Written June 2017
July 19-20: Brussels, Belgium
Sites: I’m not sure we appreciated Belgium for what it was. At this point, I think we hit a lull and were kind of bored of big, history-filled cities because we’d seen so many and had more to see. Still, our time in Belgium was enjoyable. We wandered through the Grand Place and grand it was. We had polish dogs, fries and waffles here that I still remember. We searched for Manneken Pis, only to be sorely disappointed at it’s size and I don’t know, lack of interesting qualities. I remember we went to Church in Belgium and beyond the story I share later about actually finding the building, I remember our Gospel Doctrine class. I remember it was small, and maybe made up of only visitors. There were a handful of us there with different stories: I most remember a single student and an American senior couple who were serving as public affair missionaries.
Lance’s Grammy Stevens and Aunt Donna had talked Bruges up so much that upon our arrival we were faced with unmet expectations. I’m not sure why but Bruges didn’t impress us much. I remember stumbling upon a children’s choir singing in a church and sitting to listen for awhile. I also remember looking through the many, many shops and finding a decorative pillow case with a profile of a dog dressed in a suit on it. Lance encouraged me, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy it — it was like $45. Instead I bought a smaller pillow case with books in a line on it, and a book bag (that hangs in our room to this day) that reads “I like big books and I cannot lie.” We took a boat tour through the canals, and that was nice, and then we went back to Brussels.
Lodging: In Brussels we booked the Sandton Hotel. It was a nice, business-type hotel right in the city center. I remember upon arrival seeing helicopters right above us, hearing police sirens and seeing large bodies of people sectioned off of the streets. When Lance and I checked in, we asked what all of the commotion was and in his or her broken English the staff told us it was “just a riot, nothing to worry about.” Ha. According to my records, the hotel was 141 Euros, so less about $200 or so. I don’t remember it being very special — it lacked character and a kitchen, but it was clean and bigger than many places we stayed.