Alternate titles for this post:
- Brussels: The city of the boy holding his penis
- Belgium Pride weekend
- Charlie and the chocolate, cookie, candy, beer and waffles factory
- My trip to every major European monument
Let’s just go in order, shall we? Do you know where Brussels is? It is in Belgium. Do you know what there is to see in Brussels? Well, it’s the capital of the European Union, for starters. It also has one of the most beautiful city squares in Europe (I heard.) Here are some photos:
What’s that? You were hoping for maybe more of an aerial view of the square and maybe a photo less people in it and a pretty rug in the center? Oh. Well here you go.
Is that the Eiffel Tower in the background of the Grand Place in Brussels? And some giants? Yes.
Anyway, you walk into beautiful Brussels and this beautiful city square and you hear the people speaking French and/or German and/or English and generally being trilingual and classy and then suddenly, everywhere you look are chocolates, candies, postcards, and pictures all resembling a boy with his penis in his hand.
So yeah. That was confusing. Until I read a postcard about the famed “Mannekin Pis”. The postcard described two possible legends about why the statue (turns out it’s a statue) was erected (hehe) and neither was really convincing enough to call for a statue, in my opinion. I have a feeling one day someone was like, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we made a water feature of a naked boy peeing?” And up it went (hehe).
Here’s the actual statue:
The hat is temporary; I think they put different clothes on him all year round. So whimsical and fun, Brussels! However, the actual statue is quite small and sneaks up on you after you’ve entered your sugar high of chocolate samples (more on that in a minute.)
I distinctly heard a collective, “That’s it?” arising from the other English-speaking tourists as we unsuspectingly rounded the corner to where this little guy lives.
Here’s a further out photo to put it in better context:
Yes. He’s tiny. Poor guy.
Speaking of guys, our weekend in Belgium was also about bigger guys (and gals) being modeled in store windows:
Yes, it was gay pride weekend. Complete with tons of loud music in the streets, dancing, lots of drinking, and outdoor food stands. It was like a giant block party one street down from our hostel! Too bad I was freezing the entire time.
Stefanie and I joined in the festivities a little. We drank really good Belgian beer from a street vendor (I really liked cherry beer!) and we ate dinner that night also from a street vendor: Curry chicken, rice, and egg rolls. It was spicy and delicious! But what to have for dessert? It was hard to find anything that looked good.
It was a tough decision, but in the end, we decided on:
Why? Because we were in BELGIUM. And because they smelled really good. And because everyone else in the street was huddled around eating them. No, really.
I know it’s hard to tell, but take my word for it. They’re eating waffles, every last one of them. I don’t take random pictures of strangers for no reason! Usually.
I’m sure you noticed the variety of toppings one can get on their waffle. On ours, we got chocolate, strawberries, whipped cream, and then extra chocolate (thanks for asking for that, Stef.) They give you your waffle in a little paper tray with the tiniest of tiny forks to try to plow through it with (my first tiny fork broke). Let’s just say that after 3 or 4 Belgian beers, a good portion of the whipped cream and extra chocolate ended up on my arm/hand/face/coat. But after 3 or 4 Belgian beers, I was fine with it.
What else is there to see in Belgium? you ask. Well, there is this giant edifice:
Not the best picture ever, but I assure you it is giant. And atom-shaped. Honestly, I’m still not quite sure what the point of it is except it had cool views from the top. And it was a chance for us to climb some stairs after Brussels inflicted its beers, chocolates, and waffles on us.
Plus, it was right next door to mini Europe: a park filled with the major monuments of every country in the European Union! Just so you know, my life is now complete, and I never have to travel again. I’ll just pull out my mini-Europe photos and be like: Mt. Vesuvius! What a sight! The Berlin wall…AWESOME!
Just kidding, but it was really cool. This post is already overloaded with photos but I’ll give you a few of my favorites.
This is actually something I’ve seen (and toured) in real life. It’s the bull stadium in Sevilla. Stefanie liked the way the crowd looks real. I wondered who allowed them to put this in mini-Europe. “Murder is not culture!” Or something.
Big Ben. Seen this too, but I always wanted to see it again! Now I don’t have to. What’s up with that damn Eiffel Tower getting in the background of every photo?
Can’t remember what this is, I’ll have to flip back through the brochure. But I’m sure it’s cool. And famous. And I saw it up close and personal (in miniature)!
In conclusion, is Brussels a good place to visit? YES. I give it a thumbs up for night/day life, for food, for culture, for weird statues, and sights to see. Also a great place to buy souvenirs for people (chocolate, anyone?)
I give it a thumbs down for warm spring weather.