GrantWaffle-2579Grant sizing his up – with Gelato

We asked the owner of the B&B for some suggestions for a more traditional Belgian meal and ended up at a small restaurant about a mile from the B&B. I had something called Ballekes, which is a pork meatball – the traditional Belgian meal we were looking for.

Then it was back to the Delirium cafe – this time to get 2 liters of beer – which was literally a fishbowl full of beer. Plenty of people were coming up and taking pictures/laughing at us. A story to tell for sure.

We walked downstairs of the cafe (after finishing our fishbowls) to hear some of the live music they were playing. After a few minutes, I heard my name being called. A friend from high school randomly ran into us! Small, small world. Hey Karly!

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