Sunday, 6 May 2012


The Manneken-Pis, clothed.

We went to Brussels last weekend and there was dog poo on the streets. I will forever remember this about Brussels because I stepped in the freshest poo. It made me sad.

We went on the Eurostar and stayed near the European Parliament. There are two parks near it: Leopold Park and Park Cinquantenaire. Brussels is a smallish city that looked full of parks, so we decided to wander around Brussels and walk in their parks.

We saw these strange duck things in Leopold Park:

These seem to be Egyptian Geese. They pair for life.

Parc Cinquantenaire:

The parks in Brussels tend to have large paths and less grass/bushes/floral displays than parks in London. The Parc Cinquantenaire has fancy grand arches flanked by columnar arcade-things in a U shape. We went to the museum which was housed in a giant, beautiful building in the park, it has an extensive collection of objects from native cultures in the Americas and best of all a giant Moai head from Easter Island.

We went to a cathedral in the Grand Place with a giant organ.

The organ keyboard is in the middle - there are steps leading up to the keyboard area, and in the picture above someone was sitting in the middle and playing (possibly singing), and someone was standing next to him (possibly conducting, or singing, or both).

It was a huge huge organ.

A map of Brussels suggested that the best and biggest park was the Bois de la Cambre in the south - we also love lush foresty parks and a 'bois' seemed more likely to fit this than little elegant urban parks with paths and statues. The Bois de la Cambre links to the Forêt de Soignes - the remains of an ancient charcoal forest.


It is a long, long walk from the end of the Bois de la Cambre to central Brussels. All you really have to do is walk down a really long road - the Avenue Louise.

We walked down the Avenue Louise and tried to get back to the hotel via public transportation. This turned out to be quite difficult, particularly as we were meant to have the exact change for a tram ticket but didn't have any way to get change as it seemed all shops in Brussels are closed at 6pm on a Saturday, so we walked back.

Near the Avenue Louise there's a bit where you can see out over the city, and take a lift down to the lower street level.

Of course, one of the main highlights of Brussels is the chocolate, and we were in town the week before Easter.

I liked these little chocolates from Mary Chocolatier the best.

We had some macaroons from Wittamer as well, my favourites were the passionfruit and yuzu macaroons.

One of the great things in Brussels is the fresh orange juice in the supermarket. Also the existence of Chocomel (as Cecemel), also present in Holland.

This orange juice. You go to Carrefour and they have one of those whirly orange squeezing juice machines. You know the type. They spin around, slowly, like a ferris wheel for oranges.

You pick up an empty bottle (small, medium or large), put it under the spout, press a lever, and pay at the till. I wish we had this fresh orange juice in supermarkets in London.

We also had waffles! With powdered sugar, a boatload of cream and chocolate sauce.

They're lighter than regular waffles, it's true, they're different in Belgium. They're better. Belgium seems to excel at desserts, and cute graffiti.


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