Thursday, July 24: Where they make Brussels sprouts

Today I went with Dr. Scalera and her class to Brussels for the day. It only takes 80 minutes in the Thalys high-speed train to get there. I love trains! In the morning we visited the EU parliament building and the “Parliamentarium,” which is a museum all about the EU parliament. Trust me: it’s a lot cooler than it sounds. Dr. Guglielmi met up with us and escorted us to Chez Leon for a traditional lunch of moules frites (not “fried mussels” but “mussels and fries”), then in the afternoon we went to the chocolate museum (CHOCOLATE MUSEUM), saw the Mannikin Pis (because you have to), and bought souvenirs around the Grand Place. Brussels is gorgeous and I’m just sorry we couldn’t stay longer and get to know it better. The day seemed to go by in a flash and now that I sit here thinking back on it I can’t believe how many things we did.

On with the photos!

Paris’s Gare du Nord and its clicky schedule board, which I love

Looking down the platform at Gare du Nord

EU Parliament chamber

This photo is for one person–she knows who she is.

EU Parliament selfie!

Flags of all the EU nations

Outside the Parliamentarium

Inside the Parliamentarium: all kinds of multimedia exhibits

A representation of the parliament’s membership, divided into its political groups. 
Notice that the little wooden “people” are also differentiated male/female.

Nobel Peace Prize certificate awarded to the EU
Nobel Prize medal–never seen one in person before!

On this map of Europe, you roll the little stands around to different cities on the map and the screen in the stand plays something about that city and its role in the EU.

Globes representing the EU’s work in various sectors and subjects 
like human rights and election monitoring

Lunch at Chez Léon: moules!

In the Grand Place (great square) in Brussels

Dr. Scalera’s class with Dr. Guglielmi

Looking back toward the Grand Place from a side street

Inside the Chocolate Museum, dresses and hats made of chocolate

A Napoleon III-era traveling chocolate set

Collection of chocolate pots and their whisks

Demonstrating the making of pralines (filled chocolates–different from what pralines are in the U.S.)

Outside the Chocolate Museum

Another view of the Grand Place

The streets are full of these tall, narrow, side-by-side buildings

It was a gorgeous day!

The Mannikin Pis is really tiny.

And at the moment he is dressed up for Belgium’s national day, which was Monday.

Back to the Grand Place

St. Nicholas Church, originally built in the 12th century

Looking up at a building façade from a café terrace

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