Sunday, April 29, 2007


After a full day of walking around in Amsterdam, we thought a road trip would be a nice change of pace -- after all, we had a rental car, a beautiful black Fiat. Since the countries are so small, we decided to drive to Belgium (a possibility that still boggles my Texan mind, coming from a place where you drive 12 hours and are still in the same state). We thought it would just be an easy drive and a nice walkaround, but we were beset by problems. Traffic sucked, bumper to bumper a good bit of the way, and we had only two partial maps that didn't really overlap very well, leading us to be quite lost coming into and going out of town. Extremely frustrating for all involved, with an awful lot of tension.

We really wanted to see the Grande Place, which none of us had an image of in our minds (although it turned out we did, we just didn't know it was the Grande Place we'd seen in pictures before). But our guidebook said it was worth a look, so it was our sole destination. We thought we got to it, but then we took an alleyway and opened into this incredible space: a huge square surrounded by these magnificent buildings. My jaw very literally dropped, and I stood there open-mouthed. Marnie's eyes were huge and she turned in circles, taking it all in. Photos don't do it justice, being there is really breathtaking:

Tired Marnie, our navigator
and tired Anna, our Brussels photographer

Here is a bit of detail of the church, the biggest building in the square.
The scale is really boggling, and you can't get that in these pictures.

And Marnie's self-portrait in the Grande Place

And this beautiful space just off the Grande Place.
That's Marc, Anna and me in the lower right.

We ate our amazing, incredible Belgian waffles (see the food post for a photo) and fought our way out of town. It was a long and stressful way to go, just to eat a waffle and see a beautiful square, but I'm glad we went because that space was truly magnificent. I'm not sure if my co-travelers would agree with that statement, but that's the way a trip is, right? Something for everyone, just not all at the same time.

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