Thursday, April 24, 2003

Brussels Day 1

This is the beginning of my last trip before returning home. Since my Eurostar to Brussels departs at noon, I had the morning to run some errands. After putting my suitcase in the storage, saying goodbye to my housemate, I headed off to Waterloo station for one last time. The train ride to Brussels was quite short compared with my recent trip to Scotland, as it was only three hours long. Had a bit to drink on the train (they were serving, I am not going to decline that), and arrived at the Brussel-Midi station near 4:30pm.

Task 1 : Find a place to stay. Yes, once again, yours truly did not arrange for a place to stay. Brussels, I thought, shouldn't be a big tourist spot in Europe and thus, shouldn't give me too much trouble. I was wrong. A trip to the Tourist Information Centre was all I needed to secure one night's stay.

After unloading my backpack, I embarked on my quest to find the peeing kid statue. Tracing my way back from the hotel, I wandered into the Grand Place - a huge square surrounded by beautifully built 'guild halls'. These guild halls were (and some are still) owned by merchants that traded on the square, and this is where their offices are. Some of which have been converted into museums, other still remains a place of business. The square is filled with people, especially at 6pm. Many street-artists are asking tourists to get their pictures drawn, others are selling flowers. It was very dynamic and yet, the square felt so grand.

Following the signs from Grand Place, after twirling around many streets (who designed the streets in Europe!?), I found the peeing kid statue. Manekin Pis, one of the most giggled-at sight in Brussels. It is a sculpture of a little boy relieving himself into a pool of water. Legend has it that this statue is to commemorate a little boy who saved the king by defusing the bomb, you know, doing what he's doing perpetually now. Although there is no historical evidence that it did happen, it is a nice story to tell people. The store near Manekin Pis has a 'Evlis' Manekin Pis in the window, twirling on a platform. It was quite a funny sight.

Further along I discovered yet another internet cafe (and hence I'm posting this), and several other shops and restaurants. Being in Belgium, the first thing I had to eat was - WAFFLES! Fresh off the street, I ordered one and bit into it.. mmmmm.. it was SO good. I can never have another waffle back home. Belgium Waffles at home just cannot compare! :)

The rest of the night is rather uneventful, as I returned to the hotel early to ready myself for one full day of excursion tomorrow!

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