Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Guess Where I Have Been

5 X Manneken Pis Yes, right answer, Brussels. We went there for the weekend, and it was quite an experience. We did manage to locate the real little boy statue on a corner as well.

Manneken Pis The symbol of Brussels (?), Manneken Pis, is a bit like the Mona Lisa painting in that it is much smaller in real life than many people think. These days they dress him up in different outfits, and we were lucky to see a change-over, or at least the first half of it.

Manneken Pis dressed

We walked a lot, since that is the easiest way of getting round the centre of this rather small capital city (approx. 1 million). But many locals used their cars, and HOW they used them! Many streets were very narrow and junctions were often complex. Getting this insight into Brussels traffic I understand much better why the motorways we use to get to France on a regular basis are so hazardous sometimes.

It was far easier to count the drivers who used their seat belts than those who did not. Many were using their mobile phones while driving with one hand, and this hand often let go of the steering wheel to pip the horn at the shortest of delays. Patience was at a premium. It was like the Wild West!

Sunday, on the other hand, was a car-free day and all the streets changed character dramatically; now you had to look out for cyclists who swarmed like locusts. Boys, inevitably, made the streets somewhat unsafe, but mostly it was families with small children who enjoyed the freedom. In crowded places they had to dismount and try to push their bikes through pedestrians.

Family w bikes

Apart from the famous boy letting water, we saw for instance the lavish and exuberant Grand Place where most of the buildings had some connection with the old guilds. It was completely over the top, as if they had tried to outdo each other.

Grand Place 1 Grand Place 2 Grand Place 3 Grand Place 4

Most of the time we just strolled down the streets and my camera was in action nearly all the time. It was very colourful.

Boy n mural Bike duo Red trio Red hair

Tintin, other cartoons and murals were everywhere …

Cartoon 1 House mural Old rockers

… but my favourite image of that day is the one of a little girl who was out strolling with her older sister, who was trying out her roller blades. There was only time to get one shot, and here it is.

Little girl


Zuzana said...

I have never been to Brussels, but I love seeing it through your photographs.;)

swenglishexpat said...

Zuzana - Glad to be able to help! ;-)