Happy Birthday Sienna

On our last day in Brussels Sienna turned twelve. We celebrated her birthday at a little brunch place called “Oma’s”. Sienna had been hesitant to break her life-long tradition of going to Tivoli with mormor on her birthday, so Elliot and I put extra thought and attention into ensuring that she still felt like it was a special day. As it is very clear from the pictures, Elliot hit spot on with the present that he had gotten for her. The food was good too, although they were very cheap with the pastries so Sienna and I made sure to fill up on an excellent Crème Brûlée.

Exploring Brussels (continued)

Brussels is full of museums and we checked out some of the ones the kids put on their to do list. There was a really cool train museum showing the history of the railroads in northern Europe with some huge locomotives you could climb on and explore. We also visited a car museum with cars from the Model T era to present time. On our last day we visited Halle Gate, a more than 600 years old monument which houses a permanent presentation dedicated to the medieval City of Brussels. After Halle Gate we headed to the Museum of Natural Science which had a rather large collection of dinosaur skeletons, including the Cryolophosaurus ellioti which Elliot got a kick out of being named after. One of our very last stops on the trip was the Manneken Pis, a little statue of a boy peeing into a fountain. A consistent swarm of tourists taking pictures in front of the statue testifies to the fact that this little guy from 1619 is one of the most famous tourist stops in Brussels, believe it or not. His little sister, Jeanneke Pis, is by no means as popular, but we happened to pass by her during our explorations of the city.

Brussels – the Grand Place

After our visit to the Atomium we went to the Grand Place, the biggest tourist destination of the city. It is the historical trading square and political center of the city and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. Surrounding the square are many old guild houses which are decorated with gold trimmings and carved statues. Along many of the side streets we found all kinds of Belgian treats, including waffles, chocolates, Belgian french fries, and a few other hard to pronounce delicacies. For once, the kids were eager to try out the local specialties.

Brussels – the Atomium

Before departing for Brussels we asked the kids to do some research about the city and find out which attractions they would like to visit. On the first day, we started early and headed to Elliots #1 destination, the Atomium. The Atomium was built in 1958 for the World fair to showcase the technological achievements made by science and industry in Belgium. We were able to climb around in many of the spheres where different exhibitions were setup, and we got great views of the surrounding area from the top. Outside the Atomium was a large park area where we walked around and experienced some of the local Brussels wildlife.