27 May 2011

Seeing the Sites - Brussels

I took nearly 200 pictures in just a day in Brussels... So, instead of jam-packing it all in I'll spread it out into three categories: sites, bites, and random things I saw. Got it? Okay, let's get to it. I've traveled through Brussels multiple times but just haven't gotten around to seeing the city. The one time that we had a little bit of time to explore around the Brussels-Midi station, we got really confused. I think that train station just hates me. Even though I'd written down how to get to Brussels-Nord to meet Riina, I couldn't figure it out and wound up twenty minutes late. Nevermind that all signs were in the two languages I speak (plus Flemish). But I got where I needed to be... 

So, on your left we have La Place des Martyrs, where my Christmas gifts were delivered to me. (And to think Santa told me he had a hard time finding me in Tartu!)  

La Place des Martyrs  
La Grand-Place in Brussels is said to be one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe and it definitely didn't disappoint. It's bordered by the gorgeous Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), a museum, guild houses, cafés, restaurants, and chocolate shops.

Hotêl de Ville de Bruxelles
Town Hall of Brussels

Hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles

A museum in La Grand-Place 
Guild houses in the Grote Markt (Flemish for Grand-Place) 
If you touch this, it makes your wish come true! Won't tell you what mine was...  
If the Grand-Place is the number one tourist attraction in Brussels, Mannekin Pis is a close second. The name means "little man pee" in Flemish and is a statuette of a little boy peeing into a fountain. He often gets dressed up but was nude when I saw him. There are several legends behind it's importance, one of them is that in the 14th century when Brussels was under siege, their attackers planned to place explosives at the city walls. After uncovering their plan through a little spying, a little boy named Julianske peed on the burning fuse and thus saved the city. Funny, huh? Well, if you've seen the Mona Lisa than you'd understand the let down when you see how tiny he is! 
Mannekin Pis
Mannekin Pis
Cathedral of Saints Michel and Gudule
Built in 1381, Porte de Hal is one of the medieval city gates that guarded the besieged Brussels. It used to have a drawbridge and a moat! When I was walking around it, these guys sitting on canons shouted "Hey pretty girl, why don't you take our picture?" I kept walking but sassed back saying "Oh really? I should take your picture?" Then they switched their approach and started calling out to me in French... Let's just say I was catcalled at all day long, in both English and French... It really caught me off guard. 
Porte de Hal 

Porte de Hal 
Next up: Bites


  1. Love your pictures! So bright and clear ! I had so much fun in Brussels - looks like you did too!