Spring Break 2015, part 3: Touring Brussels

It was a gorgeous Easter morning- a bit chilly but a lot of sunshine. There was a gorgeous cathedral only steps from our hotel.

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula on Easter Morning
Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula on Easter Morning (the 300-year construction of this cathedral began in the early 1200s)

stmichaelscollageThe church advertised a multilingual service online. It was completely packed and the media was there  to broadcast the service. We enjoyed hearing the beautiful voice of a woman leading the songs. We were waiting for the english part of the service. Yeah, that never came! Of the four languages used in the service, I understood Latin the best… and by best, I mean I understood about 7 words. My YouTube french education didn’t come in handy since I only learned tourist french, like how to ask for a cab and order meals. (Note to self, don’t sit in the center isle of the church, lest ye be doused with Holy Water, in thine eye.) I will have to say, it was a lovely service although we couldn’t understand anything. That day, we thought about the last 7 years worth of Easter Services and Easter meals with our Boston family- and we severely missed them that day. It’s true- on Easter, it’s important to be with family and/or friends if at all possible.

We finally had time to explore and tour around Brussels. It was absolutely the most gorgeous day for doing so! So much sunshine. Our first stop was probably the most popular of sites in Brussels The Grand Place. In the 11th century, the early years of Brussels development, an open-air market called the Lower Market was established as the city square in the place where the Grand Place is today. It continued to changed and develop as an important center for the merchant, trade and commercial industries through the centuries. In 1695, a 70k-man French Army flattened the square in an attack… very soon after, the buildings were rebuilt. The Grand Place continued to endure more difficult times- such as during the 18th centuries when revolutionaries destroyed many statues and symbols of Christianity. In the 19th century, the mayor had the square cleaned up and beautified once again. (Click on photos to enlarge and read captions.)

One of my favorite things about Brussels so far was how medieval buildings could be in such beautiful condition. We set on foot and were able to see so much in one day! Here is our gallery of our walk through the city and the Grand Sablon.

Another part of Brussels that was beautiful was right around our hotel in the Galleries De Royales St. Hubert. I loved all of the little cafes, chocolatiers and art shops. At one point the Gallery intersects with Rue des Bouchers- a very tourist-trap, but charming little street with many restaurants. We were told to steer clear of it although our hotel entrance was on the street…

The final part (and my favorite part) of our day in Brussels was discovering how incredibly beautiful the Grand Place was at night, and finding this adorable Belgian Chocolatier right in the square. We stood in the center of the square, took it all in, FaceTimed our families and enjoyed our last evening in Brussels! Enjoy the last bits of these photos…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Scotlandia! Leave a comment and let us know you were here! Cheers from Bobby + Steph…

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