Through my eye

A sometimes caustic view of things.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


From one Gare to another

We left Caen and Normandy heading to Brussels by way of Paris on July 6 2007, a Friday. So far, we have been staying in Ibis hotels, except for the youth hostel in Derry. On our first trip together to Brussels we stayed at the Ibis Grand Place, close to the famous square of that name. This time we were at an Ibis near the Bourse.

In our travel, we discovered that sometimes a taxi is better than trying to fit our two rolling cases on narrow public transport. Dragging them between Gare St. Lazare and Gare du Nord by RERin Paris, then around Gare Midi to a tram in Brussels that let us off ten minutes walk from the hotel, we wised up. When we left, we took a cab.

But Brussels is another place that one could come to love. Great food and drink everywhere. Good museums like the Maison du Roi, where all the history of the city is kept, plus all the costume sent from around the world for the Manniekin Pis to wear. Of course, we passed by the little boy again as we looked for the gender-balancing Jannekin Pis statue, supposedly in an alley off the Rue de Boucher. We finally found it by asking a waiter at one of the many mussels restaurants that line the street. Coming from the Galleria shopping street it is the second alley on the right, not the little cross street that goes to another road.

Where the little boy is often clothed due to his standing position, the little girl is squatting and I really don’t see how they could put clothes on her. You really can’t put pictures of the statue up anywhere on the internet these days because the statue is anatomically correct and you’d probably violate some child protection laws. We did not find it but there is also a dog pis statue somewhere in Brussels.

We had the chance to meet another member of the Jurgita web site, the entertainer, Rima Fauzi, who was helping to host a Brunei booth at a ASEAN open house at the Indonesian embassy. We ate a couple of sweets from that booth and lunch from the Laotian Booth.

All in all, we seemed to spend most of our time eating and drinking, including fresh-made waffles with chocolate and whipped cream and fruit. It seemed too soon to move on. There were things we still hadn’t seen or done, so we’ll have to come back someday.

But before we left Belgium, we had to do a Rick Steves tourist must and visit Bruges. As usual it rained like hell while we were there. In a way it was good, because we took a horse and carriage ride around the historic center under the protection of a large umbrella. We took in a cathedral with a Madonna and child by Michelangelo, it also had other good art. And we managed to find a couple of preserved windmills on the edge of town. Then, it was back to Brussels, our tourist must done.

The next stop would be the Arnhem area in the Netherlands.



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