Justin had the trees shaken a few days ago. There was a dry north wind (bad for fires, good for walnuts on the ground) with no chance of rain so Mother Nature dried the walnuts this year. Hurray! Justin made a nice arrangement of tools for me on the lawn. We weren’t sure which would be the best. I ended up using just the metal rake and a dustpan.
One tree raked and bagged, 14 to go.
Almost half the trees are done. 25 bags today. Using a dustpan to scoop up the raked walnuts means there will be debris to deal with.
My vehicle is full!
Oops! Slow down on those turns, girl!
This afternoon I tried to go to Sophia’s championship volleyball game but there was a brush fire which closed the freeway about a mile from my house. All the traffic was diverted onto local streets – it was awful. 20 minutes to go one mile. I gave up, went home and tried a new pretzel recipe – a definite success!
Sophia’s team won. Thais sent me this picture:
This was our only whole day to explore Brussels. We walked to Grand Place – a huge plaza surrounded by huge ornate buildings and packed with people.
The most prolific shops sold Belgian chocolates.
We tried a Hop On Hop Off bus tour which was rather disappointing. In the distance you can (sort of) see the 335-foot tall Atomium – built for the 1958 World’s Fair – a model of an iron crystal molecule increased in size 165 billion times. Each sphere is 60 feet in diameter, five of them are habitable, the highest one is a restaurant.
We lingered long enough in this chocolate shop to get two free samples.
We wanted to find Manneken Pis – another famous Brussels landmark since 1451 – a 24-inch tall statue of a naked boy peeing into a fountain – but we were unsuccessful. Over the years, Manneken Pis has been clothed in a variety of costumes, to the point that he’s had 1000 outfits that now have a museum of their own. The best we could do see Manneken Pis made out of chocolate and decorated with other sweets in this shop.
Ready to sing? “California here we come. Right back where we started from.” Tomorrow!
Amsterdam Centraal Station:
Waiting platform for the Thalys high-speed train:
Looking in the opposite direction. The unique white building is the Netherlands Film Institute.
Two hours to Brussels in especially comfortable seats. After we checked into our hotel, we went for a walk and had lunch at Il Colosseo.
Tiny and crowded – see that little empty table – that’s where we ate. We could have gone upstairs but the steps looked too steep for my almost-healed ankle.
We continued walking in the area near our hotel, and then …
what do I spy with my little eye? Starbucks! – located in a most unusual building: