Back in Brussels
Brussels Travel Blog› entry 3 of 4 › view all entries
After making our way back to Brussels from Brugge, Lesley and I figured that, as long as we were out and about, we would do some chocolate shopping and seek out the city's more famous sights. So it was off to the Sablon area to see what Pierre Marcolini and Wittamer had to offer in the way of tempting choc treats to take home for our mates (these had been two of the main recommendations in the guide book). And although the chocolate stores themselves were delightful (how could they not be?), it was discovering this lovely area that made the walk really worthwhile. It was nice to see that pockets of Brussels could be so charming as we had thus far only been to areas that had perhaps suffered a little at the hands of modernisation a few decades ago and were now a bit dilapidated.
From there we headed back into the more central area of town to see the Manneken Pis (infamous pissing boy). It was pretty funny because you could see the crowds milling around way before spotting the TINY form of the peeing statue. So bizarre that such a small thing could pull such crowds! He was dressed in Italian garb when we went... quite a sweet touch to mark some sort of Italian commemoration that seemed to be going on that day. Apparently the statue has over 600 outfits from around the world although he is also sometimes naked. Even funnier to me was that you could buy all sorts of souvenirs of the Manneken Pis from shops nearby, and a lot of the statues were actually larger than he was!
Although not even close to being hungry, we walked past a waffle vendor leading away from the statue and decided we need to take on the whole Belgian waffle experience.
From there we attempted to find the Mannekin Pis' female equivalent, Jeanneke Pis, but as we were tired and didn't have a proper map, we soon gave up in favour of an early evening sit-down in one of the many outdoor cafe/bars for some raspberry beer (again, no frites for us due to the same inexplicable tax constraints.
... And what a night it turned out to be! After being dragged into some club near the Grand Place with the promise of cheap cocktails (lies), we downed the most evilly vile drinks ever to have been concocted while grimacing at the male waiting staff having to contend with too-tight white (for the benefit of the UV lights) t-shirts and headed instead to a bar a little closer to our hotel. A very good call all round as we quickly found the locals to be both extremely friendly and very up for a drink or two. Crawling into bed at some ungodly hour in the morning after too many vodka tonics, we set our alarm to get us up and cracking to see the Atomium the following day before our evening flight back to the UK...