Monday 12th Sept. Leaving London from Stansted airport
at 6.40 am, arriving in Brussels
at 8.50 am local time, that means 1h10 min in the air. Not having booked a room before arrival, we just popped in different hotels within the city center and managed to get a triple room for 80 euroes. We were lucky ,apparently central hotels need 1 month prior booking even in low season. After leaving our few belongings in the room, we took off to discover the city.
I had done some research at home and had a peek at the travelblog pages dedicated to Brussels to see what we could visit. The first thing on the agenda was La Grand Place/Grote Markt/Grand Place
which is absolutely amazing.It is the central market square surrounded by Gothic and Baroque 17th centuries breath-taking buildings with magnificent statues and sculptures. Very close to the market there is the famous Manneken Pis
, a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a little boy urinating into the fountain's basin.
Very curious about this little boy peeing's significance, I came across this piece of info on Wikipedia:
"Manneken Pis (Brabantian for little man wee), is a Brussels landmark. It is
a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. Similar statues can be found in the Belgian cities of Geraardsbergen,Hasselt, Gent and in the North French village of Broxeele , a town with the same etymology as Brussels.
There are several legends behind this statue, but the most famous is the one about Duke Godfrey II of Leuven. In 1142, the troops of this two-year-old lord were battling against the troops of the Berthouts, the lords of Grimbergen, in Ransbeke (now Neder-over-Heembeek ). The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung it in a tree, to encourage them. From there, he urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle.
Another legend goes like this: In the 14th century, Brussels was under siege by a foreign power. The city had held their ground for quite some time. The attackers had thought of a plan to place explosive charges at the city walls. A little boy named Juliaanske from Brussels happened to be spying on them as they were preparing. He urinated on the burning fuse and thus saved the city."
Next we went to see
catching the train to Heysel station. Due to the fact that Brussels is very small, population barely over 1 million, the city is not as crowded as one would expect. There are only 3 tube lines, if I'm not mistaken and sussed them out correctly(A1, A2 and B) and you can easily get from one part of the city to the other- Brussels Midi-Central-Norte
. It is basically impossible to get lost!
Info about ATOMIUM
: "This monument from 1958 has become the Eiffel Tower of Brussels. The Atomium is the visual representation of the concept of an "atom". It symbolizes an elementary iron crystal with its 9 atoms and magnified 150 billion times. It honored the metal and iron industry and the belief in the atomic power. The architect was André WATERKEYN. It took 18 months to conceive and another 18 months to construct. The monument is coated with aluminum, weighs 2.400 tons and is 102 meters high. Each sphere has a diameter of 18 meters.
We had supper in a cosy little place and enjoyed some traditional Mussels
served with fries, exquisite taste and nor pricey at all!
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