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Mike and Adele's European Vacation

Part 2: Brussels and Bruges

Saturday, May 15, 1999

Adele: We arrived in Brussels. It was a gray, misty morning, so we couldn't see much from the air. All our bags made it, thank god. Customs was uneventful. Donn and Mary were waiting for us on the other side.

We were whisked off to their house, had a bath, unpacked a bit, then off to the Grand Plaz to try to stay awake for 12 more hours!

City HallGrand Plaz buildings
Some views of the Grand Plaz.

We went to St. Michael's Church. Typical gothic, nothing remarkable. Then, after a quick trip through the market where Mary bought a watercolor for a friend, it was on to a potty break and lunch. We ate Greek, gyros and frites! We walked around the Grand Plaz, up to the Palace, and around the park. We saw the Mannekin Pis, the statue of the little boy pissing. We saw the heavily barricaded US Embassy, which wasn't even flying the flag to avert rousing emotion.

Belgian palace
Where the Belgian King lives.

Mannekin Pis statue
Mannekin Pis.

Little Girl Piss statue
Little Girl Pis.  We had to go all over to find this fountain,
but I guess the Belgians are equal opportunity pissers.

We also bought the lace kleenex and toilet paper covers that the rude woman at Mike's office insisted that he buy for her! What a bitch. I want him to charge her extra, but he's too nice and probably won't.

Mike at Lace Shop
Mike hitting on a local at the lace shop.

We then drove to the Atomium where they have a big jack (the children's game) from some World's Fair. Then, back to the house via a circuitous route over bumpy roads (I had to pee).

Atomium
The Atomium.  Doesn't it look like a giant jack?

Mike and I were both so tired we were nauseous and had the shakes. So, we took a nap. After 3 hours of sleep, we were grumpy, but less ill. We had a great dinner of brisket and salad. Mike and I had some beer and went back to bed at 10 PM.

What an exhausting day!

Sunday, May 16, 1999

Adele: Up at dawn, rested and ready to go!

After a great breakfast of chocolate croissants and Belgian waffles, we had the grand, not exhausted tour, of Mary and Donn's house. Their house used to be the barn! Now, it is really neat. The living room/den is one great room which Mary has divided into 2 to accommodate the furniture and break it up into more livable spaces. The dining room is connected to the great room. Mary has been collecting china! The dining room is connected to the kitchen through a great, big door, wooden and ornate! Mary has a big kitchen and Donn has a 1 car garage for the Grand Prix. Mary parks her Volkswagen Golf in the side drive. The upstairs has 5 bedrooms. There is Melissa's room, our room, the Master bedroom, the computer room, and the catchall. Also, typically European, separate toilets and bathroom! The house is gorgeous and immaculately clean. Mary has been collecting all manner of antiques including a spindle, a 1900 sewing machine in a wooden case, enamel ware, and everything else you can think of! It looks really nice.

After the tour, we headed to the medieval town of Bruges. There are lots of canals. We took a boat tour. There was an old Belfry with clock and carillon. We went up all 366 steps arriving at the tope of the bell tower at exactly noon! It was loud. Mike was standing under the big bell when it bonged. He didn't like it very much.

Bruges Belfry
The Belfry at Bruges.  It was very loud!

Bruges from the belfry
A view of Bruges from the Belfry.

We then went to lunch at a wonderful, expensive restaurant. Mike got to have lobster bisque, so he was happy.

We walked around Bruges some more. We saw Michelangelo's Madonna and Child in a church. We walked to a brewery and then through an old convent that used to take in widow's and old maids who would then tat to earn their keep! We saw little ducks and swans in the canals.

We were then on to Zeebruge on the North Sea. Even though it was cold, I still got sun/wind burn. Then, on home in weekend traffic! We planned the rest of the trip. Mike and I are off to Paris tomorrow.

Zeebruges Beach
The VERY cold North Sea at Zeebruge.

Continue on to Part 3: Paris