Brussels to Amsterdam: Part Two

Okay good people, here is my part two of three about my overseas trip. Where were we? Ah yes,
Day Three
This is our last full day here and so we make it or duty to find the infamous Manneken Pis statute that is such a big thing about Brussels. So we stroll towards the Grand Place area, get a little lost and find the statute. It’s much smaller than expected but there it is. A statute of a little boy peeing…There are several stories of why the statute was created but it’s not important right now. What is important is that they dress homeboy up in different costumes.

There is even a museum exhibit dedicated to his many costumes. So the statute is advertised everywhere in Brussels. And, I must say, without the water fountain it just looks like pictures and cut outs of a little boy playing with  himself and I found it inappropriate (see chocolate made at the tour. No I did not eat it).

So now that we had checked that off our list we did some more sight seeing on our own and of course shopping. We walked so long my feet felt like they were on fire so they only reprieve was to finally, FINALLY try the famous Belgian waffles!

So we hunkered down and gave in to the fattening treat. It is not your American waffle. I mean the shape is pretty much the same but there are so many ways to eat it (no syrup). Plain, with chocolate, caramel, powdered sugar, whipped crème, strawberries, nutella, bananas, white chocolate, all of the above. It’s not a breakfast treat here. Eating it for dessert is pretty much your best option so that way you won’t waste your whole day in a sugar coma. You eat it by hand or with tiny forks that are given to you to annoy you and make a mess of yourself. Very good in any event.

We ended our last day in Brussels with a night out on the town. We partook in the famous Brussels mussels. On our way down one of the many restaurant rows one of the waiters, whom we met the night before, kept trying to get my attention. The night before he asked to go out with me and called himself Mr. Satisfaction. I said no thanks and kept it moving. But he remembered me the next day because he was determined to have us eat at the restaurant. Offering a free drink. I did not want to be bothered. As we walked on he said something to the effect of “come back Janet Jackson”.

What the world? Now look, I have been called almost every black woman in Hollywood in my life time (Senaa Latham, Nia Long, Gabrielle Union, Kim Field’s little sister) but this was a first. Mr. Satisfaction needed to go head on. Nasty Boy.
So we ended the night at a lounge and said our farewells to this fair city. On to Amsterdam!

Day Four:
We take the train to Amsterdam. Less than a 2 hour ride. Upon leaving the train station you know you are in Amsterdam because it is a bike city. And they have a system down pact for how it all works out. It’s not a new thing here like in DC. They have a sidewalk for people, a road for bikes and the streets for cars. It’s a pretty good set up. There is even a traffic light that goes just for the bike riders.

Our cab driver was super friendly and gave us our own little sight seeing tour as he drove us to our hotel. He informed us that it was located on the most expensive street in the area and should be a lot of fun. He was right! Wouldn’t be any shopping going on for me in that area!

The hotel was nice, also free wifi and breakfast. It was a lot closer to the fun. We grabbed a quick lunch and as I waited for my food, I studied the map. The waiter noticed me studying and asked if he could help. I got him to show me all the night life and shopping areas. So far, I like these helpful and friendly Amsterdam folk!
After we shopped we headed straight to the famous Albert Cuyp flea market where I merrily and cheaply shopped away. On the way there I noticed a black hair supply store and went in. This store had everything a black girl could want for her hair. From natural hair care products like Miss Jessies to weave tracks. This lets me know there is a happening black community here.

Also near our hotel was the Heineken Factory. I’m no beer drinker but it was there. That night we walked to Leidseplein which is one of the night life areas. We walked around and checked out the sights and street performers. We stood in front of one of the many many coffeeshops (one word) debating whether to go in just to say we did. I say that because neither of us smokes and I am allergic to smoke so if you are looking for a write up on that experience you won’t find it here, playa. Side note, why are they called coffee shops? They aren’t some darn Starbucks!

I will say that the whole city could give you a contact high just by walking around. I mean they even sold incense with the “fragrance” of cannibus. And no we didn’t eat any space cakes (aka “brownies” did you know that’s what they were called? I didn’t either but luckily I ask questions.) They also had weed candy and cookies. I’m sure if I looked hard enough I would have found weed cupcakes. I’m a cupcake fiend so luckily I didn’t find one!

There were also places called smartshops. I had no idea what those were because just life coffeeshops weren’t places that specialized in coffee, smartshops weren’t, for instance stores that sold gadgets to further your education. Because I like to stare in window stores like a burglar plotting out my heist, I was able to determine from the outside that a smartshop was a store that legally sold drugs and paraphernalia. I’m not talking hardcore meth or heroin but psychedelic drugs like ecstasy, “energy drinks” and shots of coca (and I’m not talking Coca-Cola). Pass, no one is taking my behind because I’m dancing around high like some club kid in the streets!

No thanks!

Moving on. We had a great dinner at a place called Blinq, which also turned into a club later on, and did some bar hopping. One of the notable spots was a live jazz place called Café Alto. It was a diverse place in race and age and I really liked it. So far, day one of Amsterdam has been fun and interesting!

Final post, shopping, the red light district and Cece Peniston.

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