March 8, 2017

European Vacation 2014, Part 7

Next, Belgium.

The night we got there we ate dinner at a place called Never Full. It had an amazing Art Nouveau exterior, with great fake Cubist paintings (think Ferdinand Leger) inside. The food was delish. We had marinated anchovies, and a bunch of local beers. My favorite was a very dry IPA called Mad Tom. The art was beautiful, the staff was so kind. A lovely experience.

That was Sunday. Note to people traveling to Brussels: don't go on a Monday. Effectively Brussels is closed on that day. Lots of antique stores full of not-quite-French mid-century furniture and knick knacks -- all of it tantalizingly out of touch. Oh well.

My main goal for Brussels was to go to Mini-Europe. I know, I know. There are so many more interesting things about Brussels, like the European Parliament and moules frites, but I wanted to see a theme park comprised of miniaturized versions of the Great Wall and the Eiffel Tower.

Monday morning we headed out to the flea market. Not a lot there...and I had an ominous rumbling in my intestines. Nooooo!! But I rallied for long enough to buy this gorgeous tin box, commemorating the Brussels International Expo of 1935.

But by the time I saw this gorgeous giant salt-glazed pot, all I could think of was sitting on it and pooping in it. Not good! I have regretted not buying it, and I took this picture just to remind myself of how funny that was.

Due to unforseen circumstances within my digestive track, we went back to the hotel. I took a bunch of immodium and napped while mrguy went out to eat some lunch. A few hours later I was back in business.

Another of our targets, in addition to Mini Europe was the Atomium. Turns out they share a fence. Once we got out there we figured out that they were both on the same site as the 1935 Expo, which I learned about from my tin box of a few hours before. We checked out the different buildings and then headed over to the Atomium.

I didn't really provide scale, so you can't tell that there are stairways within the parts of the Atomium. I could have rallied, but the lines were 90 minutes long and I couldn't fathom being stuck in one of those tubes for an hour. Instead we took many photos. And we bagged on Mini Europe. I could only withstand one of the sites, and the Atomium was the more compelling of the two. Absolutely gorgeous.

We made our way back to the hotel, and passed by this stumbling stone commemorating a woman from Poland who was killed at Auschwitz. The Stolpersteine Project resonates with me because it embeds the story of someone who was removed from that location into the ground. I first saw these in Hamburg a few years ago, and I really appreciate the ability of the markers to remind you of the person, that they existed, why they don't exist now and that bad things happened right where you innocently or not so innocently stand. It's powerful.

Later on, despite the morning's intestinal turmoil, I somehow I found myself hungry and had this classic Nicoise salad. As I recall, they played amazing 60's French music.
Saw this on the way home to the hotel and thought I'd take a picture of it so I could remember to try some if I saw it somewhere else.

so ends the day.

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