Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lunch in the Grande Place

 Last weekend Kyle and I went to Antwerp for the day.  We visited Reuben's house and the Antwerp cathedral (more on those in another post).  While in Antwerp, we had lunch in the grande place, because that's where one has lunch when in a European city.

If the weather is nice, you can sit outside and enjoy views of the city hall, various guild buildings, a fountain and/or a statue.   This was the view from our lunch table. Notice we could see all four of the above items.

As we were in Belgium we were offered the traditional Belgian menu items pictured on our placemat - mussels, fries and beer.  Kyle had a beer and fries.  I had a few fries.  I will note that Kyle and I have both tried mussels and don't find them worth trying again.  They don't taste awful, just nothing special.

I indulged in my favorite European lunch - bread and brie.  This restaurant served it as a sandwich with honey and walnuts as well.  Kyle had a sandwich on a baguette.

While the food in Grande Place restaurants is never anything terribly special, you can't beat the views and the opportunity for people watching.  And the chance to say - I've been there.  While all Grande Places have charm, unless you are eating in one, you tend not to linger long.  You walk in, admire the pretty buildings, snap a couple of photos and are on your way.  (I've been to Brussels' Grande Place three times now and probably spent less than an hour total there and most of that was spent waiting in line to view the flower carpet).  When you stay for lunch (particularly a European paced lunch) you spend much more time in the Grande Place and can watch the tourists move through, take a closer look at the beautiful architecture and soak in a bit more of the atmosphere.

I'm grateful that I'm not running through all of Europe at a high speed pace trying to check off as many sights as possible and have the time to stop, take a break and just be here. I think that's when I enjoy being here the most.

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