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Belgian Waffles, Chocolate, & Spanish… wait, what? July 27, 2012

Posted by silviavaca in Travel Log.

For our first legit trip (more than a day trip), we went to Brussels & Amsterdam. We had heard that Brussels was voted the most boring city in Europe by previous GTLers, so we only planned to stay there a night…. & it was a good decision! When we arrived, we were welcomed by a Jazz Fest on Grand Place – right in front of our hostel. Grand Place is the plaza with city hall, so it was an awesome mix of people listening to music on the street & old architecture:

Grand Place

The Brussels Jazz Fest in the Grand Place!

We had a nice dinner outside while enjoying the music and later walked around to get a feel for the city. As we walked, I was surprised to hear Spanish fairly frequently. Spanish in Brussels?! On top of that, we saw an advertisement for a Salsa night at a local club. We never figured out why there was such a Hispanic influence there, but it was cool for me to hear a language I understood.

As any reasonable tourists would, we had Belgian waffles for breakfast the next morning and they were spectacular. We found out that the reason Belgian waffles are so yummy is that they’re made with tons of real sugar (you can see the sugar crystals inside!) To add to the deliciousness, they are topped with anything you want: strawberries, Belgian chocolate, bananas, Belgian chocolate, ice cream, & have I mentioned Belgian chocolate? So good!

Be jealous! (There’s a waffle underneath all the yummy goodness, I promise)

& then we were off to Amsterdam! We arrived to the sound of cheers & music. After seeing almost everyone in orange & soccer balls hanging in the streets, we deduced that there was a futbol game that afternoon. You could feel the energy in the city as they supported their team!

These guys were running around chanting & laughing!
These were everywhere!

We explored the city on foot & discovered that people weren’t kidding when they said that you’re more likely to get hit by a bike than a car in Amsterdam. Seriously:

Need a bike?

Anywho… the most rewarding part of the trip was visiting the Anne Frank House. We were hesitant at first when we realized the line went around 2 blocks, but it moved quickly so we made it inside in no time at all. The house has been renovated into 2 main parts: the original house in which the Franks resided and the museum with documents and video clips about the Franks and the Holocaust. Otto Frank – Anne’s father – was the only survivor of the inhabitants of the house, so he had a lot of say in how the museum was laid out. One of his requests was that the house remain empty of furniture. He wanted this because the Nazis had left the house empty when the Franks were discovered and Otto felt the house should remain that way to represent the emptiness left by the Holocaust.

I was expecting small quarters of course, but it was mind-blowing being physically inside the house. It was TINY. We walked around a room the size of a large closet & realized that it had been Anne’s room – which she shared with someone else. Moreover, they couldn’t leave the house, so they were confined to their small living space. The museum was fantastic; seriously, you should go! Anyways, the next trip is BARCELONA, so I’ll have stories when I come back!



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