BRUSSELS Feb 13, 2017
The city of BRUSSELS is the capital of Belgium and also the largest urban area.
Brussels has grown from a 10th century fortress town into a metropolis of mora then one million inhabitants.
Since the end of WWII Brussels has been a main center for international politics and is the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - NATO.
The famous Brussels landmark and symbol of the city, MANNEKEN PIS is a 61 cm tall bronze statue of a little boy urinating into the fountain. I was actually shocked at how small it really was. My first impression was "Is that it???"
Designed by Jerome Duguesnoy and placed at its location in 1618 or 1619. It is located at the junction of Rue de L'Etuve' and Rue du Chene. Another little shocker, is that this statue is not the original. Over the centuries, it has been stolen or defaced, so the original is in a museum. The present Manneken Pis is protected by an iron gate, so nobody can get at the little guy.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Hans and I had the opportunity to visit Brussels for the evening as we had a 15 hour layover. IanGrace (kylian74), was kind enough to offer to pick us up at our B & B and take us to the old town of Brussels. IanGrace, along with her Boys - Werner (hubby) and Kyle (son)- showed us a bit of Brussels for the length of time we had. It was evening, so the Grand Place was absolutely beautiful all lit up. We got to see the Town Hall, The King's House, the Guildahalls, Mannekin Pis, Galeries Royales St. Hubert and the Rue de Bouchers. We also had some Belgian Frites and Werner bought me a box of the lovely Godiva Chocolates.
All in all we had a great time. Thanks again IanGrace, Werner and Kyle. You're the best.
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Jul 09, 2007
From two trips to Brussels, these are some of the highlights:
--the Belgian Dynasty museum. We had some trouble finding the museum at first, but apparently it's on the corner in a building right next to the Royal Palace. I guess it's logical, but that's not how it looked on the map of Brussels we had. Apparently at some point every Belgian King pisses off his people and practically living away from them or has some other really strange quirk that the people don't like. I guess that's what happens when royals inbreed for so long. But the museum is still pretty interesting, particularly if you aren't up on your royalty or Belgian history. Also, there are the coolest "chairs" that look like large chunks of tofu.
--the royal palace, which was AMAZING! (sorry, no pix from the palace -- you're not allowed to use cameras there.) Most of the palace is done in gold and white, but then there's this one room that has these two huge glittering emerald panels on the ceiling (prolly about 10x20) and then a chandelier that matches the one that actually works, but is also covered in this green-blue sparkling material. It's unbelievably beautiful -- and apparently this is from beetle wings. 2 million wings of beetles for the two ceiling panels and the chandelier. and they are huge beetles. It's unbelievable.
--brewery tour of the last family-run lambic brewery in Brussels -- this is a bit out of the way and not near much else, and you seem to walk through a bit of the not-so-nice part of Brussels on the way there, but who can refuse a brewery tour? Actually, the "tour" in fact is just one person from the family that runs the place telling you how the process is done via pictures hanging just inside the entry way, and then you walk yourself through the brewery with a paper map. But in the end you get two beers -- a regular lamibc beer (it's really acidic -- basically like drinking a lemon wedge) and then some cherry lambic (same as before but with some cherry flavor).
--the first indoor mall is, surprisingly, not an American suburban phenomenon, but actually a Belgian idea from the 1800s. It's really quite massive and pretty -- much nicer architecturally than what you'll see in the states.
and of course, there's the food! Of all the waffles I've eaten in Brussels, I think the small window of a waffle place just to the left of the Mannequin Pis is actually the best. Perhaps it's because it is right next to a major tourist site, so their waffles are always hot and fresh. As much as I'm never one to turn down a waffle with some combination of strawberries, bananas, or chocolate, the simplicity of the powdered sugar is really amazing. And while you're there, don't forget to take a look at the fountain/statute, either. In addition to the waffles, don't forget the mussels and french fries! and pick up some chocolate and gin to take home with you -- I recommend the fruit flavored gin. No need for a lime in your G&T with this gin!
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