Dr. Chun
Brussels and Bruges, Belgium

May, 2015


From London St Pancras Station, we took a Eurostar passenger train and crossed the channel tunnel.  Our next destination was Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium and home to the headquarters of the European Union.  Brussels is fun, friendly, and as well-connected as any young city could hope to be. We also took a daytrip to Bruges in the rain.

013Our hotel was at an easy walking distance from the train station.  After checked into the hotel, we wasted no time and headed for Mini-Europe and Atomium.  Mini-Europe is a miniature park located at the foot of the iconic Atomium. 023From Atomium, we walked to Royal Palace of Laeken in the hot afternoon, but the castle was off-limit to the public.  We only enjoyed Monument of Leopold I at Parc de Laeken.
033We kept walking towards the Chinese Pavilion and the Garden of the Japanese Tower.  Finally, back to the downtown Brussels by tram. 043Manneken Pis is a landmark small bronze sculpture in Brussels, depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain's basin.
053The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices, the city's Town Hall, and the Breadhouse building containing the Museum of the City of Brussels. 063Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (in French) or Koninklijke Sint-Hubertusgalerijen (in Dutch) is covered arcade of shops in the center of Brussels, close to the Grand Place. Opened in 1847, it is an elegant shopping experience and good for browsing.
073It would be fun to say we had mussels in Brussels, but we really enjoyed the national dish of Belgium with a glass of wine. 083Waffles, fries, beer, and chocolate.  These are some of the traditional Belgian foods you should try when you visit.
093The Grand Place at night in the rain. It is a remarkably homogeneous body of public and private buildings, dating mainly from the late 17th century. The architecture provides a vivid illustration of the level of social and cultural life of the period in this important political and commercial center. 103Next morning we headed for Brussels Park.  The Royal Palace of Brussels is the official palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians near the park.
113Had a quick breakfast on the bench by a pond. It was chilly and windy. 123Walked across Royal Square. Not enough time for Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium or Musical Instruments Museum.
133At the foot of the Place Royale, the Garden of the Mont des Arts reveals a broad panoramic view toward the Grand Place and the historic center of Brussels and provides a green transition between the higher and lower parts of the city. 143One-hour train ride to the city of Bruges, which is distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets, and medieval buildings.
153The medieval overtones of Bruges’ cobblestone streets lead to countless historical, architectural, and artistic wonders. 163We often think of Netherlands for its windmills, but Belgium has them, too.  We walked a mile to see windmills on the eastern edge of Bruges.
173Located at the central plaza known as the Burg are Town Hall and the Basilica of the Holy Blood. 183The city-center Market Place features horse-drawn carriage rides and 17th-century houses converted into restaurants and cafes, as well as the 13th-century belfry with its 47-bell carillon and 83m tower with panoramic views.
193With its wealth of interesting old buildings and its canals, Bruges still retains a distinct medieval air. We walked all the way to Bruges railway station, and came back to the central Brussels. 203St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral was not far from the Gare Centrale. All royal weddings and christenings take place at the Roman catholic church.
213One of my favorite sculptures on Brussels street is Don Quixote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza. 223Went to the Grand Place one last time.  We ate  slices of pizza for dinner at a restaurant near the Brussels Stock Exchange building.
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