Monday, May 10, 2010

Brussels, Belgium

The last day of our trip we passed through Brussels, Belgium, which was only a little bit out of the way on the way home. Thanks to Heather Powers, who lived there, for giving us our own "Brussels-in-a-Day" itinerary. We didn't have to do hardly any think-work.


We were going to do this tourist site last of the day, but ended up seeing it on our way into town and HAD to stop by. It's a huge sculpture and I think 5 of those balls you can go up into and see the view. No thank you. :) This was built during the 1958 World Fair and it was quite impressive. It was pretty cold that day so we didn't stay long...even though we really wanted to go on the cool Carousel and see the Miniature Europe Replica. We decided to just head on our way to see the rest of the city.

Grand Place
Pretty much the main touristy part of Brussels is all contained to this big Square and a few surrounding areas. I read somewhere that years ago they demolished most of the city to rebuild it, except for this Main Square called the Grand Platz, or Grand Place.

Can you see the family in this picture? They're kind of small down at the right hand side. haha.

But, unlike Amsterdam, this is the kind of European city I enjoy. I just don't know how to explain the difference. Maybe you can tell through the pictures the difference.

So, these are the pictures of the Grand Place, the main square with buildings surrounding it.

After we walked around and took a few pictures, we walked down one of the side streets that leads from the Main Square. We went in search of Brussels' most famous landmark...the "Manneken Pis". Yup, it's basically a pissing statue. A little boy actually. And most of their souvenirs are made in replica to this tiny 18 inch statue.

Can you see it back there? I'll put another picture of what it looks like without clothes on, which is how it's usually displayed. I guess they dress it up during different times of the year. When we saw him, he was Dracula.

There are a few theories as to why this mannequin was made: one of them was something about a little boy peeing on a firecracker that was meant to blow up the city, thereby saving the city, and another theory was about the sculpture's son who was lost. When they found him this is what the kid was doing. No one knows for sure. Whatever the reason, it was pretty darn random, but my morbid sense of humor kind-of found it funny.

Touristy Things
Other touristy things we did while there...

1. Got scared (or pretended to be) by the real-life statue. This one was supposedly of Van Gogh. I didn't see it, but okay. I always forget that these guys pressure you into paying them AFTER you take a picture with them. I pulled out 1.30 euro and told him I didn't have any more. So there! I hate being swindled.

2. Waffles, waffles, waffles! Who would go to Belgium and not get REAL Belgium Waffles! Get them ANY way you want them! They were so freakin amazing, I'm not lying. Now I need someone to teach me how to make them. They have this like coating of carmelized sugar on them, and then you can put whatever topping on them that you want. See for yourself! You just buy them at little street stands that are about every other shop down every street.

Spencer's a picky eater, but he LOVED them...

We sat on the street eating them and it wasn't until afterward that we saw a little faded paper sign near one of the stands that said "We like to keep our streets clean. Please do not eat in front of waffle stands." Whoops. Well, where ELSE were we supposed to eat them. Oh, and at this point we met two Americans who were stranded there because of the Icelandic Volcano. They were probably the 5th and 6th person who had been stranded in another country and decided to tour Europe while stuck there.

3. Belgian Chocolates-If I look kind of nervous it's cuz I was! I was trying to snap a picture before the ladies behind the counter got mad. But then right afterward they asked if I wanted them to take a picture WITH me. They're so used to tourists. And of course we each picked out a couple to eat. They were pretty amazing. Can you see the big chocolate statues up on the top left of the Manneken Pis?

4. French Fries-These really were pretty amazing french fries, which is something I heard from so many people that we HAD to try their french fries with Andalouse Sauce. The Sauce reminded me a little of In-N-Out "Secret Sauce" with a little more kick to it.

As we were leaving the city, we hit really bad traffic and I was trying to take pictures of a church we were passing. Mr. Rapper Dude (He told me his rapper name, but I can't remember) posed in one of my pictures. Then, we totally struck up a conversation about what he was doing over in Belgium and not in L.A. like his hat said. He was quite comical.

The Royal Palace

We had great time in Belgium. There were a few things we didn't get to do, but it was a nice, short trip. Goodbye Belgium. Til next time! We'll be back, but maybe this time to Brugge.


stacy said...

jeff used to travel to belgium and while i hated having him gone i loved the choclates and i LOVED the waffles...LOVED THEM!!!!! he would buy the ones that were prepackaged though, much better for travel. love the sugary goodness.

you guys are really getting some great education out there aren't you. that is so awesomw for your kids.

Randi said...

You have some great pictures of this city! I also love the french fries. They have them in Germany and Holland, but they eat them with Mayo. That sounds nasty, I just had ketchup with mine. I am totally jealous of all of your travels. You guys are so lucky that you have this opportunity!

amber buhrley said...

You look good! And I really want to know what the rapper guy said his reason for not being in LA!