We were so proud of ourselves for successfully navigating the chaos of the trains to return to Brussels. Granted, it is a short trip from Bruges to Brussels, but with our severe lack of navigation genes, we will celebrate where celebration is due. As we left the station, we felt great satisfaction when we instantly recognized where we were and walked directly to our hotel. It was far too early to check in, so we stowed our luggage with the hotel and set out to explore. Everything felt different, more vibrant, without the jet lag we were dealing with when we arrived in Brussels at the beginning of our trip.
Bruges…so much beauty.
Our re-entry to Brussels after experiencing the quaint and peaceful charm of Bruges was a bit jarring. I think we both experienced a sort of grief leaving that city which had won our hearts and didn’t feel at all ready for the crush of tourists and traffic, the cacophony, and the New York City-like energy that pervades Brussels, especially with World Cup fever in the air. I know, too, that we are both homesick after two weeks away. We are deeply grateful for this trip and the wonderful experiences we’ve had; it’s just time to return to our home and animals, to work, to our routine. Getting a video from our house sitter made me miss my girls even more. I even miss my little Demon Seed, Shiva, believe it or not. I have no doubt that homesickness is coloring our travel enthusiasm today.
We got onto the ‘Hop on Hop Off’ bus to get our bearings and check out some sites around the city, starting with the Atomium. What an impressive structure! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it felt a bit like stepping into Disney’s Tomorrowland. We went to the top observation deck and then enjoyed lunch along with breathtaking views of the city.
We returned to our favorite Italian restaurant, Pasta Devina, for an amazing dinner, enjoying listening to the owner go from table to table, glowing with pride about his menu and his wife’s pasta-making skills. The smell of garlic and spices mingled with the multitude of languages surrounding us, the sound of street musicians, and the ever changing scenery of tourists passing by. A rich symphony of the senses.
Today we visited the fascinating Museum of Musical Instruments and the Cartoon Museum, opting for less things on our agenda and more rest before beginning what will be a bit of an arduous trip home this evening. We fly to Copenhagen tonight for a long layover, spending the night and sightseeing the first part of tomorrow before our flight across the pond. We’re facing tough weather in Chicago, already having been warned by our airline that our flight may be impacted. Travel is always interesting!
The early clarinets were my favorite, of course…
Travel is an incredibly rich gift, and I will cherish the memories we’ve made in Belgium’s beautiful cities of Ostend, Bruges, and Brussels. It is also a rich gift to have a home you love so much that it tugs at your heart until you return there. I am grateful for it all.