Myself and the other Europe bound Wallys had an early morning start to this year’s Brussels and Frankfurt immersion trip. At least so it would seem from the fact that one such Wally already realized he forgot his passport minutes prior to actually setting off from campus (mom it wasn’t me). The 11:30 am departure from campus, arguably early morning on a Saturday, nevertheless went without any real problems as all students presented themselves promptly and looking “fairly” clean. Upon arrival at the airport we were met by distinguished and much admired, Prof. Stephen B. Dyson PhD., recently attending a Political Science conference in Chicago, who dutifully reminded us that we were on our own and he would not be responsible for any criminal activity on our part. The waiting periods at both Indy and Atlanta airports were spent in amiable and intellectual discussion concerning such important matters as economics, political science and the quality of different portable entertainment devices with Prof. Mikek and Media Center head honcho Jeana Rogers. We are now on our Delta airlines flight to Brussels, just past a meal which made us wish for Sparks (and people wonders why Delta isn’t doing very well), and eagerly awaiting the morning to come, and with it the promise of the old continent and a proper meal. Until then ou revoir.
Arriving in Brussels this morning at 8am local time (2am Indiana time), I do not know when Saturday ended and Sunday began. This first day consisted of roaming the city in a state of insomnia. Upon arriving at our hotel at roughly 10am, we had to wait an hour before we could check into our rooms. After hearing this news, a small group of us set out to explore the city. First I must mention that all of the members of the group I was in had absolutely no knowledge of the French language. Anyways, the primary objective of this small group was to search for food and some form of beverage. Being a Sunday morning, most of the stores and restaurants were not open. We finally stumbled upon a pastry shop. The owner of the pastry shop spoke no English, only French. Through a series of pointing and stammering, we finally acquired some food. We then proceeded to walk around some more and eventually find our way back to the hotel to check into our rooms.
After check-in, I joined a small group of guys and ventured down to the Grand Place in the heart of Brussels. We spent the afternoon roaming around, taking pictures, and tasting different types of beer and local food. Since most of us hadn’t slept and couldn’t recall where one day ended and the other began, we decided to head back to the hotel to take a short nap.
This short nap turned into a 3-hour endeavor. I was finally woken up at about 9pm. I climbed out of bed, got dressed, and hopped on the metro headed downtown with another group of friends. We headed back to the plaza to explore a bit of the nightlife of Brussels. We ended up in a bar that was over 500 years old. This bar had a wonderful selection of Belgian beers to sample. The bar had a very homely, aged feel and appearance. As midnight approached, the bar began to shutdown; after all it was a Sunday night. After leaving the bar, we discovered an Irish dance bar called Celtica. After ordering a few drinks, we sat down and enjoyed the live music being played in the bar. We rounded out our evening by walking back to the hotel from the Grand Place. This day was a wonderful way to begin experiencing the European culture.
Our first day in Brussels has been a wonderful experience so far. We have been staying in Eurovillage, a nice hotel located in the heart of Brussels. After getting over from the jet lag, in the afternoon, I along with my friends did a city tour. The city is very beautiful with its richness in ancient culture and heritage. †There are several cathedrals that date back to 15th centuries. The architectural aspects of these cathedrals are amazing. The jamb figures, the relief structures are so beautiful and realistic.
In the evening, we explored the old part of the town and we happened to go to a 500-year-old bar. We walked through alleys and rode subways. It was amazing to see and meet people from different parts of the world gathered at the city square to have a glimpse of this culturally and historically rich city, Brussels.
Above: Manbar Khadka†and Prof Mikek explore a 500 year old Pub. †In top Photo left to right: Patrick Maguire, Matt Walter, Brian Crum, Brad Armstrong