|Church in the fog|
Today I did the Hop On/Hop Off city bus tour of Brussels except that I don't ever get off and just ride around and listen to the little tape and see the sights. I can honestly say that I am getting a better impression of Brussels today. Over all I would say that it definitely 2 1/2 hours well spent and would probably do it again and actually get off of the bus :-)
Starting a tour in the fog is probably not the best thing but I had to take what Mother Nature was providing me. I guess it just means that I am going to have to come back here in either the spring or summer, when it is green to get a better appreciation of the city. After doing the bus trip, I have revised my impression of Brussels - it is less of a hole than I had initially thought but honestly, it still isn't my favourite city. With that being said, don't think that I won't come back, because I probably will if only for a day trip and to go shopping and maybe to check out more of the sites in the sunshine!
Another thing about Brussels is that I saw a lot of homeless people, beggars and panhandlers. There seemed to be people on most streets either asking for money or sleeping in the metro. There is also a very large North African/middle eastern population here and it is reflected in the culinary choices - you can get a donair on just about every corner.
I thought that I was going to be sick on my train ride from Brussels to Antwerp as the guy across from me spent the better part of the trip mining his nose. Had I had a kleenex I would have offered it to him as it was really starting to gross me out! I also learned on the way home that there is indeed a 1st class section - you just have to look for it and it definitely made a difference on the one train as I felt a little like being in India! For one thing, it had seats and not just benches, it was cleaner, quieter and way less people. I am still not convinced though that it is worth it b/c I was only able to find it on the one train.