Thursday, 26 September 2013

3 Days in Brussels

We spent the last weekend plus the Monday at Brussels, the capital of Belgium.

The airport transfer from Brussels airport to the city center was expensive. 7.80 Euros per person one way for only 20 minutes train ride -.-'''

Oh! I learnt some Dutch language along the way. Luchthaven = Airport. Lunch heaven hehehe. I will not forget this word. Lolol.. Another interesting thing about Dutch language is they like to repeat alphabets. For example, national is nationaal, central is centraal. In the train to the city center, I'm learning Dutch language and kept pronouncing nationaal as na-tion-a-a-aall and centraal as centr-a-a-all, and hubby said I was irritating Jia >:(

Oh! Side track a while, there's a chao chow city and a chao chow palace hotel in Brussels. Hahaha. Dun believe? Google for it. Lolol.

Okay, back to my Brussels trip. A must-visit place in Brussels is the Grand Place, which is really grand. We knew from Tripadvisor that there'll be beautiful flower carpet in the middle of the Grand Place during the summer months, like this picture which I took from Tripadvisor. It's so beautiful! We missed it. Sob sob.

When we went, the Grand Place looked like this without the flower carpet. It's still beautiful and was full of people. There were gold monuments on the buildings, truly 金碧辉煌.

The magnificent sharp sharp tip of the building with cotton-like clouds in the background.

The Grand Place lights up at night, it was really beautiful. But it was too bright and our camera couldn't capture what we saw.

So, to do justice to the night view of Grand Place, I copied this photo from Tripadvisor. It truly reflects Grand Place at night when the lights lit up.

Next, we walked from the Grand Place to the Royal Palace. The Royal Palace is open to public during summer time, free entrance somemore! Aiya, we missed again! Sob sob. =(

This pic was taken when we were outside the Royal Palace, the tall and sharp tip in the background was the Grand Place.

Our second day in Brussels happens to be the Car-Free Sunday! There're carnivals everywhere and we chanced upon a carnival and free breakfast was provided! Yeah! We were happy that we got free food. I know I know, we yao gui la.

Bread and egg free breakfast!

Volunteers busy making breakfast..

The carnival

Concert for the carnival!

List of events for the day!

On the car free Sunday, only public transport such as buses and taxis, and police cars were allowed on the road. This was what we saw on the road. Many many bicycles.

Another best thing about car free Sunday is.. Free public transport for the whole day!! We were so happy when we knew it, we saved 12 Euros on public transport that day. Lolol.

We knew that there's free public transport that day because we joined a free walking tour and the tour guide told us about it. The meeting point of the free walking was at the Grand Place, and it ended at the Royal Palace. The tour was good as it gave us some history of Belgium but not much sight-seeing. So people like me who dun have long attention span to listen to the history would not find it very useful la. Anyway, for more info on the Brussels free walking tour, this is the website.
Brussels Free Walking Tour

Our tour guide..

Brussels is also the capital of the European Union so of course, the Parlamentarium is a must-visit! It's a museum which tells the story of how European Union was formed and the history of the European countries. You could practically spend a full day here if you are interested in Europe history. The interior of the Parlamentarium is high-tech and modern. The staff are very helpful and friendly, and the most amazing thing is, there's no entrance fee! It's free!

The audio guide was actually an iPod touch!

The "Corridor of History". Each little TV screen has a story to tell.

Each picture has a story of its own. Really can spend 3 to 4 hours just at this corridor to listen to the stories all the way from 1930 to 2012..

Another interesting exhibit. The floor is actually the map of Europe, just push the round thing to a place (the white circle on the floor), and it will give some information about the place. I have difficulty pushing the round thing around, and the handsome staff come and help me. Heehee..

Another exhibit. There're sofas to sit on while watching more stories of the European Union. We skipped this because we're running out of time.

The European Parliament is actually open to public. But when we were there, it was closed for renovation and will only open in 2014. Missed it again. Suay.

On our last day in Brussels, we traveled to the Mini Europe. We took the underground Metro which turned into a tram on the road! We boarded in an underground Metro station, after a while, it traveled out of the underground tunnel and became a tram on the road! In some areas where it had to travel through the woods, it became a train and traveled on railway tracks! Dun call us sua ku leh, we really first time saw this and we were so amazed throughout the whole journey! lolol..

The versatile tram we took.. It's like a train travelling on railway tracks in this pic..

See see.. From railway tracks become tram tracks on the road..

After being amazed by the tram/train, whatever you call it, we reached the Mini Europe and bought the combined tickets of the Mini Europe and the Atomium. The Mini Europe exhibited replicas of the best monuments and sites of Europe.

There's a 'village' which has restaurants and eateries outside the Mini Europe

Blue Church in Bratislava, Slovakia.. Yeah! We went le, and was told that people like to get married in the Blue Church.

Grand Place in Brussels during summer with the beautiful flower carpet.

Hubby with Leuven's Town Hall in Belgium.

London.. Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Arc De Triomphe, Paris. The building behind is the Atomium.

Sacre-Coeur, Paris. Beautiful.

The Escorial, located in the mountains, 30 miles from Madrid.

Spain. Seville, famous for its bullfights.

Malta, Temple of Mnajdra. Only a bunch of ruins.

Berlin wall. The guide book said this was part of the real Berlin wall.

Szechenyi bath, Budapest. We didn't know that it was so beautiful inside! We didn't go there when we toured Budapest! Sob sob.

The Abbey in the city of Melk, Austria. We dunno where's that though.

The Kourion Theatre, Cyprus

The Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Pisa, Italy

Us and Saint Mark's Square, Venice

There were too many monuments in Mini Europe, so I just selected these few to upload in this post.

As for the Atomium, we seriously thought that it's a science center. Turned out it exhibited photographs and some models of the 1958 World Expo held in Brussels. The Atomium was built for that purpose. The best part of the Atomium was probably the views of Brussels city from the top 'Atom'.

Kudos to the staffs who cleaned the 'Atoms'. There're many little bugs flying and sticking on the windows. Without them, the windows would be blocked by the little bugs. The staffs were hanging in the air and skipped from window to window like a Spiderman. It's really tough work, salute them!

The view when the lift was moving super fast up to the highest 'Atom'.

Staircase that linked 'Atom' to 'Atom'

We were more fascinated by the architect of the Atomium than what was being exhibited. So that's about it for the Atomium.

We headed to the airport after visiting the Atomium. Somehow, Brussels airport resembles Changi Airport.

I have separated the foodie in Brussels in another post, otherwise, this post will be too long la.

Oh, I received the e-card that I sent to myself when we were at Mini Europe. Okie, Shall end this post with the e-card. Ta-ta.

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