(From our trip in November 2019)
We woke up early but since we didn’t need to rush out the door today we moved into go slow mode and it felt great. We have certainly been busy since we started this trip so it was delicious to ease into the day.
Once we were ready we headed to Grand Place for our Walking Tour. You know I was having major “non excitement” about Brussels so far if you read yesterdays update. I was hoping today’s tour was going to show me the wonders that Brussels had to offer and win me over. Hopes are of course for losers because mine were soon dashed.
We wait around for the beginning of our tour and someone from the company announces that ::drumroll please:: their tour guide hasn’t shown up for the 10am tour and we are welcome to wait around and do the 11.30am tour. Okay I’m going to straight talk right now. I’m not surprised this happened. I’m not saying everything about Brussels is shit but so far, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it’s effffing Brussels!!! Since this was one of those free walking tours where you tip at the end and I could see there were only a handful of people waiting for the tour I call bullshit on the “guide didn’t show up” excuse. I think they decided it wasn’t worth running it for so few people and thought they would kick us into the next tour which annoys me so much. When you are travelling and have only small chunks of time in cities you can’t afford for people to stuff you around for hours like this. I wasn’t happy but you get what you pay for I guess and that my friends is a good idea for your next tattoo.
At this point I think I should’ve stayed home today…..I’m getting mood poisioning
Anyway husband sheepishly asks what did I want to do as he kind of ducks for cover. The man knows how Lisa feels about her plans not going ahead perfectly. I said no way are we waiting for that next tour, I was too grumpy. I figured we would just go for a wander around and try to warm up to this city on our own. And if in an hour we thought we wanted to do the tour we could come back to the meeting point. #iwasnevercomingbackforthetour #barstards
First up was a good wander around Grand Place. The buildings really are very impressive and the architecture is incredible. Now if we could just get rid of the construction and vans parked everywhere it would be ‘beautiful’ but alas “construction”…..everywhere.
One thing that did tick my boxes was that the Christmas tree was up ready to be decorated. A glorious looking real tree just waiting for all the pretties. I was sad I wasn’t going to see it all decorated but given it was still November I was lucky to see this much. Can you imagine how long it must take to decorate this beauty? Even though I’m like the Fairy Princess of all things Christmas decorating, not even I am game to give this gorgeous girl a go. She truly is a magnificent tree!
We decide to explore beyond Grand place. I really love the cobblestone streets. I’m always a sucker for a cobblestone (except for when I’m schlepping my suitcase along but even then I still kinda like them). Cobblestones are the reason I don’t wear heels (lies, all lies) but they are so purrrttyyyy. The work it must’ve taken to lay them back in the day is impressive.
I was really keen to go here for a drink, this place is quite a famous watering hole but alas we were there too early. I love the bikes attached to the outside of the building.
This gorgeous indoor shopping street was divine
We saw this cute Harry Potter store, I love the open door with the mail at the side
Lots of cute chocolate and sweets shops close to Grand Place with stunning decorations on the outside. They really make it hard not to want to go inside haha.
Next we thought we would visit one of Brussels Top 5 tourist attractions. Given husband hadn’t done any research on Brussels it was not a surprise when we wandered up to the Mannekin Pis statue and he was literally like What.The.Actual???
The statue’s name, quite literally, means “peeing little man,” or “peeing boy.”
Below is how he looked the day we saw him
I’m not kidding, this is literally one of the top things to see in Brussels. I mean…..I barely have words. Lies, I have plenty of words and none of them are kind. The first word that comes to mind is WHY or maybe WTF is more inline with my thoughts???? Why would you have a statue of a little boy peeing as one of the big drawcards to your city? And I’m not joking, it’s a major attraction. Normally I thought we frowned upon our kids whipping out their little pee pee for a pee pee in public but nooooo apparently here they build a damn statue and celebrate the shit out of it. This kid has got over 1000 themed outfits as well – all of which include a little hole in his fly so he can keep on urinating for the crowds.
There are many stories about how this statue came about. One story says that the boy saved the city of Brussels. Legend has it that Brussels was surrounded by enemies who did a fake move and pretended to back off, but they were actually hiding and had lit gunpowder somewhere. A little boy apparently saw the burning fuse and quickly peed on it “as you do”. Out of gratitude, the city made a statue in his likeness. One of the more “off with the fairies” stories involves a witch catching a boy peeing on her front door. Mad AF, she cursed him so he would pee for eternity. Not gonna lie, I feel like the damn witch cursed me with the same problem but do you see me peeing in public? ~Well not since I was a drunk teenager anway~
There is also a peeing girl called Jeanneke Pis and she clearly has forgotten the rule all little girls get taught about keeping your legs crossed to stay out of trouble, not copping a squat in front of others or my personal favourite “keep your flaps under taps”. Oh for the love of “peeing in public” what is going on here. P.S. where the hell are the girls outfits? #damnthepatriarchy
Rounding out the trifecta of bizarreness is Zinneke Pis. Now this one I can get around. I think we all see this kind of behaviour in public so it fits. Why you need a statue of it when on every street corner you would stumble across the same scene I don’t know but there you have it – Dog peeing.
I feel like all of the locals are peeking out of their windows laughing at all of the stupid tourists crowding around these statues oohing and aahing like it’s some big amazing attraction.
Brussels is literally taking the (or ‘a’) piss. Well played Brussels, well played!
We did see some beautiful street art I have to admit. I had hoped that on the tour we would be herded past some great spots so I hadn’t done any indepth research on where to go to find more. I’m kicking myself now because the few pieces we did see were extraordinary and the artists are so talented.
Finally!!! Something about Brussels I can get around. I haven’t really ever had waffles, unless you count the cardboard type one shaped like a Mickey head that I attempted to eat at Disneyland once. So I was coming in with no previous experience or understanding of the waffle world. They look so hard and cardboardy so I’ve never been swept off my feet with desire to shove my face into one. Plus I’m not really a dessert girl – I know it’s hard to believe with this curvaceous figure.
But…….Belgian waffles are famous so it had to be done. I was kicking myself that I didn’t research “the best place for waffles in Brussels” because you know I like to be the best but we chose a modern looking place in the city and I’m very very pleased to say they knocked it out of the park. I’m converted into a waffle lover now. Husband got vanilla with chocolate sauce and cream and I got the apple and cinnamon with caramel sauce and cream. Mine literally tasted like apple pie but with light fluffy waffle. We scoffed those waffles down so quick and they were so good.
During our wanderings we came across some more…..you guessed it…..construction and rubbish. Not feeling it.
By now we were feeling a food coma coming on so we headed back to our apartment for a nap.
When we woke up it was afternoon and time for some drinkie poos so we headed to a place called Moerder Lambic that was farrrrr tooooo trendy and modern for the likes of us but we told the man bun wearing hipsters to go F themselves, we were allowed to drink here too haha. We got some beers and ordered a meat and cheese platter to munch on. The platter looked amazing but we had zero idea what we were eating haha. It was like rolling the dice, are we eating cow intenstines, lamb liver or are we just chowing down on some chorizo. We’ll never know haha. Some of the meats made me a little too scared so I left them to husband. Hey, if he dies he dies ok.
Then it was off to experience an awesome looking pub called La Machine which was across from our apartment. It was a cool Steam Punk themed place and I had been eyeing it off since we arrived so I was pretty keen to get inside. Of course it would’ve been way cooler to rock up here at 11.30pm to begin our evening but we is old, we is sleepy, we is old. So 3pm in the afternoon it was and I have no regrets. The detail in this place blew.my.mind!!! It must’ve cost a fortune to fit out and that was money damn well spent in my opinion. Beers are better drunk in a steam punk bar – they just are.
I wanted to stay here for the rest of my life but apparently husband was sleepy again so we went and had another nap. This napping business is a theme throughout the trip and I’m not sorry about it one bit.
Dinner at Fin de Siecle
I love researching places to eat that seem to be authentic to the area and filled with locals and Fin de Siecle was high on my list of musts. Flemish stew was the dish I needed to try. It’s a big deal in Belgium and I don’t mind a little well cooked stew action so when I read reviews for this place and it was right around the corner from our apartment I was sold. They also serve “stoemp” which is kind of like mashed spuds but with bacon and other things mixed through so again…..we will be having that too thank you very much.
I loved the rustic decor and the chipped floor tiles and don’t even get me started on the amazing woodwork bar and the walls, oh the walls!!! We got to sit in the window because clearly they knew we would be a great drawcard for passersby wanting to be as awesome as us and come in to eat. Either that or they didn’t want us mixing with the actual locals haha.
The whole menu was in french so I was super happy that the waiter was bloody awesome and everything a waiter should be. He was happy we were going to go with the flemish stew and the sausages and stoemp. Both dishes were fantastic, absolutely delicious and so reasonably priced. The reviews for this place are beyond and they deserve every bit of praise. If you are in Brussels, go here!!! I just drooled thinking about this meal again. (the garnish leaves a little to be desired though folks dontcha think lol)
After dinner we decided to enjoy a leisurely wander around Grand Place at night. All lit up it looks fairly gorgeous I have to say. Such beautiful buildings and I was very impressed with how beautifully lit they were and how impressive it all looked in the dark. It hid alot of the construction niggles I’ve been bitching about.
This is the street our apartment is on – it is even more charming at night. I love this area.
So it looks like Brussels redeemed itself today with the food. The city isn’t giving me the love vibes but the food is sure a winner!
After dinner you guessed it we needed more sleep so after crawling up those damn stairs one last time we went nigh nighs.
Highlight – Flemish Stew and Waffles
Lowlights – cancelled tour and construction
Weather Temps – High 5 Low -2
Is it just me that didn’t fall in love with Brussels? Have you been there, what did you think?