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Old 12-12-2014, 11:31 PM   #31
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That hotel really is beautiful! And a nice room, too!
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:39 AM   #32
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Saturday 6 December – part four: oh wow, that was good!

We headed out, and as you can see from these photos, it was a beautiful day out.



We made our way down to Place de la Bourse, which is home to the Bourse or Stock Exchange, which is a stunning building.



This is also the start of the Winter Wonders event, with various chalets selling all sorts of things – some souvenirs, some food, and some drink. The second we saw the sign for mulled wine, we got in line, as we felt that was just what we needed – and even better, they did a version with amaretto, which we both got. Oh wow, that was good, but my goodness, we knew we’d had it!



We made our way through some of the Christmas market…



We were looking for something to eat, so that we could soak up the alcohol we’d just had. I managed to find this, which was just what I needed.




Mark found this…



Once we were done eating, we went inside St. Nicholas church, which dates back to the end of the 12th century, although it was largely destroyed at the end of the 17th century by the French. It was only restored in the 1950s. Mark pointed out that it’s not straight inside, and my trusty guidebook told me that was because they built it to avoid an old stream. We sat in there for a while, resting our feet, then wandered around.



We got to this point, and a woman turned the lights off inside. It was the most surreal thing. I don’t know if they were telling us to get out, but it was bizarre.



Outside, we found this!



Can you guess what they were selling here? You got it – escaragot!

I found a shop selling these, but they were very expensive and the flavours were a bit weird for my taste, so I passed.



Next: what’s this all for?
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Old 12-13-2014, 11:57 AM   #33
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Cheese Cake Cafe? Yes please!
The bows on the windows for the holiday decor are really cute! How lucky to have the Christmas market. Love the food and drink so far.
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:49 PM   #34
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Cheese Cake Cafe? Yes please!
The bows on the windows for the holiday decor are really cute! How lucky to have the Christmas market. Love the food and drink so far.
So did we - and you won't be surprised to know that Amaretto is on the Monday night grocery order, so that we can add it to our stock of mulled wine...
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:16 PM   #35
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Great shots from Brussels and from inside the church! The food looks delish!
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Old 12-13-2014, 10:19 PM   #36
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I love amaretto! Need to look up a recipe for mulled wine with amaretto! Sounds perfect.
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Old 12-14-2014, 02:59 AM   #37
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I love amaretto! Need to look up a recipe for mulled wine with amaretto! Sounds perfect.
I don't know if you can get ready mixed mulled wine over there, but we have bottles of the stuff and I was just going to put a slug (or two! ) of amaretto in before pouring the mulled wine in - that's all the woman who served s seemed to do.
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Old 12-14-2014, 03:03 AM   #38
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Saturday 6 December – part five: what’s this all for?

We headed up this crowded street…



… and into the Grand Place. There have been markets held here since the 11th century, but it really became the centre of Brussels when the Hotel de Ville or town hall was built in the 15th century. In the late 17th century, the same French bombing that destroyed St. Nicholas church also destroyed much of the buildings here, leaving just the facades.

This is the Hotel de Ville…



This is the Maison du Roi, built in the 16th century, but redesigned in the 19th century. It was once the residence of the Spanish kings that once ruled Belgium, hence its name.



Next to it is Le Pigeon, which was home to Victor Hugo, who wrote Les Miserables, and it was beautiful in the late afternoon sun.



At the far end of the square to where we’d entered is the Maison des Ducs de Brabant, a group of six guildhouses that is today home to a variety of things, including a bank, and hotel.



I also loved this building, which is the Everard t’Serclaes, named after a man murdered in the 15th century and now immortalised in a bronze statue at the base of this building.



Unfortunately, this end of the Grand Place is currently undergoing restoration. A sign told us it would take a very precise “190 working days” to complete.



By the way, in case you’re wondering about the Christmas tree, and we did, the reason it’s got Riga all over it is because it comes from the Latvian capital of that name, which just happens to be the European City of Culture this year.

We thought the nativity scene was a nice touch, although shame about how it had to be displayed, all padlocked away.



We wandered out of the Grand Place, seeing some contrasting architecture.



At this point, the skies look dark in the photos, and we did feel some spots of rain. We weren’t quite sure what we were going to do next, but Mark spotted the sign for the Manneken Pis, and we figured we’d head that way. Well, we stumbled on something, and sat down for a while to watch it, as it seemed to be the preparations for a parade, although we couldn’t quite work out what it was for, and it all seemed a bit disorganised.


We weren’t sure what this person was dressed as…


There were some guys with some amazing moustaches!


Next: he’s only like this one day of the year!
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Old 12-14-2014, 08:12 AM   #39
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Huh, kinda weird parade I love the look of your hotel!!!
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:02 AM   #40
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Interesting history in that square! And interesting people.... for the parade?
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:42 AM   #41
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Huh, kinda weird parade I love the look of your hotel!!!
It was, but it does make sense in the end.... I did wonder if you'd guess what it was all about, as I think you might be more familiar with it than we are here...
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Old 12-14-2014, 09:43 AM   #42
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Interesting history in that square! And interesting people.... for the parade?
They were... it will make a bit more sense in the next instalment when we figured out what was going on.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:43 AM   #43
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I don't know if you can get ready mixed mulled wine over there, but we have bottles of the stuff and I was just going to put a slug (or two! ) of amaretto in before pouring the mulled wine in - that's all the woman who served s seemed to do.
I have mulling spices that I use to make my own, so it would be easy to just add a splash of amaretto to that.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:48 AM   #44
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I have mulling spices that I use to make my own, so it would be easy to just add a splash of amaretto to that.
Go for it! I can't wait to hear the results if you do...
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Old 12-14-2014, 12:08 PM   #45
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It was, but it does make sense in the end.... I did wonder if you'd guess what it was all about, as I think you might be more familiar with it than we are here...
Now I'm curious But no, I don't have a clue right now...
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My Previous TripsWDW: 04/2007 (ASMo), 04/2008 (AS, POR, WL), 05/2009 (BCV, AKV - Opening Day!!!, SSR), 03/2010 (BWV, GF Concierge!!!, BLT), 05/2013 (POFQ, POP), 04/2017 (Star Wars Half-Marathon); DCL: 04/2008 (Wonder, Bahamas), 04/2009 (Magic, Western Caribbean), 08/2010 (Magic, Dover to Barcelona), 05/2013 (Fantasy, Eastern Caribbean), 08/2015 (Magic, Mediterranean), 05/2017 (Wonder, Panama Canal); DVC Vero Beach: 04/2008, 04/2009; DVC Hilton Head Island: 05/2013; DL California: 09/2005, 09/2016; DLP: 03/1996 (Sequoia Lodge), 09/1996, 03/1997, 06/2002 (Hotel Santa Fe), 09/2007 (Hotel Santa Fe), 12/2008 (Sequoia Lodge), 03/2013 (Hotel New York), 09/2016 (Newport Bay Club; Inaugural Half-Marathon Weekend), 09/2017 (Sequoia Lodge; Half-Marathon Weekend); Tokyo DL: 04/1998 /// Non-Disney trips: Andorra, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Colombia, Denmark (Copenhagen), Finland (Helsinki), France (Paris, Côte d'Azur), Germany (Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Neuschwanstein Castle, Zugspitze), Grand Cayman, Great Britain (London, Stonehenge, Gibraltar), Italy (Rome, Naples, Venice, Florence, Pisa), Japan (Tokyo), Lichtenstein, Luxemburg, Mexico, Monaco (Monte Carlo), Morocco (Marrakesh), Netherlands (Amsterdam), Norway (Oslo, Bergen, North Cape), Portugal (Lisbon), Spain (Barcelona, Mallorca), Sweden (Stockholm), Switzerland (CERN, Zurich), Tunisia, Turkey, USA
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