Brussels aka the layover with chocolate

Brussels aka the layover with chocolate

Smoothish arrival in Belgium, though initially we got out at the wrong train station. (They have THREE!) Had lunch and went to the movies (Suicide Squad – not really excellent.) Then hit Leonides for a huge bag of Belgian chocolate, did a little more shopping. We also wandered through the palace square – quite by accident. Didn’t even consider going to any sites or museums. Now for some dinner and then – The Chunnel to London.

Off to Bruges

We are on the early train from Amsterdam to Brussels. We have several hours there before our train back to London. Just enough time to buy some chocolate, a keychain and maybe a pair of earrings.

Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam ROCKS

Great collection.
Well designed space.
Well trained staff.
And – wait for it – an audio guide that just blows all the other crap into space. Finally.
I swear, if I win the lottery, I am sponsoring new audio guides for all the other great museums we saw thus summer. (That did NOT have great audio guides!)

Next up: Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam Hotel

We are staying at a real hotel. A nice hotel. With soft beds and breakfast and a balconie. Such a miracle that our room (an upgraded deluxe room) was available when we arrived 6 hours early. We were just going to leave our luggage and head out to explore. Instead we get showers, breakfast and a perfect start to our one day here. . Bliss for our last 24 hours on the Continent.

Sagrada Familia – Take 2

We went back to Sagrada Familia tonight for our reservation to tour the basilica and take the elevator up the Passion Tower.
The first part was amazing. Breathtaking. Awesome. Inspiring. Moving.

What other words can I use? The old ones don’t work well enough to describe this church, this cathedral to beauty and spirituality. Huge columns sprout up like massive trees, their branches reaching up like hands to hold the ceiling. Arching lace vaults made of stone and light. Watercolor-like stained glass glowing with fire and sunsets in one side, and gleaming aquariums and forests on the other.
Every where you look, beauty.

The second part didn’t actually happen.

The Passion Tower was closed for construction related reasons, reminding me that this is an unfinished basilica.
(Frustrated whining deleted.) It turns out, I wouldn’t have been allowed up anyway with the cane, as unlike most elevators, this one can only be ridden up. No one with a cane or limp allowed up.

I think I’d like to come back when it’s finished in twenty years or so. But for now, my eyes and my soul are stunned. Full up. Complete.