One of our fondest memories of our European honeymoon in 2003 is visiting Brussels for two days, and needing a break on Day 2, we found a small square, ordered some drinks, and sat and watched the world go by for a few hours. It was a good plan, and one we still subscribe to: don’t try to do everything in every place without rest! This time, we did walk somewhere every day we were here, although rain threatened each day. We explored on our own, met with new friends who also got rid of their home to just travel, took a free walking tour, wandered the streets aimlessly, and walked to a local church for a concert.
We had the best guide on our free Sandemans walking tour! Fraser is Scottish but has been a tour guide here for 14 years, even though he hardly looks old enough! He was fun and funny, and we saw the highlights of the city, learned a lot, and went back to see some of the places that we had just breezed by on tour. We met two couples who had also been on our tour in Antwerp, and we met new friends from Ireland. That is the best part of this life of ours – meeting and chatting with people from all over, and finding out about life in their corner of the world.
We went to Notre Dame du Finistere Church for the weekly Monday afternoon organ recital, only to be surprised with an hour-long organ concert with four soloists. It was glorious. Everyone came in, and turned their chairs to the rear of the church, toward the organ. We did likewise. Nobody applauded after the first five pieces, so neither did we. Out of the blue, they applauded for the next piece, then not again until the end. We just follow the locals! Beneath the organ pipes, on three sides, you can see inscriptions in Latin. We translated them: (1) They shall rise up from the ends of the earth, singing to the Lord with instruments. (2) The ends of the earth scatter at the sound of the pipe organ. (3) From the ends of the earth, praise the Lord with strings and organ.
Please don’t take offense, but in the photos you will see the most famous statue in all of Belgium, dating to the 15th century! People search the city for it, thinking that it certainly will be prominent, in the center of a city square, of course. But it is tiny, in a corner, and now apparently is always costumed according to the day or season. The city museum holds his array of costumes! Every souvenir store sells replicas, in all colors, no less. Chocolate shops sell him in Belgian chocolate form. It is like a mania. If you know what the statue is, you are smiling by now. If not, see him in the photo below! But squint – or enlarge your screen, as he is hard to see!!