Bruxelles, i Dintorni – Belgio

Brussels, the Surroundings – Belgium

Pastries to fortify us for our journey

On our last day in Brussels, we picked up some (amazing) pastries, and then headed out in the car to see a couple of the more distant sites.

National Basilica of the Sacred Heart

First stop – the crazy looking National Basilica. We’ve seen lots of cathedrals in our travels … but nothing quite like this. You could see that it had the basic cathedral shape – but it was like it had lots of other stuff tacked onto it.

Looking along the side of the basilica

A view from the side and below

One of the many nativities

Inside the cathedral was an exhibit that said it was supposed to be largest nativity in the world. I’m pretty sure I convinced Ryan and our friend that we should go in … I kind of have a thing for Nativities.

Nativity and Stained Glass – upstairs

Upstairs there were easily a hundred different nativities set up – and I was captivated. They were everything from wood carvings to clay, painted, clothed or simple. I was entranced. I love seeing the nativities that are so intricate, or that put the holy family in modern day scenes.

A more modern nativity

A view of the large scale nativity – looking along the nave towards the transept

On the main floor was the ‘largest nativity in the world’ … which was completely underwhelming. It was fake mannequin figures … sometimes with their noses having fallen off. There were a few live animals in a pen in the corner though, which was a little amusing.

View from the roof – check out the Atomium in the distance

After wandering through all of the nativities, we went up to the roof for a (windy,cold) view.

A view along the park, straight into the city

Self-portrait on the roof

And then one last stop on our way out of town … and we were on our way to the next place …

Atomium

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Birra in Centro – Bruxelles, Belgio

Beer in the Town Center – Brussels, Belgium

Statue of a girl peeing … I don’t know why.

Later in the evening in Brussels we made our way to Delirium Cafe – know for their large selection of beers on tap, for their own brand of beer, and for the awesome pink elephant logo.

Posing outside Delirium Cafe (Can you see the pink elephants?)

A view of the bar at Delirium Cafe

Inside the Cafe, there was a large selection of beers – each of which comes in its own glass … of course. We didn’t really know what to order – so we just guessed.

First Round! (Check out the Pink Killer!)

So I picked out the one with the awesome pink bulldog on it – “Pink Killer” a grapefruit flavored beer.

Ryan playing with his silverware at dinner …

After beer, we headed for dinner at a place just down the street. Being low on recommendations, we had to trust lonely planet … though it never instills much confidence when you’re sitting down to eat *on* tourist row. Fortunately most of the food was good. :)

Waterzooi – classic creamy seafood stew

It’s Christmas! Love the lights and trees everywhere!

Riding a bike to generate electricity at a cafe

The next morning we stopped in for a quick coffee and pastries before taking one last swing through the adorable center of town.

In the Town Square

Another view in the town center

Another view of the town center

Another view of the town square. What? It was awesome!

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L’Avventura Continua a Bruxelles

The Adventure Continues in Brussels

A beer still at the entrance to Chimay

I wanted to go to Brussels for the food, and to check out Brugges (I’m a sucker for UNESCO world heritage sites). I think Ryan just wanted to go for the beer. The goodnews is that we had plenty of everything. Belgium is known for chocolate, and beer, and french fries, and moules frites (mussels with fries) … and we tried some of everything.

Church in Chimay

We spent the first night at a cheap hotel by the airport, and on the second day we hit the road to check out Chimay. ‘Cause … there’s beer there.

Inside a church in Chimay

Belgian Fries and a dipping sauce

We had to stop for some food on the way of course – so we stopped into a fry shop. They had buckets of fries, and a whole menu full of sauces to eat with the fries. That order above may have been a small.

Chrismas markets – street food

When we made it into the city of Brussels we went out to check out the city. We were there right in the middle of the Christmas markets – so there were lights and decorations, and food and craft stands everywhere. It was so much fun to wander through.

from the comic mural tour

We started out with a walking tour checking out the cartoon murals that are all over the city. Many of them are based on existing comic book characters. They were pretty fun, whimsical and different.

Mannekin Pis

So … the boy peeing fountain is famous. I think ’cause he’s peeing. I’d been warned that it was underwhelming … so, I wasn’t disappointed by the size. It’s pretty small. … the statue, I mean.  ;-)

Chocolate store in Brussels

We were overwhelmed by chocolate stores in Brussels. We stopped into lots of them just to get intoxicated by the smells. But … you can only eat just so much, and there was street food to eat!

Light Show in the Main Square

At the end of the evening we went to check out the light show in the main square – it was set to music, and it happened all around us, so it was actually quite moving… and a lot of fun. It’s the kind of thing that makes a big kid feel like a little kid. :)

Nativity on the main square

 

Belgian waffle, chocolate, and hot wine

 

Christmas Markets next to an awesome old building

Brace yourself … I have 3 posts worth of pictures of Brussels.. Coming up next … the beginning of the beer count.

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L’Ultima Vista – Murren a Grutschalp

The Last View – Murren to Grutschalp – Switzerland

Our last walk was the source of some of the most amazing views of the Eiger/Monch/Jungfrau mountain peaks.

Wanderweg means hike … or wander way … or something. Anyway, those are the signs we had to look for. Some of the path went along the train tracks, and some wandered through the fields. It was more like a gorgeous stroll than a hike.

Self-portrait! Gotta have one of those!

Ryan’s turn …

Kate’s turn …

 

 

Not a bad hike home, huh?

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Lauterbrunnen a Murren – Svizzera

Lauterbrunnen to Murren, Switzerland

View from the Cable Car

I know … I know … you’re bored of the ridiculously gorgeous views from every direction. Does it help if I tell you that the exchange rate is rough for the USD and it was crazy expensive? :)

 

First view of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau peaks

 

One of the most amazing parts of the trips by train and cable car is that the views kept changing constantly. It was gorgeous.

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Lauterbrunnen – Svizzera

Lauterbrunnen – Switzerland

 

Approaching Lauterbrunnen

Lauterbrunnen was a valley town – and it connected up a bunch of other places we wanted to visit – so we stopped in for a snack, and to check out the town a tiny bit before continuing on.

 

Lunch in the car!

Most things were closed, and we’d been spending an arm and a leg on food anyway, so we stopped into a grocery store to buy some things for lunch. We split a sandwich, bought some crazy cookies, and Ryan gorged on wasabi peas. :)

Lunch with a view … out the car window. :)

Maybe Baby?? In a vending machine … for all of your “I might be pregnant” emergencies!

Our next stop was a funicular … but not before we checked out some awesome vending machines.

Is that … Cannabis?

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Gimmelwald, da soli – Svizzera

Gimmelwald, alone – Switzerland

Making friends in a new town…

On our way into Gimmelwald, we met the locals. Just as we came into town a cat came up to join us, and walked with us down the road. Once the first cat left us … another one took over … and then another … and then another. It was a very warm welcome for an empty town!

 

Being watched over by another local feline.

 

 

 

More Cowbell!

 

Reading Rick Steves … with a View

 

The View …

 

I made a friend too!

 

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