Friday, February 13, 2009

Brussels/Brussel/Bruxelles



Day 4 in Belgium . . . got up way before the crack of dawn in order to avoid the traffic on the drive up to the office in Brussels. Actually, we went to Brussel (Flemish name) or Bruxelles (French name) - sounds like BRUCE-ul, no "s" sound on the end. The office is very close to what might be called the tourist district and is just feet away (literally) from Manneken Pis, one of the city's most famous landmarks. I took some photos of the little fellow, but it was another grey rainy day here, so they didn't turn out that well. He's a lot smaller than I expected, and no, he wasn't dressed for Valentine's Day. I was quite amused at the number of tourists lurking around during the lunch hour. OK, so I was one of them.

Instead, I'm sharing a photo of real Belgian waffles. Don't they look yummy? There's a waffle store just down the street from the office (along with several chocolate stores, including a Neuhaus store in case QT is reading this!) But no, I did not partake of waffles today. We went to lunch at a crệperie on Rue du Midi, a couple of blocks in the other direction, beyond the lovely Grote Markt (sort of like a pedestrian town square, with a serious Medieval look and feel to it.) I had a wonderful vegetarian crệpe with tomatoes, parsley, and cheese filling.

Enough about food. Let's talk about the weather! Could it be any gloomier? I think not! I've only seen the sun for about two hours since I've been here. Everyone is walking around sniffing and sneezing and coughing . . . including me. During lunch break, I went to a pharmacie in search of some relief. You can't just buy over-the-counter medication here like you do back home at any given drug store or supermarket. Here, you go to the pharmacy, talk to the pharmacist, tell them what's ailing you. Then they go in the back and pick out a few items that will meet your needs. I got some sinus tablets, some sort throat spray, and some effervescent vitamins (the latter after showing her my almost-empty tube of Airborne and asking if she had anything like it). My total was about €25 - more expensive than I expected. But I'd pay pretty much anything to avoid another Lisbon incident like I experienced last year!

Good thing it's Friday, and I can rest tomorrow. I'm exhausted! Not sure exactly what I'm doing, but it will certainly be low-key. Come back tomorrow, and read all about the Hotel of the Leather Workers. Is that a teaser or what?