Being a tourist in Belgium and Luxembourg

My trip to Belgium was not all work and no play. I got to do the tourist thing as well, and see a number of interesting places. Here are the more touristy pictures from my Belgium/Luxembourg trip.

One of the highlights of my trip was seeing the Belgian Armed Forces Museum.

This is from the plaza in front of the museum. I love the old architecture you can find all over Europe.

This is the top of the gate in the plaza.

Here’s a well-made statue from the museum.

This museum has an extensive medieval collection of arms and armor.

Can you imagine how much time went into etching the details on this?

This display is gear from a tournament.

Here are some polearms, the weapon of the common medieval soldier. I took particular joy in seeing this plaque:

One of my pet peeves is that in virtually all movies set in medieval or fantasy settings, swords are heavily overrepresented; the reality was that swords were very expensive and required special training to use, not something to give to a conscript.

The museum also had a very extensive Napoleonic era section as well. Above is a uniform from this era, and below is an armor set:

Unfortunately the museum was closing fairly early and I spent a little too much time in the medieval and napoleonic sections, so I had to really rush through the rest of the museum.

This hangar was full of aircraft of various types. I wish I had had more time to look at everything.

Nothing says my gun is bigger than yours like a tank.

Above and below are some WWI exhibits.

Here is a display documenting the Polish officers that served in the Belgian armed forces.

It was a huge and amazing museum that I wish I had had more time to really appreciate.

One of the amazing things about Belgium is the waffles. They’re everywhere and they are amazing. They even have them in vending machines, and they taste way better than the typical vending machine fare.

Brussels is also famous for its mussels, which I also had to try.

Here are some shots of streets in Brussels.

Because Belgium is a bilingual country, all street signs are written in both French and Dutch.
And here is the skyline. We also got to visit Brugge, a very interesting city with a lot of medieval architecture. It also happens to house the College of Europe.

Here a musician is playing a rather strange looking instrument.

Brugge has a lot of canals and was an important center of trade back in the day. It also had a hospital. This is St. John’s hospital; the ramp on the right side of the photo was the emergency entrance accessible by boat.

While we were in Brugge, there was some kind of celebration. They had a cool parade, but I have no idea what the occasion was.

Here’s a close-up of the crests on the town hall, which is below

This is a watchtower for the city.
One of the main plazas in Brugge.

Here’s another few shots of the canals and the architecture of Brugge.

One of the other unique things about Brugge is the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which houses a relic venerated as containing the blood of Christ collected by Joseph of Arimathea.

One church in Brugge was destroyed and the building material were sold during the French Revolution, as detailed here:

All that survived was part of the basement. A hotel has been built on top of the ruin. Here you can see some 14th century tomb art.

I will write about my visit to the Polish parliament and my trip to Germany next time.

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