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Adventures in Belgium April 2008

- Meghan

In April of 2008, my aunt and I traveled to Brussels, Belgium to visit my sister and brother-in-law (who now live in Washington DC!) I had never been to Europe and had always wanted to, so I was really psyched for this trip. After hearing about how rainy and gloomy Brussels was from my sister for the previous three years we arrived and the sun was shining and the air was warm. This lasted for the whole week we were there, so we had a hard time believing my sister!

Our home base for the week was Brussels but we traveled around a bit to Maastricht (on the border of Brussels and the Netherlands), Leuven (NOT Louvain-la-Neuve, which is a funny story for later) and Paris. Maastricht was our first stop to visit a relative. We took the train up and spent the day walking around. We had lunch on a square (which by the way, are everywhere in Europe!) and wandered around enjoying the culture. We were on the north side of Belgium so everyone in Maastricht spoke Dutch as opposed to the French we heard in Brussels.

After catching up in Maastricht we went back to Brussels to do some sightseeing. As per my sister’s suggestion, my aunt and I went to Grande Place, a famous square in Brussels. There are many restaurants and shops around Grande Place. We visited Manneken Pis, a famous sculpture of a little boy peeing. Every so often, an organization called The Friends of Manneken Pis dresses Manneken Pis up. For example, on St. Patrick’s Day he will be dressed as a leprechaun and on Christmas he will be dressed as Santa Claus. Apparently he has been stolen several times but has always been returned to his home in Grande Place. We also visited the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate where we learned about the history of the cocoa bean and watched people make Belgian chocolate. Check out their website for more information if you are interested in visiting: http://www.mucc.be/EN/index_en.htm.

Our next stop was to try an authentic Belgian Waffle. Belgian Waffles sold in the U.S. are nothing like the real ones. Real Belgian Waffles have a sugar coating and are covered in various fruits, whipped cream and nutella. They are definitely more of a dessert item than a breakfast item.

We did a lot more on our trip but this is it for now. Coming up next: the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Atomium, Leuven and Paris. Until next time!

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