I had looked up a free walking tour for Brussels and after a leisurely morning we walked slowly to the Grand Place. We met up with our tour guide from Walkative and he turned out to be not a local. Something I really dislike when I book a free walking tour. And my instinct turned out to be correct, we left his tour already on the Grand Place and started walking around on our own. In the end this was always planned as a girls weekend, to have fun and go out for drinks.
But upon leaving the square we saw another walking tour and recognized a family that had formerly been on our tour. So we figured that this is a fun tour and it was. Quentin from Ambassadors Tours was our man!
Quentin was really entertaining and had many funny stories in his repertoire, but he also didn’t shy away from King Leopold II. Millions were murdered in his name in Kongo. Definitely a chapter I need to read up about. But we also heard that if you touch the arm of this sleeping maiden, you will find eternal beauty.
We passed a mural of Tintin, a famous Belgian figure.
And saw Mannekin pis, the tiny Belgian boy statue about its origins many stories rank. Quentin shared two different anecdotes with us, none of which I can remember. The statue was dressed in black, not sure for which occasion.
The next day, when we passed he wore purple to remind us about the World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day.
We passed through the Royal Gallery, which are three connected shopping arcades. The roof is just amazing. Here you can find really great shops, including the Chocolatier Mary. We went back later to get some for home.
We finished with the tour and passed the Mont des Arts garden on our way to get some fries.
After a short stop at Le Cirio out day was basically done. There was no more sightseeing, and honestly the next day started like the last one ended. We got coffee at a square with a statue of Jacques Brel. It was fun watching tourists lining up to get a picture with it until my friend outed herself as a fan as well.
We strolled slowly through Brussels, passing another Tintin mural. It was very fitting for pride month, but it looks as if it has been there since a while.
Eventually we arrived on Place Sainte-Catherine. The church Sainte-Cathrine keeps itself rather in the background and the place is busy with locals and tourists alike. A real crowd pleaser and good place to stay for some people watching.
The church inside looks remarkably simple and really light. It had a very quiet atmosphere after all the hustling and bustling outside.
To the left side of church Sainte-Catherine stretches another area with lots of restaurants and this refreshing looking pool.
Brussels has, besides the Meneken Pis, also a Jeanneke Pis. Because of course, girls pee as well. She was a bit harder to find, but eventually we came across her. Dressing her is a bit harder, especially taking into account what she is doing. So the pride flag behind her and a hat was all.
Last but not least we paid a visit to the Church of Our Lady of Victories at the Sablon. Since it was right next to our hotel, we couldn’t miss it.
I took a close-up of the pulpit above. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a scantily clad female holding up something in a church. It really made quite an impression on me. The woman and the eagle look up while Mary looks down. No sure what exactly the artist had in mind here.
Across the street lies the Square of Petit Sablon, which a beautiful fenced in garden with a statue of the Counts Egmont and Hoorn, who protested against the introduction of the inquisition in the Netherlands in 1568 and were both subsequently beheaded.
On the way back from dinner the sun was just setting and the sky had a fantastic pink and orange color. ‘The View’, the giant Ferris wheel of Brussels, had already closed for the day, but served as excellent focus point in the picture. Brussels really has so many unknown corners that you can always come back for another visit. Yours, Pollybert