The church of our lady. Did I mention the tower is 122m high and thus the highest brick tower in the world?
Our restaurant was way off the tourist track
As our racks of ribs were served Garrie thought he heard thunder. Within minutes the sky opened and we grabbed our food and drinks and headed inside.
The train to Brussels is on time, spacious and fast. Oh Australia you are so behind Europe on this stuff. Well you'll laugh, when the conductor came through we discovered we were in first class with second class tickets. Woops! So half the trip was a bit less spacious but still double the leg room of economy class air travel.
So we arrive and decide to use the metro to get to our hotel. We buy our ticket and we know we need platform 3 to DeBrouckere and then change to St Catherine. Easy right? So we find platform 3 and the strangest little train arrives and we get in. So after just one stop we pop back out into the open air and then we find we are stopping at tram stops. Who knew that their trams also ran on the metro so now where the heck are we going? Garrie asks some passengers and the driver none of whom have English I try to check the maps which do not correspond to our metro map...thankfully the old adage fortune favours the brave kicks in and a business looking fellow asks me if I need help. I explain and he says we should get off with him at the next stop and he then directs us how to walk to St Catherine's which is only about 200m away! How lucky is that. The area seems grim, deserted and dirty and it starts to rain. We are not impressed with Brussels. We walk almost to St Catherine's Cathedral then I use my French (having realised all signs are now in French) to ask a waiter for the street we need. That's just across the road and our hotel is back about 100m. Another stroke of luck - check in is 2pm and it's only 10am but our room is available! (I think we looked in need). This hotel is excellent and even has a kitchenette.
So what a difference an hour makes. The sun is shining, a market has started up and in just a few minutes we are in the most amazing square.
The detail in this building is amazing,
We also found The Mannekan Pis, the little boy who has been amusing people on this corner since 1619. He too was supporting Catalonian independence it seems. Giving him outfits has become a "thing" and he now has over 900 outfits apparently. Let's hope he doesn't have a pair of budgie smugglers!
We found this in a famous restaurant strip.
Time for our last Belgian waffle, but which to have?
In 1868 the relics of the Martyrs of Gorkum were transferred from the Netherlands to the Church of Saint Nicholas. This shrine contains these relics. These martyrs were 19 Catholic priests who had been tortured and executed on 9.July.1572 in the Dutch city of Gorinchem (or Gorkum, a village about 15 miles southwest of Rotterdam) during the religious troubles between Catholics and Protestants in the Low Countries. The Protestants were trying to force Franciscan, Norbertine, Augustinian and Dominican priests to renounce Catholicism and Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Bas-reliefs of each martyr can be seen on the reliquary.
We also come across some ruins that are being preserved from 1238.
The city mayors are friendly so I have a quick sit down on this ones knee.
It seems some of this city is well preserved, other parts are more like the outskirts of Ghent, perhaps run down due to the GFC? There are also odd spots where new buildings incorporate the very old.