From the diamond capital to Europe’s capital

Brussels, Belgium

Even a giant Nespresso couldn’t get me out of bed this morning. Thankfully, listening to the BBC techno introduction several times got me pumped up and ready to move.

There wasn’t much of a plan for today. So, map in hand, it was off to the Old Town, which was one of the most impressive that I’ve seen. The City Hall dates back over 400 years to 1576; the Grote Markt was in equally pristine shape with beautifully designed and maintained buildings surrounding the central square. Towering overhead was the 16th century Cathedral of our Lady.

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The waterfront area, bordering the Schelde River, was only a few blocks away. The promenade was deserted, offering picturesque views of the old city juxtaposed against the working port.

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After some lunch, it was time to move onto Brussels, a short 30-minute commuter train ride west. Home to the European Union, this city has been coined the “Capital of Europe.” A lousy cab driver brought me to my accommodation here, the Dominican, a small boutique hotel across from the Opera House and within a few minutes walk to the Grand Place.

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For dinner, a small bistro down the street served up a tasty bowl of mussels in a white wine, garlic herb broth. And unlike last night’s fries, none remained.

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