Brussels is truly a beautiful city. I wish I had more time to spend here and I definately plan on returning. This morning the boys were a little slow to get moving, go figure. I decided to walk around for a bit on my own and stopped for some DELICIOUS Belgium waffels. They were smothered with both chocolate and strawberry sauce and then topped with whipped cream. I have to admit, after eating them I did feel like I was on sugar overload but they were quite delightful.
I walked back to meet the boys and Kenneth was ready to be our tour guide! We began walking down some of the shopping streets, then headed back to Grand' Place to see the view in the sunlight. The intricate sculptures on the buildings were equally as exquisite as they had appeared the night before. Then, Kenneth lead us down rue du Chene to see the famous Manneken-Pis! Until arriving in Brussels, I had never heard of this little guy before. But everywhere I glanced I saw pictures and sculptures of a little boy peeing! Apparantly Petit Julien dates back to 1619 and has been an irreverent and endearing symbol of "carefree" Brussels. The actual sculpture of him was very tiny. He's only about a foot tall and is made out of bronze stone. We continued walking through the city, stopping to see the stock exchange, a massive neoclassical Bourse. We ventured through the cobbelstone streets and were being quite tempted by all of the chocolatiers. Kenneth lead us to the one he has deemed "the best" and we made our selections. I chose to purchase a box of hand rolled truffels then selected each of the chocolates I wanted to be included- champaigne (my personal favorite), hazelnut praline, carmel with salt, double chocolate rasberry, expresso and of course chocolate covered cherries- the full lush cherries inside still had their seeds! These chocolates were amazing! Sadly, we had to pack up the Volvo and head back to Berlin. We had an eight hour drive ahead of us!
Before leaving the city we stopped at a grocery store so the boys could stock up on Belgium beer, which they can't get back in Berlin. Then we went to see the Atomium, a HUGE sculpture built for the World Expo in 1958. The Atomium contains nine steel spheres connected so that the whole thing forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes which connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube from all eight verticals to the center contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels. The futuristic looking monument was tremendous!
Next stop---Berlin, Germany!