Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Busy in Brussels/Day Trip to Gent

Yesterday was more active than Monday. Brendan and I headed to the museum of fine arts in Brussels with a specific mission in mind: to see the paintings of Breughel. I got the young person rate, so only payed 2 euros (lowest admission rate we've seen all trip). Looking young pays off here (literally). The paintings were indeed amazing. I was glad I saw them and glad that Brendan could tell me many things about them. We had fun looking and also checked out some Rubens and contemporary sculpture. I was a big fan of the museum because it was a manageable size, had air conditioning, and had no crowds, thus, I was very comfortable and could really enjoy the art. Up next: walking around the town and lots of window shopping. 
Some of the windows were more welcoming than others, haha. 
We bought nothing except 1 truffle and 1 macaron each, yum. We had good pizza for dinner and ended the day in a crowded bar to watch the Belguim/USA game. 

People were ectastic about the game and the win. There was crazy honking on our block for hours afterwards. Brendan told a friend we met that he likes baseball best. The man replied "that is very boring; only Americans can watch that!" Soccer was fun to watch, but it won't be in the running of my favorite sports to watch. What are those you may wonder? I'll just leave you wondering...

Our friend from the bar, Nicholas, told us Gent is his favorite Belguim city, so we headed there today with Tony. We started with a picnic outside the cathedral and then went to this castle.
 Our friend Ryan would have loved it. Also our friend Krista would be interested. Inside was a museum of torture in which all range of horrendous and awful devices for torture and weapons are displayed. The castle itself is only so so (wow, am I at the point where I am saying some castles don't impress me?) but this museum was worth seeing (especially since I got the discounted rate ;)

After the castle, Tony went exploring and left Gent a bit earlier to meet a friend. We window shopped, had a beer, ate this Tajine for dinner, and had more beer (see a theme?) 
Again, we bought nothing but sweets 
Chocolates and this local speciality... Noses 
They taste sort of like jelly beans! 
The bar we went to was right on the canal and served 150 kinds of Belguim beer. 
I only wish we'd had time for a boat tour! 
On the train home, we found a bilingual French/Dutch magazine. 
Brendan said, "I wish I had a lot of freckles and could read this." Our friend from the bar spoke 4 languages, and it seems most Europeans know at least 2. 
A few more things about Belguim: 
Very energy efficient: escalators don't go until someone steps on them, and lights are all on motion sensors. At our hotel, a key must be in a certain portal in order for any electricity to work. 
Water at dinner is never free here and is usually more expensive than beer.  
Tipping is not a thing here. 
But soccer is
And our friend from the bar told us that no one from Belguim knows the lyrics to their own national anthem. But boy do they know how to honk! Anyway, tomorrow is Antwerp! 
<3 S&B 

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