Moving Right Along

This morning I got up and headed south to Belgium! This is the last new country of my trip and I’m excited to be here. I had to catch three different trains to get here on my EUrail pass and was a tad nervous about that. Mainly because I’m a plane traveler, so the fact that I had a three minute connection at one stop was pressure! But the tracks were literally right next to each other on the same platform, no worries, I basically took one train to the Netherlands border, one (seven-minute) train across the border, and then a third train down to Brussels. After dropping my bags at my new hotel, I was off to explore my new town!

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First up was The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History in Cinquantenaire Park. The park itself is gorgeous (see above) and the museum was really cool too. They had tons and tons of uniforms from various branches and units of the Belgium military throughout history. They also had detailed biographies of their past leaders, such as Leopold I. Obviously Napoleon was mentioned several times, and they focused a lot of attention on World War I and the affect it had on the creation of Belgium.

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Probably the most impressive exhibit was the aviation hall, which was a huge warehouse off to the right of the rest of the museum. It was filled with aircraft of all shapes and sizes. They weren’t just Belgium aircraft, but many were examples of planes used by their allies and enemies in history. Really cool and you could walk around all of them and go up on the second story to get a closer view of the ones hanging (a third of it is shown below). From there I walked back towards the city center through the business district. I was starving but all I saw were chocolatiers so I had to stop in and sample some. It was good but really rich and I still feel kinda ill, lol.

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Then I went by the European Parliament building, which houses much of the operational leadership of the EU. They have an awesome, interactive exhibit called the Parliamentarium where visitors can really get a grasp on how the EU has grown and developed over history. You get an audio guide in your language to take with you and as you hold it over sensors on the exhibits, they change to your language. How cool is that? Numerous computer stations and mock conference rooms help bring the experience alive and I must admit that several times I selected the children’s version on the scenes which brought up a game to play instead of a bunch of words. But I was still learning, I promise! Below is a panorama of the outside of the complex with a history of human works that have impacted the world in a positive way.

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By now it was starting to get late (and cold) so I wandered through the “Parc de Bruxelles”, which is similar to the Tiergarten in Berlin in that it is scattered with statues and has trails running all throughout it. Then I found this amazing seafood place for dinner where you order at the fish counter (below) and then walk upstairs, sit down, and wait. In a few minutes they bring you the seafood you picked out all cooked and ready to eat. So good! But I ate way too much because I realized the little bit of chocolate I had earlier was actually my lunch, oops! But now I’m way stuffed and feel fuller than I have this whole trip. Good thing tomorrow is a tempo workout 😉

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