November 1, 2013
A girl, her hubs and a suitcase…………..
All Souls Day
Well, we are nearing the end of this fabulous trip. 2 days left….Today we awoke fairly early and stopped at a local café for coffee. We went to St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral (http://www.cathedralestmichel.be/) for morning mass. It shadows the block from where it stands. The church bells greeted us as we entered. It is a fairly simple cathedral with the exception of elaborate stained glass windows. There was a significantly large gathering as it is a religious holiday here. If you are unfamiliar with All Saints Day-or All Souls Day, it is a day basically to commemorate the dead. It is considered a day of obligation, where everyone that can should honor the dead in some way. The service was multilingual-French and German-neither which helped us. But, honoring the dead to me is a universal language, so not all was lost. The choir sang angelic hymns , hypnotic and entrancing ; I thought of those whom I have lost and the ones near to me that hold my heart. As the Priest spoke his sermon, I made my own dialogue in my head. The traditions and practices that followed are all new to me, as Catholicism is not my religion (although-it is my husband’s). But, I appreciate all religious differences and found the experience calming on my spirit and soothing to my soul.
After the hour long service, we ventured out getting to further know the lay of the land. We strolled through several beautiful, manicured parks. The city was still quiet and the peaceful walk was a nice transition after the reflective morning. We stopped at a popular lunch hangout called Traiteur Picnic Sandwhicherie (http://www.traiteur-picnic.be/). We enjoyed a pizza-thankful for some rest and food.
After lunch, we found ourselves slightly turned around and lost. We wandered through a lovely area where it was all antique shops. Finally, a friendly gentleman helped redirect us as we headed back to the room. Our plan was to figure out our next adventure-but instead we took a luxurious 2 hr. nap.
Waking up refreshed we wondered out for some more exploring. Eventually leading us to dinner time. At this point it was close to 9pm. The city was hopping, the night just beginning for most. We decided on a Spanish Tapas place called Le Bar Tapas (http://www.baratapas.be/centre/). A cozy restaurant, adorned in hanging hams and comfy window seats we found a table amongst the crowded diners. The place was vibrant with activity, young people out with their friends, rowdy with laughter and giddy with alcohol. We ordered an array of vegetarian tapas for me and a fish assortment for Frank, as well a fruity sangria and a Belgium beer. The food was delicious, hot, human sized portions. Not overly filling-but more than satisfying. It was cramped quarters, noisy and congested-but that all added to the unique experience.
After dinner, we walked in the drizzling rain, stopping in a Belgium dark chocolate establishment. Because as we all know-a little dark chocolate is good for the body……
We returned back to the room to rest up for a museum death march tomorrow.
Tune in for Flemish follies………….
Love and tempting tasty tapas….
~Brooke and Frank~