Brussels

Although we have only just set off we decided it would be rude not to see Brussels before we left.
The last time I was here I don’t remember enjoying it as much. It was the first night of my 2010 trip down to Greece, and it was the first trip like this so I was probably a bit overwhelmed and as I only had the evening I wandered a bit and then got an early night. This time, we had a tourist map and a whole day.
I slept ok. Going to bed last night was hot, and even with my tent open I wasn’t cold when I woke up this morning, or the multiple times I woke in the night. This morning my back was stiff, so I hope it gets used to tent sleeping quickly!
We hadn’t realise the site was so close to the railway until the trains started at 630am, and we were up and showering not long after.
Brussels is a great city. Such a mish-mash of stuff. But that means that even the grotty places add to the character. Finding the bike shop proved difficult with Info Offices sending us back and forth, but along the way we saw a bit more of the city: The vegetable gardens on and around the library, a Calder stabile, a garden of fountains and water-falls.
By the time Pete’s bike was sorted it was getting hot. We had a brief look at the famous peeing boy statue, then got lunch and sat by the cathedral. This is what the city does best. Lots of squares, all different, all with an interesting surrounding, but all with a fin atmosphere. Tonight we find ouselves back in the main square as the lights start to come on.
After lunch we decided to follow a couple of the tours on the map. They really don’t hide anything it seems as the tour included an old fortified castle now used to house immigrants awaiting visa applications, and the park famed for rough gay sex at night! This tour was cut short when Pete found his gear cable almost sheared! At least this time we knew where the bike shop was.
Fixed again, we set off on the European Quarter tour. Again not all the idyllic side of life, but honest. Some nice parks and the grand Arc de Triomphe, with adjacent free museums. By now it was really hot so we sat in the park beneath the Arc and discussed the monarchy. All our knowledge was sketchy, but that didn’t stop us having strong opinions! Sadly, this meant that we were 15mins late to get into the museums. Then by the time we got there, 3mins late for the European Parliament exhibition too!
Back at the campsite we started cooking dinner, and the thunder started clapping. We made ready to dash into tents when necessary, but the storm passed by and within an hour it was blue skies and sunny again.
This evening we decided on one last ride into town, to sit in the square; this time with waffles!!
A nice chilled evening (not without some weighty discussion), before bed and ready for an early start tomorrow.

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