Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Beer, Blizzards and Frites, Part Deux

So after laying awake until almost 7:30 a.m. due to jet lag from the West Coast, I awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed at 11:30 a.m. on my 2nd day in Brussels. Just in time to get ready to meet another of my friends and former students, Amandine. Due to more snowfall, we weren't sure if she could make it but she's a trooper and pulled through.

We met her at the Central Train Station and then went on to lunch at Maison des Crepes, which is downtown but not very touristy, which is great.

It was so cute, all the tables were so close together and they had this little staircase upstairs where the bathrooms where. It would definitely be hard to be really fat in Europe. Everything's smaller! You wouldn't even be able to fit between the tables at a cafe.

After lunch, we hit the Brussels Christmas Market and went for some hot wine. Now, I have to admit when I first heard about this hot wine, I wasn't so sure but after the first sip I was a convert! It tastes like hot sangria! So delicious. And they have all these hot wine tents everywhere with heaters. What a great idea--why can't America do this?

There was a Merry Go Round downtown at the Christmas Market!
Here is one of the Christmas Market stalls. The cotton candy maker inspired an interesting conversation on what cotton candy was called in American and British English (fairy floss, don't ask me why).
After wandering around the Christmas market for awhile, getting our feet completely soaked with slush and watching the ice skaters we decided to grab a coffee at another cafe, J'Aime

Again with the cuteness factor. And so different from American cafes where they burn and turn tables in order to maximize the tip factor. While it's a little annoying not to get acknowledged immediately by the waitress, it's wonderful knowing there's no rush and when you get your order, you can sit there all afternoon if you want.

In the States, you'd get a big ol' cup of the stink eye if you tried that.

In between snow flakes, we also managed to see the Grand Place (which was amazing, but pictures can do it justice since it's so humongous!)

We also saw the famous symbol of Brussels, Mannekin Pis which to my great consternation and dismay, wasn't dressed in one of his many fancy outfits. He's also very small. In the picture I took, you almost can't see him and he's pretty much hidden behind the icicles he's urinating out.

This much bigger chocolate rendition is better.

We also saw some medieval urinals outside a church (not sure of it's name) in the downtown square. Today, they are full of graffiti.

I also saw this fabulous shop window.


  1. Looks cold, but festive and pretty!
    Amandiiiiiine! How I miss her.
    Isn't hot wine delicious? Didn't I tell you about it when you were here in Brazil? They sell it in the winter here. AmAzing.

    Can't wait for the next one!

  2. Wonderful photos & great reading about your experiences! Hot wine is a favorite of mine as well, and I sure do love the cafe-experience here. That is, I'm assuming it's the same as in the Netherlands, in some international city like Amsterdam. You've described it exactly as I know it ;-) I've never been to Brussels, but now I see I must go! Winter or anytime of the year. But it's sad about the graffiti. Happy New Year!

  3. Thanks ladies! And Happy New Years to you both.

    Danielle, I gave Amandine a big hug and cheek kiss for you!!