Another early start but this time I fed the girls before we left for Brussels leaving them with one less thing to whinge about. I checked and checked again that there would be a flea market in Brussels and we successfully found it with little fuss-even after some scare mongering from the hotel receptionist that there would be nowhere to park. This was where the friendly Belgian tramp came into play, helping with my first ever van reverse park!
My excitement was quickly crushed though- the market was RUBBISH! and that is exactly what they were selling. I’ve never seen anything like it- I can’t believe that anyone would want to touch that stuff let alone give money for it and take it home. Where they found all this Sh*t from I’ll never know.
We had a bit of a wander round and a hot chocolate in an extremely unpleasant cafe then set off in search of some culture. One thing we noticed was that the cafes in Belgium all seem to charge you 50 cents to use the loo. In this café we walked into the toilets and turned straight round and walked out because they were so undersirable-then I noticed after we’d paid the bill we’d been charged for the pleasure of observing the squalor! I was really disappointed after the relative success of Sunday. But I kept telling myself ‘this is a research trip’ and I have certainly learnt where not to go! I did however purchase two Louis IVX chairs (which Steve on my return has bagsied!)
We had a nice day in Brussels. Met a mental woman on the tram (who, because she boarded the tram with us and stood with us for the first part of the journey everyone assumed was with us!), ate waffles for lunch and paid 29euros for the car park. The girls spent the whole day of some sort of sugar high like wild animals after a kind (?) shopkeeper gave them both a free lolly in the shape of the facebook ‘like’ symbol. This also tainted the photos somewhat because they both had blue beards and tashes from the blue colouring. I’m not sure it will ever come off their perfect little faces!
The following day was Hazel’s 7th birthday and after the present opening ceremony and a fairly lazy breakfast- ruined by a tantrumming child allowed to run free around the breakfast room by his parents (I don’t ever remember my two ever doing that in a public eatery and I’m fairly sure if they had I would have removed them!) we headed to Butte du Lion for a small amount of education- mainly for my benefit. This is located in Waterloo and is a lion statue on top of a mound overlooking the field in which the battle of Waterloo took place. We climbed the 226 steps to the top then descended immediately.
Anyway, the point to including this little snippet of un-furniture related information is that after driving to Waterloo it became evident that the Carrefour car park the sat nav had taken us to was probably not in Waterloo and was why we didn’t find an amazing flea market there. Next time I will use the quaint old fashioned navigation method-a map.
Another unrelated piece of info in case you are ever travelling to Brussels with kids check out Ocenade. It’s an excellent swimming pool with an indoor beach, wave machines, climbing frames in the pool, waterslides. My girls loved it. They didn’t really attempt any slides except one Hazel fancied that looked fairly innocuous. It was outside and I stupidly assumed the drop pool would be heated to some level. It turned out that this innocent-looking little blue slide was a drop slide and I acquired the most painful wedgy on hitting the sub-zero icy water I have ever had-and that is saying something-my brothers have given me some life threatening wedgies in the past!
I would have liked to have spent more time exploring Bruges and all it’s antique shops but my children were not up for this-fairly understandably when I stopped and thought about it. All they were doing was walking and being cold. It occurred to me that they were not interested in the architecture or scenery that I was admiring! I did spend some time talking to the owner of an antiques shop, Jan, where they restore all their own furniture and may be of help to me when sourcing interesting bits of furniture. I will take Steve with me instead to Bruges next time and make an appointment to visit Jan’s warehouse. Hopefully his face will not look like this………