Marchè du Midi and Onwards
This morning, shortly after rising out of bed, Ema stated that we have now been in Brussels for a full week — and as Becca keeps stating: “It feels like we are on vacation and we will be leaving soon.” Thank goodness we are here for about another 17 weeks! After our tour of Brussels yesterday with Vesalius College, and having realized how much more there is to see in the city of Brussels alone, we set out with strong goals this morning. Becca, Ema, Zane (of Binghamton, NY and SUNY ESF) and I set out for Marchè du Midi on this brisk-yet-sunny morning around 10:45 to what is apparently considered one of the largest markets in Europe. Held every Sunday, Marchè du Midi is said to offer goods from all over the world. Having gotten lost in the maze of vendors today (not quite lost, we knew where we were), I can attest to the above statements. Never have I seen so great a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, seafood, pastries (of course!), olives, clothing, tree nuts and dried fruits, shampoo (??), and so much more. On top of such great variety, everything was unbelievably inexpensive!
Don’t worry, after much restraint, I only bought incredibly low-priced strawberries, mixed olives (I’m loving the appreciation for olives here!), and some unknown-but-delicious puff-ball pastries. A man on a bike even told me they were delicious, which they were.
Onwards we went, spending our Sunday (Dimanche) wisely, to Place Royal. Place Royal is a beautiful square in which Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg Church is located. Also around this square are a few different museums and the Royal Library of Belgium.
In front of the Royal Library of Belgium and below Place Royal, is Jardin du Mont des Arts or Mont des Arts Garden. The garden is beautiful, with a view of some part of the city. Also in this area is the Square – Brussels Meeting Centre, with a beautiful golden clock and a tin man that hits his bronze bell every hour. It’s quite appealing.
One of the museums, the ING Culture Center, which is directly next to Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg, is free for students. There were signs for POPart outside of the building, so we decided to check it out. Below are photos of the exhibits, which I very much enjoyed, I highly suggest a visit.
After seeing all that was to be seen in this museum, we decided that it was time to head to the Atomium. We saw the World’s Fair wonder on our tour of Brussels yesterday, but wanted to see the different exhibitions inside the silver balls — there is even a restaurant at the top! The exhibits inside the different spheres were very interesting; what I enjoyed the most were the different proposals for the Atomium project (sketches, small paper models, ect..). King Leopold, who reigned during this time, was highly interested in styling the city of Brussels very much like that of Manhattan. He proposed many tall buildings and more modern structures… some of this was accomplished, but fortunately much of Brussels is still very low to the ground — which I greatly appreciate.
We were able to view this magnificent structure as the sun was on it’s way down, which made it all the more beautiful.
Classes begin tomorrow, so that is all for now. We feel quite accomplished with our explorations within this first week in Brussels so far. Now that classes are starting up again, we won’t have as much free time to roam the city, but there is still much to see!