It took a brief 35-min train ride to cross the border into Belgium, where my brain has never been more confused about whether to speak or read French or English. After a wonderful greeting from a precious cat, C and I dropped our stuff off at our homely little Airbnb and then set off for La Grand’Place, making good use of the directions kindly furnished by our hosts and successfully not getting lost on the tram and metro.
Our first stop was Le Comptoir de Mathilde, which was full of beautiful chocolates and caramels. Being in Belgium, we also had to get waffles, which were equally delicious.
As I tried not to smear Nutella all over myself, we left La Grand’Place and wandered through the streets until I stopped in front of Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert and stared because my little feminist heart was getting emotional over an intersectional rally. Like the nerds we are, C and I then bought books from Tropismes and sat in a café to indulge our inner bookworms.
I won’t explain the mansplaining incident again, but long story short, we got a better, cheaper dinner and then just sat, read, and wrote in our Airbnb.
Our hosts provided us with a cute little Belgian breakfast, and then C and I went to let our nerd hearts geek out at the Belgian Expo’s Harry Potter Exhibition. (On the metro, this guy kindly pointed out that we were taking a very circuitous route to the Expo, even after he’d asked where we were from and I’d stood there and brilliantly said, “Uhhh…” for several seconds because I didn’t know whether to say the US or France.)
I won’t even lie, we got weepy over the whole Harry Potter experience–taking a trip down memory lane with the books, getting to see real props and costumes fron the movies, and being surrounded by the general nerd atmosphere. (Oui, I’m the kind of nerd who started reading the books in 2nd grade and finished the entire 759-page final book the day it came out.)
We spent an entire 90 minutes in the building and souvenir store; sadly discovered the comic book museum we wanted to see was on the opposite side of Brussels; considered going inside the Atomium but took one look at the long line outside and went NOPE (it was so cold that we actually went back to the Harry Potter Expo so that I could buy a scarf); and explored the Basilique before defrosting in our Airbnb from the foggy 39-degree, spoopy Halloween weather.