Sunday, May 11, 2014

Brussels by train and lobster too

Let me introduce Blanka's sister, Roza, and her son, Sven, and his family.
Left to right: Katty, Hanne, Sven, Niels, Roza, Blanka.
If you are wondering, they are under a mushroom and on top of
the mushroom is a Smurf. More Smurf later in the blog.
I am sure you can't wait.
They joined us at Roza's home in Diegem, on the outskirts of Brussels, and together we took the train into downtown Brussels.

Destination: Brussel-Centraal
Between the clouds and late hour (about 6:00 pm) picture taking was a bit of a
challenge. The Town Hall tower, however, is still dramatic in its dominance over
its surroundings.

Typical street in Brussels. Unlike Brugge and Ghent that are very Flemish
in building style, Brussels is a mix of Flemish and French. This street
reflects the French influence.

Shopping center - Brussels style. Covered promenade goes
for several blocks with all sorts of specialty shops. 
Like this Chocolatier shop. There seems to be chocolate
shops all over the place. In Brugge there were 47, I have
no idea how many are in Brussels.
Chocolate heaven!!!
Before heading off to find a place to eat, we had to say hello to our Smurf friend. As you might surmise, Smurfs are Belgian. Don't know about Smurfs? That is real sad, look it up on Google!

As it began to get dark we found our way to this narrow street that has
one restaurant after another.
As you can see, the awnings hang out to the middle of the street,
and no shortage of places to eat.
At last, food. And not just any food, but really good
Belgian food. Blanka had a traditional Flemish dish
called Gentse Waterzooi, a type of chicken stew.
I elected to try a sea food platter of lobster, shrimp, cray fish and other
interesting things with legs, pinchers and eye balls still attached.
Satisfied diners as caught by the budding 9-year old photographer Hanne.

Sven wanted to make sure we got to see the famous "Manneke Pis". Yes, it translates in English to: "Little Boy Peeing". This little boy has been a Brussels attraction since 1618. He was initially a fountain providing drinking water to the citizens of Brussels. By the 18th century he evolved into the image and symbol of Brussels' independence and ability to make fun of itself.

Hanne selfie with her grandmother, Roza.
Niels wants to make sure his funny face antics were
properly captured on the camera.
And back to the train station with just enough time
to tank up at Starbucks before catching
the last train of the day back to Diegem.