July 10, 2008

Brussels, The Boss & Silvio

Before we actually arrived in Belgium, my misconception of the tiny country was that there wasn't much to see or do there. I had plotted my ventures to other countries dismissing the place I was laying my head down nightly. What I quickly learned was that Belgium is very rich in historical moments that include The Battle of Waterloo and The Battle of the Bulge. They are also the center of the European Union. Their pride in their history, combined with the gorgeous architecture led us to Brussels, to a place called Grand Place.

Among the gorgeous buildings on the large square are restaurants and quaint shops. The winding roads that spider off it contain more of the same. Follow one road and it will lead you to the famous Mannekin Pis.

Follow another to the statue that is supposed to bring you good luck if you rub it. Just our luck, THAT statue was closed for renovations. Undaunted, we entered the square with our mouths agape. The buildings were as large as I had ever seen. With ornate carvings and gold detailing, they looked like a facade for a movie set.

We wandered around the immense square and down its roads, buying olive oil to take home and other special treasures. We ate at a wonderful restaurant in the square who's menu was completely in French and the waiter spoke no English. Being this was our adventure, we hoped for the best and picked out a few items. The kids were lucky as they could read Spaghetti Bolognese and they all chose that. Our meals were delicious and filling. We headed back to the square for a few more pictures.

When all of a sudden, my husband says, "Holy shit.....That's Bruce Springsteen & Steve Van Zandt!!"

So, we quickly walked over and snapped a few pictures. Weird thing was, no one was mobbing him. Apparently, the Belgians don't know Born In The USA or Silvio from the Sopranos. We were asked politely by their bodyguards to not make a big deal so they could enjoy the square as well and we obliged. How weird is it to see the Jersey Boy in Belgium on our little adventure? It just hammered home the surreal quality I kept feeling during our entire trip where I would say to myself (or out loud sometimes) "I CAN'T believe I'm HERE." It just didn't feel real.

But it was, I had the passport stamps to prove it and the 500+ pictures I took along the way. Which I can proudly say, I had developed, put in albums and labeled. You have no idea what a BIG deal this is for me. I have been known to have at any given time 5 YEARS worth of pictures of the kids in envelopes never to see an album, until I feel so overwhelmingly guilty, I lay them all out on the dining room table and try to put them in chronological order before I hastily shove them into albums. The last time I did that Lil Man was entering kindergarten and I realized I had not ONE picture of him actually IN an album.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about our solo trip to London, England. Bloody Hell!


At 8:58 AM, Anonymous MIchele said...

I have been to Belgium - Brugges in fact - and nearly keeled over from the sheer beauty of it. I was in a church that was SIX hundred years old for Christ's sake.

But if I had seen Bruce AND Sylvio? I would have definitely passed out cold. Whooooo - Whee!

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous sherry said...

I'm with Michele. I had no idea you got that close! I would've been the idiot from across whatever famous, historical spot yelling, "BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCE! Thunder Road BAYBEEEEEEEE!"

Yes, I'm an idiot.

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Lala said...

trés trés cool


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