Sunday, December 20, 2015

Brussels, Belgium: Waffles, Chocolate, and Peeing Statues

When we last left our heroes they were stuck in friggin Dublin airport for 8 hours because Aer Lingus hates fun and doesn't know how schedules work.

Lingus gave us one last kick to the jollies before we were allowed to leave.

If you'd like an idea of how hellish this was, watch Tom Hanks' The Terminal 5 times.

Landing in Brussels was uneventful and the airport was also normal. We dumped our stuff at the hotel and got marching. Yes our feet hurt and we were tired and so forth, but the airport madness had already eaten a great deal of our Brussels time. Onward!

Coolest. Foodtruck. Evar!

We had a destination in the old part of town but sort of meandered our way over and let the fun things happen.

We passed by the Mon des Arts clock right before it began to chime 5 o'clock. The little figure that popped out afterwards in the five position is Charles V.

Brussels was very decked out for Christmas, with plenty of interesting and animated lights hanging every which way, and lots of little tents selling food and all sorts of wares. We completely forgot about our original destination and just let the river of people, sights, and sounds take us where it would.

An especially fancy covered mall didn't have much trouble luring us in with especially intricate Christmas decorations and lots of stores windows to smoosh our faces against. The number of chocolate shops around here is notable. Many of the candies on sale here were ornate enough to be worn as jewelry.

These looked kind of like marshmallow squares.

Fortune pulled us down another winding little street full of restaurants all serving the unofficial national dish of Belgium: moules frites, or mussels and fries. The original location of Chez Léon, which is now an international chain, was on our list so we popped in for a bite.

There's my moules and theres my frites. And my beer.

The Leon mussel man and the Jelly Belly man need to settle this once and for all.

After a lovely meal we got serious about our objective: Grand Place-Grote Markt.

Well the kind of seriousness that allows for one more stop into a chocolate shop.

Finally we made it to the Grand Place. It's really the town square, and it's dominated by Brussels town hall. It is a Gothic building from the Middle Ages.

I thought it was interesting that the awesomest building in town wasn't a church but a civic building.

Google worked it's magic on one of my pictures. I think it looks pretty good.

They had a nativity with live sheep. Humorously they were very separated, I assume because the sheep would eat the clothes off and do other unspeakable things to Jesus' family.

Next, and probably most "unmissible" on our list was the Manneken Pis, the statue of the little boy peeing into a fountain.

As we got closer it was clear we were on the right track by the number of Mannekens both for sale and advertising other things. There were also a large amount of little shops selling what Wikitravel is calling "gaufre de Liège-Luikse wafel" or Belgian waffle with caramelized sugar.

Leonidas was in our book as a go to place, plus it had little shops everywhere so we popped in.

Not a bread line, a waffle line.

The trick is that they are advertised as being only 1 euro, but the toppings are extra. And what sort of monster doesn't want the toppings?

The statue was very tiny in person. And it was behind a fence. I guess there have been a few thefts over the years. Manneken Pis means "Little man Pee" so... story checks out.

Did I make a GIF of him peeing? Yes, yes I did.

We opted for the half chocolate half white chocolate situation.

Uh... I hadn't had much sleep?

It had been lightly drizzling for hours. No one really seemed to care.

By this point we were very tired from our 3 hours of sleep in two days situation, and we retired back to the hotel.

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