Now, the reason I say "town," when indeed this is no small place, is the simple, quiet atmosphere I feel here. Given it was a Sunday, but the place was so quiet!! I think the streets of down town liberty are louder on any given day! It's a huge place but the streets were not busy at all and everywhere you went you only heard low voices--if that--and the hum of cars. I absolutely love that about it! If the streets were packed with people all rushign about and jabbering on in languages I did not understand, I think I would continue to feel overwhelmed, out of place and lost. Instead, I can take my time strolling the streets, unsure of which way I'm going or how I'll get back, and I dont' feel intimidated.
If you make it to the right area the streets turn all to brick and stone and the buildings come closer together. One stretch was restuarant after restuarant with outside seating, colorful canopies draping over top, their menus on huge boards out front with men trying to lure you in with deals like, "First drink is free--you can try anything you want!" Sorry, but I don't think one free drink will make up for the price of getting the meal to go along with it!
Next, I finally found a church I could explore the interior! The Cathedrale Sts. Miguel de Gutege seemed to be the tallest I have seen yet--but this may have been an illusion created by the hill it rests upon. The hill is not incredibly steep (By the way, much of the city seems to be on a hill) but as you approach the cathedral and are forced to tilt your head back incredibly far in order to see the top, you get a feeling that you are going to topple ver backwards! The inside was indeed massive with one branched out area after another all filled with beautiful architecture and colorful stained glass windows, huge sculptures and an organ of unbelieveable size! It was even being played as we explored the place adding to the special feeling of it all.
Knowing we still had a full day of exploring ahead of us (and also learning that museums are closed on Mondays--scrathing that off our list of options) we decided we would head on in for the evening. We figured it would be good to catch up on sleep, plus it had been sprinking on and off. However, we happened upon a market area full of food joints. You have no idea how excited I was to see the prices! I ended up paying 2.50 euros (about $3) for what reminded me of a Jimmy John's sanwhich due to the kind of bread it was on. After nearly two straight days of crackers, a sandwich has never tasted so good! I got Hawaiian chicken salad--which had cocktail sauce in the dressing and pineapple as well. We've already scouted out some other decently priced eateries so I'm relieved about that.
Of course, though, we had to finish up with a waffle. Okay, so America has butchered the Belium Waffle. Honestly, I can't usually tell the difference from one and a normal waffle back home, except I always notice the Belgium ones to be puffier. This one was incredible and after eating it I was sure that Brussels was not a mistake. Dani actually bought it yesterday and added strawberries and creme to it, so imagine strawberry shortcake--times ten! The waffle itself was so sugary and sweet. I just don't understand why they do not try to replicate these more authentically back home! If the waffles turned out this amazing, I can't imagine what the chocolate will be like!
So we were finally ready to head back as we passed a tiny ally and just so happened to notice a beautiful clock tower on the other side of the gap. Since we had yet to see what this was, we thought we'd make a quick detour to check it out--being right there an all. So we walked through and out of the ally and talk about being knocked on your butt. It opened into a giant brick quad probably the size of an indoor track or larger. Every side was lined with a different magnificent building of grand size. They were all very unique, covered in large towers, sculptures, arched windows and everythign imaginable. I began snapping photos and even used the video options on my camera but it did not take me long to realize that it did not matter what how I attempted to capture the splendor of this site, there was no way to do so.
A rough start, but between the open cathedral, quiet streets, grand buildings and delightful waffles, Brussels is going to be all right.