I can see myself living in Brussels. It's not as charming as other European capitols, and is actually quite grimy and depressing, but in my touristy survey today I saw quite a lot I liked, and it's certainly a reasonably priced place to live. For every run-down and graffiti-ed building there was a little park or a museum that made for it.
My friend U. works at an NGO here so we met up and went to Le Pain Quotidien for the first round of eating. Then it was a lovely walk to the center of town, which totally blew me away. Wow. So much history here, around every corner - that's what I appreciate about Europe. We saw Mannekin Pis, and had a famous Belgian waffle (I will never eat frozen again!), and famous Belgian frites (with mayo, not catsup), and wandered around the shopping areas. And of course sampling chocolates at every turn. More food at an Asian fusion restaurant, then off to a concert of medieval Italian madrigals performed by the chorale at U.'s church. We ended the evening in a crowded café with apple pie à la mode (good enough to be American!) and finally, oh so wonderful hot chocolate. I wish I had my camera with me: we each got a mug of steamed milk and a little dish of chocolate chips. That's right, chocolate chips - which we dumped in the milk and stirred around. It was absolutely heavenly. Yum yum yum, and perfect for a cold and clear night.
Tomorrow: Ghent and Bruges.
MoBob took the TOEFL today. He said it went OK.