David drove us to Belgium on Saturday to the town of Gent where we stayed with a young couple who are pastoring a small church there. He found GPS on the internet a few months ago and since we were going to be in the area they invited us to come. Mike preached in the morning and after lunch we headed to Brussels. About 8km out of the city the highway was shut down! We had to exit and try to make our way back towards the city, another street shut down with police turning cars away. Come to find out that one day a year Brussels shuts the entire city down for cars, only allowing bikes and walking. We were determined to get to the city while we still had daylight and so we took a side road that didn’t seem to be blocked and started driving here and there avoiding the police. 6km, 5km, 4km but where were we? It seemed like we were in Turkey or Morocco not Belgium and the streets were getting narrower and narrower. Help! We finally called the hotel, untangled ourselves and made our way through the endless bikes and pedestrians to our hotel right in front of the train station. This is a congested area and the parking garage was totally closed off at the street. Another call to the girl at the hotel who now knew our name by heart – we punched in a code and the iron door opened up to an elevator for cars! We drove in, punched the button and down we went to floor -1. What a weird feeling! With just enough room for the car and a solid door in front and behind we felt like we were in a James Bond movie. The door in front opened up and we drove out into the parking garage. You can’t be claustrophobic in this town, from narrow streets to bikes and people milling around everywhere to car elevators, we are having fun.
Then off to the main square on foot. What a city, everywhere you look majestic buildings, churches and government buildings, the detail on the buildings was unbelievable. We bought the famous Brussels chocolates, and took pictures until the sun went down. David knew of a restaurant that was down under one of the 400 year old buildings that served traditional Belgium food. Quite the place, not big, with the original brick ceiling and walls. So cool! Back on the street we found a Waffle House and indulged in a wonderful light Belgium waffle with strawberries, bananas, whipped cream and chocolate, with a hot chocolate to wash it down, loved it!
Catching a taxi back was easy and our driver gave us a bit of a tour as well, showing us the ultra rich area and where the King had been earlier that day riding a bike to show his support. Back at the Hotel we said goodbye to David who was headed home to Holland and discovered I’d left my folder with all my train tickets and hotel reservations at the desk. Good thing the lady knew our names and returned it to us. It’s been quite a day. Tomorrow France!