Monday, 1 May 2017

Last Orders, please !

Monday 24th April 2017

This is our last full day here and we have a couple of things that we still want to see; but, as has been the case for most days the plan at the start of the day is one of those very fluid arrangements between the planning and the reality.

Today was not too different.

A walk into the Grand Market (square), but we tried a different route – Diane wanted to see a couple of things on the way. We didn’t leave particularly early by our standards, but there were people still on their way to work as we were on our way.

First stop was the Mannekin Pis – and for once it was a literal translation – in fact no translation was really necessary – as explained to us later on in the morning, Mannekin means “small boy” and Pis means “piss”.

The statue - Mannekin Pis - and it is a fountain seems to crop everywhere - not sure I would fancy the sweet under the
fountain outlet

There are numerous stories associated with the possible history behind it but in general relates to a small boy pissing onto either the enemy French soldiers or their gunpowder to help force a victory for the “Belgian” people.

Belgium is a source of many well known comics,
and it is a huge thing. Around Brussels there are around
20 murals illustrating some of the most popular...

...and some relate to changing social attitudes; this one is
located... the heart of the gay village. Pleased to see the acceptance of
so many social changes in Belgium.

Onto the square and Diane had a thought – maybe we could tag along on one of the free walking tours before we needed to catch the bus to complete part of yesterdays trip.
So we did and the tour guide was a really nice guy who was able to tell a good story or two at the right times and was really quite knowledgeable about many of the things associated with Brussels and the surrounding areas.
Lovely undercover shopping arcade - and there were only
three chocolatiers in here

He managed to point out some of the better places to eat and some to avoid; showed us some areas that we had not seen yet; and many of the buildings and their history – we felt much more informed about it all.
It was very much like a Diane tour but she got to tag along and hear it all for the first time as well.

Unfortunately we had to finish a bit early – at the mid-tour break point but didn’t forget to give him a decent tip in appreciation of his effort and knowledge and presentation. The information came in handy later on.

We found the Hop On / Hop Off bus for a repeat of the second trip from the previous day and once again got off at the European Parliament stop – this time there were people working in the information office but sadly the parliament building was not open until 2 pm – so probably no-one working inside there for the morning.

We decided that it probably didn’t matter and hopped on again to the bus and then off again near the Royal Palace to pay a visit to the Belvue Museum.
These pictures do not show the whole story for the Belvue.
It was enlightening about the history of Belgium after 1830

Make this a stop on your visit to Brussels - it is worth a trip
back again

This museum was excellent for us – we managed to get a more complete picture of the history of Belgium from 1828 (just prior to the revolution) until the present day; it also gave a very good run down of important events in Belgium during that time; a view of the change/progress of economic and cultural changes that have occurred.
We really felt that everything today was the culmination of all of the little bits and pieces all coming together and as a result we have a far greater understanding of the country than we did last Friday when we first arrived.

Locals will show you the best pubs; this one was in the tourist area but very
reasonable - and one of the guys behind the bar - was Irish

After all of this we were a bit in need of some sustenance and the earlier acquired knowledge from the tour guide was now of some use – the frites were a lot better; the hot chocolate (for Diane) and the beer (for me) in the pub was quite good (but when aren’t they in this city); the chocolate that Diane bought was very nice and then the waffles were a bit too indulgent – but they were quite tasty (yummy!).

Waffles, Brussels - a bit decadent, but they were nice

The Frites guy - Diane liked his sales spiel so much that she had to get a picture

We thought is best to evade any further indulgences and head back to the hotel for a bit of a rest and put the aching legs up – we definitely needed it.

That pretty much has ended our lovely trip to Brussels but we may just have one more final part to go tomorrow morning – I won’t know until then.

Walking distance so far: 34.1 km (previous) + 7.8 km (Monday) = 41.9 km (Total)

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