I'm glad that Dani and I are adventurers or this stop on the trip may have been a bust. It seems that 90% of of our fellow hostel stayers have said there is nothing to do here or they spend part of the day out and then come back here to sleep or do laundry or get on a computer. Given, Dani and I did not rush out of the hostel yesterday morning (did our blogging duties and drank some good coffee and so forth first), but we left for seven straight hours and stayed entertained the entire time.
The museums are closed on Mondays so that was off the list, but we started by heading back to the market/tourist area around Grand Place (the huge quad I mentioned yesterday.) We had to find Brussels' famous "Mannekin Pis" which is a 2 1/2 to 3 foot statue/fountain of a naked little boy peeing. I was actually expecting it to be larger, but no...it hangs from a wall and he pees into a fountain. Apparantly there is some story to go with it about this boy getting lost and when his father finally found him he was peeing. (Why a statue for this? Who knows...I don't understand anything here.) But I'm pretty sure the whole thing has only been an inspiration to the people of Brussels. We were out last night and at two different times we passed guys peeing in the corners of buildings on the streets. Yuck!
We wandered from the statue back to the area where we had enjoyed our sandwhiches the night before and purchased another (being so cheap and all) and this time capped off our meal with a chocolate covered waffle. I'm not sure what the logic in that was having already discovered how incredibly sweet the waffles are and at this point we had already been handed several free samples of warm chocolate truffles in the streets--which are lined with one chocolate shop after another. I seriously think you could make yourself sick from wandering the streets and trying a free sample from every person that offered you something. So, as said, I suppose we really weren't thinking when we ordered a waffle with chocolate; we were just lucky to have been splitting it because eating the entire thing by oneself is sure to get anybody sick! The chocolate was poured on so thick to the point we had to scrape half of it off to the side--and believe me, I am a lover of chocolate! Even then we could barely eat the thing due to its richness. Incredible.
We left the market area and continued our journeying through the city. The whole place seems to be on giant hill because we managed to climb up very high without even realizing we had done so (I guess we have been at Bellarmine for too long.) We found ourselves at the Grand Palace (unfortunately it had construction work being done on it and it was not so pretty), but what was worthwhile was the long open ledge beside the palace. It was lined with a stone wall/fence and from here you could see nearly the entire city. This is when we realized how far we had walked that day and how far up we had traveled. The only thing keeping us from seeing all of Brussels, I'm sure, was the fog that seems to just rest in the city.
Having been on foot all day so far we sort of took a break just to take in the view, which was a fortunate decision as a fellow traveler came by asking me something about his camera. At first I thought he wanted me to move so he could get a better picture, then I thought he wanted me to take a picture for him. Then I finally realized he wanted to take a picture of me sitting on the ledge with the view of the city behind me. Of course I said sure and realizing afterwards that he actually spoke very clear English, Dani and I ended up talking to the man for about fifteen minutes. He was from India but had accompanied a friend to a conference in Germany and while his friend was at the conference he was spending time traveling. His name was Chris (said Krish) and he told us his thoughts on the Italian cities we would soon be visiting. It is so fascinating to me to get these opportunities to meet completely new people from that come from completely different worlds. In the entire time span of your life, you may only spend a very small portion with this individual but you still get a small peak at a world and life you could never have known.
That night we also spent time with two travelers from our hostel. Joe was from New York and traveling around and Marco was from Argentina and only spoke so much English, but enough to have a good time with us. It was a Monday night, of course, so the town was pretty dead, but it was nice that we had found fellow English speaking friends to spend time with and get to know, because if Dani and I had gone out alone it most definitely would have been difficult to meet anyone knew--not knowing who would be speaking which language!
Two days in Brussels was just about perfect, and now we look forward to over a week in Italy--as long as we make it! It will be a long journey!
---Thanks to all of you who have been reading my blog!! I enjoy your comments and so forth! It gives me more inspiration to write knowing there are people enjoying it!---