Day 2 in Bruxelles – mushrooms at the market! 13 April 2013

We gave the local suburban version of Le Pain Quotidien a try before heading to the local Stockel markets. The markets were great. They are on 3 times a week but the Saturday market is the biggest. We were in search of mushrooms for dinner and we found wonderful varieties at the stall of a mushroom specialist who has been educating our friends on how to prepare and cook each variety. While it is handy to know some French, Belgium has a mix of French and Flemish (Dutch) but as soon as they hear your attempts at French they switch to English. The mushroom discussion was an intense mixture of French and English. We bought three varieties including the coral-like Morilles which I had had in Paris.

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I also bought a cashmere/wool cardigan after waiting a very long time for a tiny old disabled lady to finish buying about 10 of them. The purchase wasn’t so bad as the conversation that had no end that she obviously considered part of her purchase…

The market had a huge range of wonderful foods and flowers.

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The guys had freshly shucked oysters and wine at 10.30am…

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After lunch we headed to Waterloo Battlefield which was 15 minutes from Stockel and the scene of the final battle for Napoleon who was captured here.

The Butte de Lion has been built as a memorial and also the Panoramique which houses a circular painting of the battle scenes and is now about 100 years old. We had to climb the Butte which had 225 steps. Thanks to all my Parisian stair climbing I only had to stop once on the way up.

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I don’t get war and I especially don’t get why this particular battle was held in a vast expanse of flat country side with no where to hide!

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We then drove to Tervuren which is a very pretty town and one of the main attractions is the African Museum. It dates back to the 1800s when King Leopold thought it would be fun to take over the Congo and this museum was used to house a display of animals and artefacts. It is archaic and quite amusing. We had the added bonus of an exhibition of very large spiders!

We particularly liked the skeletons of the turtle and the alligator (we hadn’t realised that the ridges on the back of an alligator are actually bones)

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The hornless rhinoceros who were crusty and falling apart were just sad and the lion looked far too resigned for a lion who finds himself in a museum.

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The alligator satchel (complete with head) was also rather sad…

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To warm up for our trip to Brugge tomorrow we watched the movie In Brugge and planned to visit a few locations from the movie.

Another small day of walking at around only 10km.

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