Retour du Bruxelles

What can I say? Brussels was great even though I didn’t find a single ball of wool!The weather could have been better but a few drops of rain didn’t stop us enjoying as much of the city as we could.
We were a bit worried as we walked to our hotel from the metro – we seemed to be in an area that was full of strip-joints and “adult” cinemas – but our fears were unfounded as the area was very pleasant and within walking distance of the Grand’ Place and other sights.
We saw the famous Manneken Pis on our first afternoon:
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Every souvenir shop has replicas of this little boy; ashtrays, cork screws, bottle openers, paper weights, plates, beer glasses etc etc. We restrained ourselves and bought a fridge magnet.
Brussels has over 60 museums and we managed to see four of them.
Obviously, we had to go to the Brewer’s Museum, housed in the cellars of a building dating from 1695. The free beer was excellent, and I don’t usually like beer!
We also went to Autoworld which houses a fantastic collection of cars, from the old horseless carriages of 1896 right up to Audi’s latest offerings.
On Friday we went to the Museum of Musical Instruments which was amazing. I saw instruments I had never seen before as well as wonderful examples of more well-known instruments. The collection of keyboard instruments was fantastic. The really nice thing about this museum was that they give you a set of wireless headphones to wear, so that as you go around, you hear extracts of music played on the instruments you are looking at – it really brought it all to life.
The last museum we visited was the Costume and Lace museum – again, it was incredible. I have never seen such intricate and delicate pieces of lace; some of it was over 300 years old yet looked as though it had been made last week. I was absolutely bowled over by the workmanship and the detailing; a truly memorable afternoon.
After all that museuming, we needed refreshment:
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A “Chokolade met slagroom” apparently – otherwise known as hot chocolate with whipped cream – just what you need after walking round in the rain.
I could go on about the beer and the chocolate in Brussels but there are lots of places on the internet that would be much more informative. Suffice it to say that both are pretty damn good and I can’t wait to go again!

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