Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!

Turns out the streets around the hotel in Brussels on Christmas morning are quite deserted.  That didn't last long, but it was kind of cool walking around on empty streets that were full of people the day before.

Breakfast was fun!  Due to the deserted nature of the streets, the pickings were slim.  We found some place on a big street that gave The LPP orange juice with a tiny fly in it.  The guy offered to fish it out, but Elizabeth was way ahead of him, and he deferred to her.  Rad!

We had a goal of going to the Atomium that morning.  It's a bit out of town, so we figured an early start would be good.  Turns out, it opens at noon on Christmas, so we had about 90 minutes to kill.  The weather was freezing, but we made the best of it.  Our suburban adventures took us by the Belgian national football stadium and (via a random tram ride) into the neighborhood of Esseghem.  We passed some (warm) time in a café where LPP got amped up on coffee, and I had a coffee as well.  Once the Atomium was open, we stood in the long line to get tickets, and finally went in.  Thanks to her coffee, Elizabeth was a bit warm, but I appreciated the climate as compared to the outside.  It was a pretty cool attraction, and we spent a good couple of hours walking around it.

Lunch was another exercise in finding something open.  The selections were much better than the morning, but still not that great.  It didn't help that we were starving, so we stopped in a place called the Food Factory (no, really!).  It was a total tourist trap, but they had food and beer, so we were fine.

After a nap (Why are we so exhausted?) we decided to brave the Christmas market (by now, we had been down so many of main central roads, we knew exactly where to go).  This started with a purchase of some pervasively vended vin chaud (warm wine).  Then, we just wandered; looking in many of the wooden houses selling market-type stuff.  The end of the Christmas market line presented us with a huge ferris wheel.  Of course we're going on that!  It was fantastic!

After the market, we headed over to what is (presumably) the oldest bar in Brussels: A La Bacasse (I think it's a woodcock).  They specialize in Timmermans lambics.  The gueuze labelled Timmermans Limited Edition was the best gueuze ever, and that's an opinion certified by both Elizabeth and myself.

Christmas dinner was another wander-around-until you find a place exercise, but this time it worked out great!  We had crepes, and they were fantastic.  The Maison des Crepes was fantastic!  There were quite a few more people out by this time, and a lot more places were open.

So, last night in Brussels... what's left?  Oh yeah!!  Another statue taking a wee wee!!  We saved the best, smallest, and original for last.  We we nt to see the Mannekin Pis, and it was quite a relief to see it.  Better still, there is a bar across the street called Le Poechenellekelder.  Sure, it's touristy.  It's across the street from the statue that people love to go to Brussels to see (guilty!), but it was really nice inside, and they had a pretty darn good beer selection, so I'm not complaining.  The prices were definitely not tourist trap level, so we stayed for a couple.

Then, to bed.  Tomorrow... Train to Bruges!

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