We were only scheduled to be in Belgium for a little over a day. So, this day was going to be cut short, since we had to get to the airport to go to Ireland at 6PM that evening. But surprisingly enough I took enough photos in this city to look like we were there for a week.

Brussels isn’t the most beautiful city. It’s actually more like any old American city with it’s business districts and shopping centers, but then you turn the corner and stumble into the Grand Place, what used to be the King’s palace.

It’s also littered with these unbelievable cathedrals,

sculptures and public art,

ethnic food districts,

and places to get bad Belgian waffles and places to get good ones (we got a gooooooood one).

We managed to walk around a good amount of the city, and all the way up to another palace which was being worked on, but we got to enjoy this view.

Next to the palace was a garden and fountain that was so beautiful and regal with bright green copper statues,

and then on our way back to the hostel we tried to cut through a government building to save time, and ended up outside where this girl was doing a coca cola promotion and gave us free ice cold cokes. One of the highlights of the trip, I can’t even tell you.

Across the street from that was the Brussels Botanical Garden, where I absolutely had to take a million photos because it was so ancient and gorgeous and it had started to rain, and the mineral green against the gray overcast sky was too beautiful for me to pass up.

We picked up our things out of the least secure lockers of all time where we’d left them all day, and then caught the bus to the main bus station that would take us to the airport. Becca got to whip out her French to get us on the right bus. It took an hour to get to the airport, and we passed NATO on the way which was pretty cool. Once we got to the airport, we were starving and ended up getting an enormous spread of Pizza Hut pizza and inhaled it all like animals.

We took our first plane ride since arriving originally and it was on Aer Lingus, which was so adorable because the flight attendants wear these green two piece suits with the little matching caps and they have their precious little accents and we were just in heaven. I got excited about us flying over Calais France, right on the edge of the ocean,

this one didn’t exactly turn out but I was so stoked to be flying over London, even though we weren’t stopping there I can’t wait to go someday.

We arrived in Dublin and again, it was a giant change in culture because, hello! English!! We were exhausted, and trying to find our hostel while walking at night was just out of the question, so we caught a taxi and the driver was hilarious and awesome and told us where to go while we were in the city. He dropped us off at our place, and it was already really late. They had a media room with free internet, so I went down there to use the computer and there was this extra chatty older woman at the computer next to me. She kept trying to make conversation and I was just too tired, so I gave her the courtesy laugh and smile, until she told me that she was a music promoter and had just run into Glen Hansard on the street outside. I was like, um… what? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? One of my all time favorite movies is “Once”, the musical set in Dublin about two real musicians, one of them being Glen Hansard. One CD you will always find in my car and on my playlists is the Once soundtrack. I was freaking out. If I was a little more shameless, I would’ve ran outside and chased him down and told him how much I loved him, but you know, I’d be letting my American hang out.

We were taking our first and only 3 day tour on a bus through Southern and Western Ireland that left the next morning at 8am, so we had to shower up and get some sleep. Unfortunately, I’d given Becca my horrendous cold at this point, and she was coughing all night long in a room full of people who were also woken up, and let her know how pissed off they were. I felt HORRIBLE for her, having been in her shoes just days before.

All photos taken in Brussels: