The next stop on the Big Trip was Belgium--first Brussels, then Bruges. We arrived in Brussels safely, and soon found ourselves in the midst of chocolate heaven. Every store was selling chocolate truffles, pralines, bars, etc. Many of the chocolates were in the shape of the Mannekin Pis statue--apparently the legend goes that a boy was lost in the woods, and his father told the villagers that if they found him safely, he would erect a statue of his son in whatever position he was found to honor his rescuers. He was found ¨watering the flowers,¨ hence the name. Brussels was having some sort of exhibition involving the statue and different types of costume, so we never actually got to see it in full deshabille (is that how you spell it?). Very sad.
We were only in Brussels for about a day and a half, but we also managed to eat Belgian waffles and visit the Musee des Beaux Arts, which was great. They have some Bruegels and a Bosch that I´ve never seen before, which I was incredibly excited about.
We took the train over to Bruges, thinking that all of our travel woes were over...whoops again. When we went to the ticket window to pick up our TGV tickets to Avignon, we were told that our tickets had already been printed out, and that we either had to pick them up wherever they were floating around, or get them in Brussels. So we ended up wasting a few hours the next day going back to Brussels to pick up our tickets, which was quite unfortunate, because Bruges is a really pretty city. The chocolate museum was kind of disappointing, but our hostel was surprisingly nice. It had its own bar and restaurant attached, and they gave us a free Belgian beer sampler. Along with dark, blonde, and cherry beer, I also tried a raspberry one and another called Floreffe--all delicious. Belgians know their beer.
We trekked across the city at 5:30 in the morning to catch our train, and left for Avignon...