Your Junior World Trek Reporter is reporting to duty. Current location: Belgium! As you know, we took the train from Paris to Brussels, the capital of Europe, which is where leaders from all over the world can meet to discuss things within the EU, the European Union. When we pulled into Brussels, we were met by our friend Alizee and her cute dog, Billy. Alizee stayed with us for three months in California, and we were so excited to visit her and see her place in Belgium.
Her apartment looks like something from HGTV. It is so cool! We dropped our bags off and then went on a walking tour with her around the city.
I think that the coolest place we went was the Grand Place, or main square. It is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. All of the buildings have little pieces of gold on the facades and on the statues. Despite of its beautiful appearance, in the 16th and 17th century the Grand Place was the site of hundreds of executions of witches and protestants and people who were enemies of the government. Ali taught us some things that only locals would know. For example, one of the buildings in the Grand Place isn’t symmetrical , and there is a legend about the architect. It says that when he realized that the building wasn’t symmetrical, he was so ashamed that he jumped off the top of it.
Don’t try this at home. These days the Grand Place is used for many festivals.
Probably the most popular landmark in Brussels is Manneken Pis. He’s a pretty funny statue, because he is just a 3-foot-tall peeing baby. The legend is that he saved Brussels from mass destruction by peeing on a fire. Well, Brussels sure has an interesting history! Mannequin Pis was pretty busy, so we went and saw his sister, Janneke Pis. I have also heard that they have a dog, Zinneke Pis. Who wouldn’t want to see a peeing family?
After our tour, we took the tram back to her place where we had a wonderful homemade dinner, which we had been craving since we had only been eating out. We got to meet Ali’s boyfriend, Max, who is super nice. I enjoyed playing soccer with cute little Billy as well. When traveling, it’s always nice to meet dogs and cats from around the world.
The next day, we went to Bruges, which is a nice little town outside of Brussels. Running all through the town are medieval canals, like a mini-Amsterdam.
There are lots of antique shops, as well as comic book stores. Did you know that Belgium has the most comic strips artists in the world. Some of your favorite comic strips came from Brussels, like TinTin!
We tried Belgian Fries with mayonnaise, which is how they eat them. They are actually really good that way!
After our little expedition to Bruges, we went back to Brussels.
We had a traditional Belgian meal at Au Vivux Spytigen Duvel, in Brussels.
The name is a mouthful, and so was the food, if you know what I mean. All of the sauces were thick and creamy, and there were lots of beer options (for adults, of course).
When we got back to Alizee’s house, we dyed Easter eggs, which she and Max had never done before.
It was fun to introduce our friends to an American Easter tradition!
The next day, Easter Sunday, I woke up and had a basket full Belgian chocolate, including an easter bunny!
Then, I searched for all of the Easter eggs with a little help from help from Billy.
Then my moms and I went to the MIM, the Musical Instrument Museum one of the best in the world! There are over 7,000 instruments in the museum from all different ages and places! The building that the MIM is in had survived both World Wars.
Some of you know that I play the violin and piano, and I was so excited to see all of the different instruments! Some of them looked really weird. Through the audio tour, we got to listen to the different sounds that they make and even experienced playing some of them.
They were very different from the ones we have today, I’ll tell you that! They had many different violins, in many shapes and sizes!
Once we got our fill of instruments, we went back to the apartment. Alizee and Max had prepared us a wonderful Easter brunch!
My favorite item on the menu was the little pancake sandwich with smoked salmon, la crema, shallots, and red onion.
After brunch, we and Alizee and Max packed our bags, because we are all going to Amsterdam!
Keep Calm and Travel On!
Your Junior World Trek Reporter