is the capitol of Belgium, the seat of the French speaking culture, and home to the European Union and NATO.
It is also a beautiful city, part built on a hilltop and part below. Like many European cities it has a large population
of residents who immigrated from other nations. There are large Turkish and Moroccan communities, for example. The
square where the city hall is located (photo at right) is called the Grand Place, and it deserves its name. The Royal Museum
of Fine Arts is first class and there also is a Museum of Musical Instruments devoted to the history of music.
Brussels was the
first Belgian city we set foot on because that was where we flew to and from on our first trip in 2002. We saw almost nothing
of Brussels when we flew there and took a train to Bruges. We saw a little more on our departure because we had an afternoon
and evening before our flight the next day. Our hotel was up the hill from the train station in a Turkish neighborhood.
That day in June, Turkey's soccer team won a huge game in the World Cup competition and there were great and joyful celebrations on
our street, with cars whizzing by, people hanging out the windows waving Turkey's colors, horns blaring and, literally, dancing in
We had a nice dinner in a Turkish restaurant, walked a long ways on a street overlooking the city, through a pretty
park into a shopping arcade where we bought some very expensive Belgian chocolates to take home.
We had one other visit to Brussels
when we took an excursion train trip from Ghent--a great bargain. In Belgium people over 65 can take same-day round trips for
2 Euros, 50 each. You can't beat that anywhere else we know of. And Belgium is so small, you can visit many cities that
way wherever you are. The train ride was about an hour and that left a lot of time to visit in Brussels.
tell you that the Grand Place where there is the city hall and the main tourist office. This is a very nice area to walk and gawk
around. We also visited the Museum of Musical Instruments
which is devoted to the history of music, and ate lunch in a beautiful
room there overlooking Brussels. And we visited the Royal Museum of Fine Arts
, a very large, grand building full of beautiful
paintings and sculptures.