My rented room is located on the outer road ring of the city. Armed with my map, I head out to see what I can see 🙂
This epitomizes Brussels. The new mashed up next to the old…in this case, right around it too! It seems to be a busy city. Lots of cars, and a lot fewer bikes than Amsterdam & Copenhagen.
The streets signs are doubled, one in French one in Flemish ( or Dutch, apparently they like to distinguish themselves from the Neatherlands). This generally makes the signs large and easy to see, which is good, cuz I still got lost several times. You know that game where you get blindfolded and spun around? Yeah, I think the travellimg did that to me, because my sense of direction is faltering!
I soon happen upon this cathedral, which is helpful for finding yourself on a map that has multiple named streets (see French/Flemish above). The cathedral had its bells pealing and people snapping pictures. It is set with a lovely park that included a moose sculpture (???) I do not believe that moose are indigenous fauna
I found a little sidewalk cafe and enjoyed a petit déjeuner, which included coffee, orange juice (from a can), ham, cheese, croissant and pan chocolat ( a croissant filled with chocolate). About the coffee… I was warned. The Belgian coffee is very very very strong, bitter, so they only give you little cups which is good!
I set back out to see what I could find, again getting turned around somehow. Fortunately the weather is nice so the walk is pleasant. I find the streets narrowing, the buildings are old and full of character and I can see spires. All good signs when you are looking for the old part of a town.
I turn a corner and enter the “Grand Place” . It is over the top architecture, with statuary and gilding and throngs of people.! Apparently it is a festival day (as are many of the weekends in Brussels in the summer) and this day appears to be celebrating Mexico! A little surreal to be in Europe and here the Mexican hat dance song!
I decide I might as well go look for the famous little statue of the peeing boy.
Along the eay I found this. Yes it does say what you think it says. David, you sorry you missed out on this part of the trip?? 😉
There is also a store called 250 Beers.
But on with my quest for the boy with the active bladder!
More distractions! I took this picture and was thinking I never saw a “Danish Tavern” in Copenhagen, but then it occurred to me that they were all Danish Taverns….would be kind of redundant.
Yes that is him! Apparently some lady dresses him up for special occasions. Today he is wearing a leopard costume for the Ethnic Folk Festival . Hmmmm. There were a lot of people about, eating a lot of take away (read fast food) waffles in the tiny corner this is located on. Maybe I will come back again?
Now to figure out where to go to next. I decide to head back to the square for lunch
I found it, actually by accident! But before this I found a lovely loo which had fish tank walls and sparkly lights on the ceiling (my pictures don't do it justice, and you get strange looks when you take pictures in bathrooms!)
So I queued in line for a chicken sausage on a bun with hot mustard and a beer for 5€!. I found a seat and enjoyed the people, the music and the sun. Some people had on costumes of sorts, some people just dress weird!
A picture of some of the Guild Houses In the square. Very ornate !
More walking brought me to here. An enormous multi level plaza, with a 'Big Horse' statue (see Ditte, I didn't forget!). It is pretty from up on the steps, but down n the pathways there is garbage everywhere, which is sad.
Up some more steps and passing some interesting buildings finds you here
Look another Horse Statue and a big palace. This is the Palais Royal or Koninkluk Paleis. Which houses a museum I may visit later this week.
The crosswalks are paved with white marble to create the crossing lines, nice touch!
It is a big round about, and with the cars and the people and the busses and people stopping to photograph it is quite busy!
Around the big square you come to the entrance to the famous Parc de Bruxelles / Park van Brussels
One of the entrances is topped with this charming statue of a little cherub astride what appears to be a dead fawn (I am going to pretend that the fawn is exhausted after giving the little fella rides cavorting thru the park, so he is just resting – makes me think of a Monty Python sketch)
The park is full of trees and the paths are all crushed gravel. There are benches and statuary everywhere. But it seems a little unkept, with bits of trash here and there and none of the fountains working. The best was the art installations
I was trying to figure out why there where all these cabbages, when it finally dawned on me that they are Brussels Sprouts! All decorated in various ways. The one here is supposed to look like a hot air balloon !
There are also mussels and 'frites' statues (French fries).
Well that was enough for one day. Found a market bought a baguette, some cheese and salami and a can of Stella beer and headed back to my room.
Adieau! Goedenacht !