Brussels - Brussels and Aachen


Saturday 19th January 2008

First day in Brussels.

Brussels and Aachen

John's Pictures
Maison de Stuff

08:19:12 Chie on the Eurostar reading her Japanese guidebook for Benelux.08:28:09 Me in a state of mild anticipation of what exactly is going to come for breakfast.08:45:25 Our breakfasts have arrived...

08:45:33 ...the vegetarian breakfast. Doesn't look hugely appetising, but this actually wasn't too bad.09:35:17 I was enjoying the stream of those "Welcome to XYZ" messages you get on your phone when you go abroad.10:00:12 So here we are in Brussels Midi.

10:07:18 Possibly the world's largest vending machine - this was just half of it, it was like an entire supermarket in there. Chie and I were naturally enthralled by it.10:32:47 The back of a seat on the tram heading into the centre. It took me a while to work out what these marks were - and then I realised it was the top bit of a cigarette lighter.10:38:12 There's the tram that we took into the centre of Brussels. Cute, isn't it?

10:46:01 Outside the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, where we were going on a tour.12:59:49 Later on, in the main market square in the heart of Brussels.13:00:06 There's Chie on the cobbles.

13:24:24 Fotaine de Jeanneke-Pis - the girl equivalent of the famously little boy statue.13:24:35 ...and there she is. Small statues of boys / girls / pets performing their necessary bodily functions seem to be all the rage in Brussels.13:31:36 Aha - frites! We spotted this place and just had to have some.

13:31:42 This, ladies and gentlemen, is "Samurai sauce". I am terrified to think what evil things are in it, but it was actually very nice.13:40:12 This little architectural feature caught my eye.13:43:36 A few more photos around the market square...

13:43:56 the time Chie looked in her guide book and told me what each of these buildings were...13:44:04 ...however naturally I immediately forgot.13:44:44 I do vaguely remember these ones though - they're the various guild houses of Brussels. The emblems on top give you a clue as to what guild they represent.

13:44:55 More pictures in the square - now with me in.13:45:01 ...and more...13:45:04 ...and more.

13:52:08 The other famous "sight" in Brussels - this is of course Manneken Pis. Apparently Japan has a "sandai gakari" - a list of the three most disappointing sights in the world - and this is one of them... 13:52:15 ...I don't really get why people find this so disappointing - it's a statue of a small boy having a wee - I mean, were your expectations really that high?14:10:08 After the excitement of Manneken Pis we were more than ready for some Belgian beer, so popped into this very nice little bar with that express purpose in mind. This kriek was particularly good.

14:10:30 Here's me drinking - rather oddly - a Gordon's Scotch beer. I don't think it is actualy Scottish, but is seemingly a Belgian interpretation of a Scottish style of ale. What a bizarre concept!14:10:36 More beery shots. Oh and look - there's a Games Workshop in the background!14:36:28 My second beer - Rodenbach - my mind wasn't entirely made up on this one.

14:36:41 There it is again.14:59:04 Outside the bar, some of the walls nearby had some very nice Tintin-esque wall murals.14:59:23 ...another one here.

15:47:52 A bit later on we stopped off for a very spot of afternoon tea (although I controversially had cafe - not trusting the tea in these foreign parts) at a place called Wittamer. Chie quite enjoyed the cake apparently.16:15:08 The outside of Wittamer (or technically the shop underneath it).16:42:09 Back to the market place once more...

16:42:16 ....which looks rather nice when lit up at night.16:51:01 We were interested by the Japanese name - Rue Yoko Tsuno - this street had.16:51:13 was a very pleasant sort of arcade.

16:51:19 Rather nicely lit up at night.19:11:56 Yet another urination themed statue - this time a dog.19:12:14 There he is.

19:49:24 Dinner! But first beer! I thoroughly enjoyed this large tankard of Bel Pils - quite reminiscent of Japanese beer. Marvellous.19:55:11 There was a rather adorable dog wandering around the restaurant during our meal.19:55:32 My starter - a goats cheese salad.

19:55:55 Chie's starter - something with endives.19:56:00 My starter again, apparently.19:56:08 The placemats.

20:15:59 My main course - tortelloni with truffle - and I could actually taste the truffle.20:16:07 Chie's main course - prawn croquettes I think.21:01:54 The outside of the restaurant.

21:05:18 St. Catherine's Cathedral (?).21:12:18 A random alleyway we walked past on the way back to our hotel.