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Mannekens and Mussels in Brussels

So I have spent the last few days in Brussels and I must say that I am enjoying the city. There is a nice historical center called the Grand Place. There are two museums that we went to in this area – the chocolate museum and the beer museum. The beer museum was fun and the guy that worked there told me that I looked like Justine Henin (Belgian tennis great) which I frankly don’t see at all. Both museums are wonderful for one reason: samples.

Grand Place

I thought the Grand Place was even prettier at night time:

Grand Place at Night

And it would not be Brussels without paying a visit to the Manneken Pis. This guy is one cute little bugger. I imagined him being much bigger than he actually turned out to be.

Naked Manneken Pis

We returned to pay him a visit again today and also to see if he was dressed (which he was). He has a very large wardrobe that changes frequently and is adapted to holidays and to the country of visiting foreign dignitaries.

Put Some Clothes On!

The down side is some really tacky merchandise. I found this both amusing and appalling:

Bottle Opener?

Other merchandise that I found charming was the Tintin store. The Metro near my aunt and uncle’s house is decorated with Tintin drawings:

Tintin Metro

As far as the food update: my aunt and uncle took me to a wonderful restaurant – Vincent. There we had mussels cooked in a traditional Belgian style in a broth with onions and celery. It was delicious and the quantity was huge (and it came with fries, which is much classier here than in the States). The portion sizes in Belgium are closer to American size so I was shocked when the mussels arrived. I was even more shocked after I ate all of them (there were probably upwards of 35 mussels).

Sea food display

Let’s play an old SAT game. Crepes are to Paris as ____ is to Brussels. Can you guess? Well the answer is waffles. The waffles here are delicious. And the last fun food fact that I will mention, that the nice man at the beer museum told us, is that Belgium has upwards of 700 different kinds of beer. Not bad. Not bad at all.

We also visited the Museum of Musical Instruments and the Horta House (which is a beautiful art nouveau mansion). Both of these museums were great and I would recommend them. And this was a nice jardin we passed:

Petit Jardin

I’m heading back to Paris tomorrow and plenty of papers await me and homework. A huge thanks to my aunt and uncle. They were terrific hosts and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. And this is what happens when you talk with the bar tender at the beer museum (he lets you take a photo behind the bar):

Beer

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