Another medical trip to Brussels today. Little do we know it will be one of our last ones.
Today we want to see Manneke Pis. I park my car in the car park close to the Naamse Poort. You wouldn’t say but Brussels has hills and valleys. Our way to the Grand Place is down hill all the way, passing the Koningsplein – where someone important seems to be visiting the new hotel by the looks of the present security, passing the beautiful Art Nouveau house of the Music Instrument Museum – where a teacher is trying to handle an extremely stubborn child that doesn’t want to go in, remembering the spot where I slipped on the icy pavement one winter coming from work a few years back and while falling in slow motion thinking “there is nothing you can do now, relax your muscles otherwise it will hurt”, taking a moment to absorb a very nice view over the Kunstbergtuinen with a bit further the tower of the Town Hall and in the distance the Baseliek van Koekelberg – we will see that one up close when we will be heading towards the hospital later today. Don’t know what to think about the two lady beggers with toddlers in their arms strategically placed on both stairs downwards… can’t help but thinking this is part of organized crime, the children are way too calm for their age and I have read that a lot of them are drugged to stay calm during the day.
And it starts to rain… what a surprise in autumn in Belgium. I really don’t like to use my camera in the rain since I got quite some damage on my camera and lens in Scotland. I need to get over this… Good that my friend insisted on taking the umbrella with us.
Moving on past the Magdalenakerk where we can’t take pictures as there is a service going. And finally we end up in the Koninklijke Sint Hubertusgallerijen. I love this passage. Christmas has clearly landed here already. We (I guess the rest of the Belgians with children) have an unwritten rule that you DON’T put up any Christmas decoration or trees before Sinterklaas has passed. As per our tradition Sinterklaas is a good man who brings presents to our children on the night of the 5th of December. He actually doesn’t do that, but his helpers – de Zwarte Pieten – climb through the chimneys to drop the presents. This year – after decades and decades of tradition – there is a lot of debate on whether the fact that the Zwarte Pieten are painted black is discriminating…
At the end of the passage we see a little restaurant – Le Marmiton. Daily special Bouillabaise at 7,5 €. A lot of grey and white haired people inside. This must be where a lot of locals come… so will we.
Something has changed at the Rue des Bouchers/ Beenhouwerstraat… where are all the tables in the street? Apparently no longer allowed due to fire hazard. We are looking at a group of what seem to be Chinese tourists who exit a Chinese restaurant… Why would you do that? You should be eating ‘Mosselen met Friet’! Anyhow, the restaurants are trying to get us into their restaurants as well… “Maybe on your next holiday” we hear them say… hihi, we are locals but that doesn’t show apparently… “Sure thing” we yell back in English…
And then, from the Petit Rue des Bouchers, we see it… the tower of the Town Hall… nice. Why are they already putting up the stalls for Christmas???? It is blocking the view for some nice pictures! grrr. I need to find Manneke Pis, where was it again? Wild guess and good guess, following the tourists and the tourist stores. He is very tiny and dressed today as a university student.
I must say I am pleasantly surprised by the stores selling all of our Belgian goodies, Brussels and Liège waffles, chocolate, beer… Close to the Grand Place we found a store selling chocolate tools. I never saw that before, makes a nice gift.
We are running out of time and need to hurry up now to be in time for my check up. And d*mn, the way back is all the way up. #%!
I got some great news today. The medication cocktail is working and biochemically speaking I am healthy again. I didn’t expect this and don’t know what to say. I will stay skeptical for the coming year or so, as last time I heard I was cured it lasted for 3,5 months only. Hence, next trip only in 4 months and probably the last one of this kind.