Day 16 - Sunday 24th November
Bit of road noise late in the night probably boy racers roaring round the roundabout under the Atomium. A dull start to the day but dry so after breakfast it was off to the nearby Metro station at the Heysel stadium for a thirty minute ride into central Brussels. From the nearest Metro station it was a ten minute walk to the European Parliament area. It’s quite a complex area but plenty of free access to various parts.
Unfortunately the main building where the members all sit, the Hemicycle, is closed on the weekend so we couldn’t visit that. We did get into the Palamentarium which is a large new building housing displays detailing the start & growth of European unity from the end of the Second World War. Plenty to do with free entry & free audio guide. In the end there was just so much information to absorb that we gave up after a couple of hours.
It was good to see where it all happens but how they can possibly expect all the people from so many diverse countries & cultures is beyond me. The principle is certainly laudable but like all things people will find a way to spoil it in time.
We left to wander around in the older part of the city passed the royal palace & park to the Hotel de Ville, the city hall & the Grot Market, the main square. The preparations were going on for their Xmas market which must be starting soon & the tourists were now out in force, people everywhere. We made it to the Maneken-Pis which is a small statue of a boy having a pee. Obviously a major tourist attraction with all forms of souvenir copies of the boy in all the shops around.
We didn’t buy any of the souvenirs but did try out the fancy waffles & some Belgian Frits. Both of which were a bit expensive & the Frits were just chips, but we felt we needed to try them while we are here.
After a bit more wandering we found a Metro station & made our way back to the motorhome for a coffee before going up to the nearby ADAM building. Our tickets yesterday came with free tickets to the exhibitions at the ADAM building so we went to see what was there. One exhibition was about the design & use of plastics while the second was all about the Punk culture, mainly British, from the 60s/70s. Neither very inspiring but at least we didn’t pay to see them.
We were parked close to the Atomium which was nicely lit up at night making a lovely backdrop to look out on in the evening. One thing that had disappointed me considering this is basically the headquarters of the European Union was the large number of homeless families living, existing even, on the streets in the centre of Brussels. A sad sight considering the Human Rights aim of the EU.