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Feb 6, 2018

After my trip to Paris this January, I decided that I would spend one day in Brussels. I had never been to Belgium before, and I longed to(1) go to a place I had never visited. Brussels was the obvious choice for me, as the train journey from Paris is less than two hours. After saying goodbye to my son, I headed to Gare du Nord. Talk about(2) a busy station! I went through security quickly, and found my seat. I was relieved to be on a train and on my way. I was tired; jet lag and saying goodbye to my son were both heavy weights on my shoulders. I hoped to fall asleep during the trip, but that didn't happen. I was too curious. I watched the misty countryside fly by as the train rocked oh so slightly back and forth; it was comforting. We reached Gare du Midi in no time at all. I grabbed my only roller suitcase, turned on the data for my phone, and googled my way to my Airbnb. How efficient! The place I had booked for the night was delightful. It was a ten minute walk from the station, and owned by a lady called Mikaela. She gave me a warm welcome and showed me around the very spacious, clean, and uncluttered accommodation. I was tempted to take a nap, but I knew that I only had a few hours before the sun went down, and I had to make the most of it. I wrapped up and headed to the Grand Place. Thankfully, I had just enough data to find my way there. And it was so worth the trip. Even though I was tired, and the wind was really cold, the elegance of this main square made the whole journey worthwhile(3). This area is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. It is dominated by the Hotel de Ville, or Town Hall that was built in the 1400's. The Museum of the City of Brussels dominates the opposite side of the square. It was built in the 1800's and shows the history of Brussels through art, tapestries, photos, models, and sculptures. I would have loved to have had enough time to go through the museum, but alas, I only had a couple of hours. I wondered down the various streets that came off of the square, and took time to investigate the pastry, chocolate, and waffle shops. Everything was displayed with taste, especially in the Galleries Royales Saint-Hubert. I bought a gift for my father and step-mother who I was soon to visit, and then I walked around the square one more time, taking photos, and taking in the atmosphere, before heading back to the Airbnb.

1. 'To long to' is the same as 'to yearn to'. It means that you really, really want to do something. In fact, a 'longing'  (the noun) is a strong desire that has lasted for a long time.

a. He longs to finally pass his exams so he can get his PhD.

b. She longs to return to the land where she was born.

2. 'Talk about' is a very English expression that is one of exaggeration. It is similar to saying 'how' .....

a. You'll love le Grand Place in Brussels, talk about elegant!

b. The line for the concert went all around the block, talk about a popular singer!

3. 'Worthwhile' really means that something is worthy of your time (your while). It merits your time/ attention.

a. Learning Russian over Skype for a year was difficult but really worthwhile.

b. I think that charity is worthwhile; it helps a lot of people.