Manneken Pis

Some awesome dude in front of the Atomium

Flew in to Brussels from Athens and touched down just before midday. Figured out the trains after a bit and ended up at the station right outside of our hotel. Being the hotel master extraordinaire that I am, I managed to book a triple room at the 4 star Crown Plaza Brussels for only 25 euros each a night. Although im sure it rated 4 stars back when it was built, I dont think it is now, ive stayed in nicer 2 and 3 star places in other cities this trip.

I didnt really do any research on Brussels before I left so we just got on the train and headed for central station and hoped we would stumble upon things. Walked around for a bit and seemed to get closer to the ‘happening’ part of the city. Walked down one of the galleries of shops and BOOM I spot the Tintin shop. I knew there was a shop here dedicated to it but didnt have a clue where so this was awesome. Ive always been a fan of Tintin but never been able to buy much of the stuff in Australia so this was my chance. Checked out the shop quickly and got an idea for what to buy the following day.

Walked around some more and found the main Grand Place which is very cool. Just a huge open courtyard with various buildings around it like the Town Hall, all hundreds of years old. At night, and even day to a lesser extent, people just sit down on the ground and have small picnics and drinks etc. We were all hungry so decided to hit up ‘Quality Burger Restaurant’, these seem to be everywhere in Europe and are actually quite good. Headed back to hotel for the night for some z’s.

Woke up and headed back to central station to get on one of the ‘hop on hop off’ bus tours of the city. We were the first customers of the day so we got mad discounts yo, senior citizens price. Sat on that and just followed it around the various landmarks until we came to the Atomium. This is a huge structure 102m high consisting of 9 steel balls joined together to look like a molecule model thingo. Has an elevator that goes to the top sphere that has a view over the city. Hopped back on the bus and went back to the Grand Place.

Next on the list was to track down the Manneken Pis boy. The famous little boy who is constantly pissing a fountain of water. On special occasions he gets dressed up in different outfits, and has now racked up about 800 of them. On these occasions apparently he pisses beer instead of water as well. Quite a funny little monument really and of course I bought a little replica. Then headed back to the Tintin shop to buy my stuff. Walked out with 13 of the 24 books in soft cover. Would have bought them all but unfortunately they dont stock them all in English so ill have to hunt them down later from somewhere else. Also picked up a few little figurines.

Came out later in the night to get some food and as we were walking across the Grand Place it all went dark and music started to play. Turns out they put on an epic 10 minute light show every night. This thing was incredible, the whole Town Hall was lit up with constantly changing strobes depending on the music, and the whole thing ended with ‘The Final Countdown’. The whole place was packed with people watching, was awesome. Capped off the night by going to Chocopolis and buying a box of 45 chocolates.

Day two in Brussels was taken up by a dance music festival called The Qontinent. Had to catch a train to Gent, and then a bus out to what was seriously farm land. This thing was in the middle of nowhereville, which kind of makes sense because you could hear the beats pretty far away. Must have taken us nearly 3 hours to get there I think as we *just* missed the bus and had to wait an hour. But it was freakin awesome, the top DJs did wicked sets and it was fireworks and laserz galore at night. Plus the eye candy was off the charts.

Id definitely like to come back to Brussels at some stage. It has way way more history than I ever imagined and its hard to appreciate that in one day of sightseeing. Plus I need to get the other Tintins.