Submitted by Randy Short on the 2016 spring semester program in Tuscany, Italy…
On Friday, we woke up super early to catch our flight to Brussels. We were able to navigate the two buses to get to Pisa, and then hopped onto another bus to get to the airport. Buses can be confusing, so we were pretty lucky. At the airport, I think they checked my passport at least five different times. I guess when people come to the United States, they would do the same thing to them. It can just feel a bit repetitive and unnecessary.
But after our flight and shuttle, we were in Brussels. Brussels is BEAUTIFUL! The streets are so clean, the gothic architecture is amazing and the streets smell like choclate and waffles. The most magical square, that around the Grande Place, was spectacular. It was voted one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and I understand why. The walls of all the buildings have gold leaf painting, and it shimmers in the day and night. I could never get tired of that view! It was also different how in Brussels everyone spoke French, but understood Dutch and English. It is a multilingual country. But with a quick “parlez-vous anglais?” and they will speak perfect English!
On Saturday, we were able to explore the city of Brussels more. After having the best waffles and chocolate of my life, we went and toured more famous monuments of this wonderful city. Belgium accepts the most immigrants for its population in Western Europe, so the city is full of many diverse peoples.
We were able to see the European Parliament building. The building was huge, opulent and mostly glass. It was a great experience seeing the site of the most powerful union of independent states in the world. We also saw a piece of the Berlin Wall, which they had to shipped in to show how short of a time ago that Europe was divided. Afterwards, we were able to stay in the most beautiful park in the world named after King Leopold II, the one who infamously ruled the Congo when mutilation and general maliciousness ruled the nation.