My Life as a Traveler

A Quick Tour of Brussels

It’s Saturday, and we had big plans for today. George’s meetings are over, so we were either going to take a train to the coast and do some sightseeing, or stay in town and go on some discovery walks through unfamiliar, but interesting, neighborhoods.

However, we all seem to be tired. George has a ton of writing to do and Morgan needs to do some of the schoolwork that he brought. I have to catch up on my writing and talk preparation. So George stayed in the room and worked. Morgan and I found a room adjacent to the lounge and practiced hapkido and did some school and writing.

Not too exciting. However, let me show you some of the fun places in Brussels where we went this week.

  • Everyone pees. There is the most famous statuette of the little boy peeing (Manneken Pis), the less well known statue Jeanneke Pis (little girl peeing), dog peeing (real and statue), and the cleverly named French Fry store, Manneken Frites. There is a church in the main part of town that has a pissoir (open air urinal) facing the north wall. It’s the only place I’ve ever seen where you can pee on a church.
  • The Galeries Saint-Hubert and more. Sort of the 18th century version of the shopping mall, these rows of shops with the gorgeous glass ceilings are fun to walk through and shop in. Usually, though, the stores are more expensive.
  • Licking the windows along Antoine Dansaert street. Leche de Vitrines (translated literally as licking the windows) is the French term for window shopping. Belgium is known across Europe for its designers, and many of the boutiques can be found on this street. Most are super expensive (people really pay $900 for a pair of shoes?), but are fun to look in. This trip I discovered a sample outlet which had fun, locally-designed jackets, sweaters, dresses, etc, for $40. I found a great tailored jacket here. I just love to window shop here.
  • The flower market in Grand Place. One of the greatest squares in Europe has no grand entrance. The only way to find it is through one of the many alleys that lead into it from the medieval jumble of streets that surround it. I always walk to the center and stand in awe of the amazing architecture and history. This is the place to be for any city festival.
  • The comic-book murals on the walls. There’s actually a great walk that connects over 50 murals just in the downtown area. It’s always a surprise to turn the corner and find pirates, or elephants, or just cartoon kids climbing up the wall.
  • The smell of waffles in every subway station. Belgian waffles are the best and they’re all over!

We go to Brussels about once a year and have done so since Morgan was little. It used to be the only places we would visit were the awesome indoor waterpark, the natural history museum, and bowling. After he learned to read, we hit the art galleries and the comic book museum. This time he’s finally old enough to tour the EU and sit through and enjoy a classical concert.  Kind of fun to track the growth of a child through travel, I think!

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