Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium looked like it belonged in a fairy tale. The plaza is called the most “medieval square in all of Europe” because of the architecture of the buildings there. The ladies had a preppy sophistication to them and the square had wonderful aromas of Belgian beer, chocolates, Belgian waffles with strawberry sauce, etc.

We could have stayed all day in the plaza/square and continued to soak up the atmosphere but we eventually left to visit our cousin’s home nearby. At night, we watched him perform in a pub. This was a unique experience for our elementary school aged sons because they had never been in a bar at midnight!

Belgian waffles

After we checked into our hotel in Brussels, we met our cousins in the town plaza which is known as the most medieval square in all of Europe for its massive, colossal, awe-inspiring cathedrals and buildings. We took a plethora of photos of the buildings and our cousins regaled us in stories of the buildings’ history. For example, there is a story that the architect of one of the towering buildings found a flaw in the structure design and threw himself off of the building in despair. This fascinated our young sons. The drama and intensity of being so passionate about one’s art was illustrated so poignantly in this story –and right there before their eyes where they could understand the beauty of these ornate buildings. The Flemish facades on the cobblestone square with massive Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance exteriors from the 17th century Neo-classical era made Brussels a thriving and historic center of commerce.

As we walked through the plaza with our talented, interesting cousin and his boisterous, exotic wife, we absorbed all of the Belgian delights on every corner. Our eight year old son was a perfect taste-tester of Belgian chocolates and Belgian waffles. The sight of him engrossed in a Belgian waffle with whipped cream and strawberries was hedonism at its best. On one corner, he’d find his sweets and pastries and on the next, we found Belgian beer—another delight! People gath- ered in the afternoon at the pubs in convivial leisure with their beers and Belgian fare which looked like sports bar food to me.

Suggested reading: Belgium for Tourists by Taggart  DK Eyewitness

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asleep at midnight in a tavern listening to our cousin play guitar
asleep at midnight in a tavern listening to our cousin play guitar

Descriptions about Brussels can be found in the book A Magic Carpet Ride. Profits from the book will go to various charities.

photos by Patrick and Gina Kingsley

Follow this lesson plan to build an itinerary with your family:

Travel Lesson Plan: Integrate the Concepts


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