Monday, January 10, 2011

A Fiesta in View


Well, there it is.  C'est tout fait.  I've booked myself a mini-vacation in Spain and I can't wait to spend some time in the sun!  One of my friends from the UK, a girl whom I studied with in Belgium, is on Erasmus (Europe's study exchange program) in Zaragoza, Spain.  So of course I had to look into the opportunity to visit.  Spain has been in my top ten "To Visit" since I left Europe in 2007, but I never thought I would have such luck to find myself there so soon.
And so inexpensively, as well.  



Europe is home to several small, intra-continental airlines. I'd heard that it was possible to find quite inexpensive airfares, if you land on a lucky date, but nothing could prepare me for what I found this morning while poking around Ryanair.com.  I fly out from Brussels to Zaragoza - a direct flight - on Friday the 28th, for a fee of 8.00€ -- that's $10.36.  And then I return the 31st for only 10€ -- $12.94.  Unbelievable.  At these prices, I can't afford NOT to go to Spain!


In four days I certainly won't be able to see all of Spain that I want, but Zaragoza is the fifth largest city in Spain (as of September 2010) and is spoken of as a sort of cultural crossroads. It's time I start a little research into the history, food, culture, and sights I want to see!


After booking this mini-vacation this morning, I got some work done before setting out en ville to revisit Brussels' Grand Place -- the old city square.  Here are a few snapshots from my afternoon promenade.  
L'hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles

From his perspective...
Dedicated 1698
Church of St. Nicolas
La Bourse -- The Stock Exchange (now houses NYSE Europa)
Covered mall one block from Le Grand Place
Looking out over Bruxelles from La Place Royale.
The large spire you see in the center is the top of l'Hôtel de Ville.


The next three photos follow a theme that I see a lot in Brussels: Mixing the Old and New; the Ancient and Modern. 
All of the sidewalks (and many of the streets in the old city) are of ancient cobblestone.
And yet, here in the middle of Le Grand Place, new sewer access ways have been installed.
New glass constructs grow up between old buildings at Le Place Royale.




And lastly, a glimpse of our Sunday afternoon ballade in the parc.





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