If you ever have the opportunity to go to Brussels, do it.
Thanks to the most amazing youth exchange officer that I am forever grateful for and can never thank enough I got to spend a day in Brussels, Belgium. My morning started with my alarm saying "no Kaeleigh, you deserve to sleep in today because you had a long day yesterday and well, you just deserve it." Which then led to my response of, "thanks for your consideration Mr. Alarm clock but you just screwed me over and now I have 5 minutes to get ready." Either way I made it out the door lookin decent with Nutellabrot to go courtesy of my lovely host mother.
We drove for about two hours most of which I slept through and finally arrived in the city of sprouts. Get it cuz like brussel sprouts? HA. Okay, I apologize for that joke. It was really bad and I'm done now. In the city we walked to where we would be getting onto our "on and off" bus. These busses are kind of ingenious. You can see the city from the double-decker, open top bus and then get off at stops that interest you and walk around a bit before waiting for the next bus to show up for another picturesque rest break.
The first stop we got off at was the Atomium which is that big shiny metal ball thing you may have heard of? Beneath this incredible history lesson I'm about to give you I've included some super fancy photos of it incase you don't know what I'm talking about.
The Atomium was originally built to be the attraction for the World's Fair held in Brussels in 1958. It symbolized faith in prosperity and progress but quickly became a national symbol. The Atomium attracts 600,000 visitors per year.
In 1954 Belgian civil engineer and architect André Waterkeyn came up with the idea of taking a basic iron crystal with nine atoms and enlarging it 165 billion times. The spectacular structure brought upon a new era: the atomic age.
The structure was built from aluminum leading to it's name which combined 'atom' and 'aluminum' to create Atomium. It took 19 months to build and was renovated between 2004-2007; the faded aluminum pieces replaced by stainless steel for lasting shine.
The Atomium is now also a museum which we took the time to go through (and how I got all the previous information). There were elevators and sets of escalators/stairs that took you between the multiple spheres. It was absolutely worth the time and money.
After the Atomium we took the bus to the city center where we got off and stopped for some famous Belgian fries eaten with special mayo that tastes totally different from what we have in the US. We walked around for awhile and I took pictures of things like cute chocolate stores and this beautiful market square (actually called Grand Place). We went into some chocolate stores one of which we bought ice cream from which turned out not to be ice cream but chocolate mousse. Chocolate mousse is delicious but I don't think I will need to order a bowl of it ever again.
Another cool place that we visited and took a tour through was the European Parliament. It was towards the end of our day and the tiredness was hitting us all so I can't tell you much about it but I do remember getting a new pin for my blazer there!
Now for all those photos I was talking about. It was so beautiful in Brussels, especially with the nice weather we were blessed with.
Before leaving for the evening we stopped for dinner which for me was a waffle because you can't leave Belgium without eating one. It breaks violation, the mayor told me himself ***see bottom for note.***
I think we all really enjoyed our day trip to Brussels. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday and I'm so glad I could go as my days on exchange are numbered. Before you know it I'll be blogging about reverse culture shock. I'm not ready for that but I am ready to see all my people back home. Summer is waiting!
***I didn't actually meet the mayor of Brussels but he seems like a cool dude. Shoutout to my man Yvan Mayeur you're (probably) a real homie***
That's it, until next time.