Waking up late on Friday, we caught the noon train with picnic in hand and went to explore Brussels for a second day. It was a better day because we knew more about the city and how trains worked.
Chocolate. Belgium is known for chocolate and we were craving some, badly. We found La Cure Gormande, a local chocolate shop recommended to us by our beer guy, Jeremy. We chose five pieces each. Each bite was a smooth, creamy party on our palates. I laughed at Catherine when she took her first bite–her eyes rolled back and a smile spread across her face. This chocolate is the best in the world. It is homemade and the perfect consistency.
After we got our chocolate fix, we were determined to find the Royal Palace and St. Michael’s Cathedral. We found the Royal Palace first. It is magnificent: huge, gold details and definitely fit for a king and queen. We lunched at the park across from the Royal Palace, called the Parc de Bruxelles. Tori made us a fresh sandwich with ingredients from her organic garden and fresh meat and cheese. She also packed another Belgian specialty–speculoos. These cinnamony cookies are the perfect dessert. We laid in the park in the shade and enjoyed the beautiful day.
After lunch, we finally found St. Michael’s Cathedral–and oh, what a cathedral it was. Stained glass, extremely high ceilings and beautiful paintings. As we were walking up the steps, the bells of the bell tower started ringing and walking in was magical. Walking around cathedrals always makes me feel like there is a greater purpose of life for me and for everyone. A sense of awe combined with peace is a wonderful feeling to have on this great adventure. I lit a candle for my mother and we walked out into the busy Brussels streets.
Then we picked out some beer to bring home. (A beer after seeing a cathedral is the most delicious, satisfying beer because it feels rebelious) We went back to Jeremy, our beer guy, who helped us pick out 6 different beers to try. Orval was his favorite, and we liked it, too. We also tried Westmalle, Delirium Nocturnium and Tripel Karmelier and two others.
We had a lovely dinner of duck, pommes de terre and butter lettuce from Tori’s garden with a second course of cheese and German bread. We also ate some speculoos yet again, for dessert.
After staying up until midnight discussing life with Tori and Philippe, we went to bed with heads full of European dreams.