Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Brussels a.k.a. Bruxelles

If I talk about the no. of my short trips abroad, I think Brussels will come on top. But as it happens in most of the cases, I don’t have many photographs to show you. Since the trips are very short (sometimes not even a week), they are always very tight scheduled and hence, most of the times I don’t carry my camera.

Not to mention, this post is mostly textual. Of course, you’ll get to see a few pictures shot by me on different occasions.

Brussels, the capital of Belgium and of the European Union, is the second international city in the world if we measure the number of headquarters of international organizations it has. About one third of its inhabitants are foreigners, mostly Islamic immigrants, business people and diplomats working for the many multinational institutions that are located here. The city is officially bilingual (French and Dutch), but almost everybody understands and speaks English. And, for your information, Belgian French is different from regular French just like Canadian French is different from it. :)

Brussels is very well connected to other parts of Europe by air, bus, high speed trains including Eurostar train via the Channel Tunnel.

Name:- The name Brussels comes from the old Dutch Brucsella or Broekzele, which means "marsh (bruc or broek) home (sella or zele)" or "home consisting of one room, in the marsh”.
Do you know besides being capital of Belgium, what Brussels (Bruxelles in French) is famous for ?

OK, here I’ll speak about only those places that I have seen.

First, it has historic market square known as Grand Place. It is said to be the most beautiful in the world. Not my views... I liked St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) of Venice more. About that, some other time. The square here is dominated by the magnificent 15th century Town Hall, with its hundreds of little statues. The most beautiful part of the Town Hall, the elegant tower, and surrounding buildings with their golden inlays. During season, the Grand Place is seen under a carpet of beautiful lavenders.
Every Sunday, the place is adorned by a picturesque flower market and during winters the central place is converted into an ice skating rink. It also is a venue for many concerts & events throughout the year.

Brussels is also famous for it's cuisine (this includes the most divine chocolates), has cafes and pubs that never close, and excellent restaurants.

Brussels has the highest concentration of restaurants in the world and a few minutes walk from the Grand Place is one street called “Petite Rue des Bouchers” (small road of butchers). It is famous for the fact that every house in this street is a restaurant. The street is closed for traffic and this allows the restaurants to exhibit some of their products especially sea-food and fish.
Belgium is also famous for best beer in the world. You can see a wide range of beer, including different fruit flavoured, which you may not have even heard of it. And mind you, they tend to be very strong (between 8 and 11.5 percent of alcohol !!).

Have you ever heard of a pee boy ? Well, before I came here for the first time, I had assumed Brussels is famous only for that !! It is a small bronze statuette of Manneken-Pis, a young boy peeing on the passersby. It is actually a fountain but it looks amusing when you stand under it to get clicked and it pees on you ! A perfect representative of the irreverent Belgian humour.

This is also situated a few steps away from the Grand-Place. The statuette is so popular that it is considered an emblem of the city. Traditionally, the Manneken-Pis is dressed for special events, and he has over 750 sets of clothes. I too have a pee boy made of the same metal, nicely standing in the showcase of our living room but luckily it doesn’t pee. ;)


Now come Japanese tower and Chinese garden.
Japanese Tower & Chinese pavilion are built to order for King Leopold II.

The Chinese Pavilion itself says a lot more about Europe in the 1930s than it does about China but contains some superb Chinese porcelain. The woodwork inside the pavilion is made by specialists from Shanghai.


The Japanese Tower is perhaps most striking from the outside but also contains some interesting decorative items. I have not gone inside this.


As always, click the photos to have an enlarged view and for more photos visit my web album.

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23 comments:

Praveen G K said...

Hey Cuckoo,

Total touring spree!! Great!! Never been to Belgium, unfortunately!!!

Request: Why don't you enable complete feed for both your blogs? That would be great if you can do so!!! It would give me the leeway of posting comments after work!!!!

Pijush said...

So Mum gal has become truely global :-) and myself global to local. Nice post Cuckoo and love the humar touch and shots also.
Today I have taken net in my kol flat, so will be frequent in blogosphere as I was.

Cuckoo said...

Praveen,
Thank you. I have been to many places but unfortunately not able to post about them because I am always on the run !! LOL

I have already given full feed to my other blog and will do for this one too.

Pijush,
Thank you. I was always global. ;)

Glad that you've taken net connection at home. So, I might see you more often. :-)

BTW, your profile picture is changed.

Cuckoo said...

To All,

Are you able to see all the six pictures posted here ? I can not. I can see only two of them which I uploaded thru blogger. Rest four were uploaded thru Picasa. Any clue ?

Priyank said...

Hey I always liked the pee boy :p
2nd international city, eh... which is the first one??

PS: No, I cant see picasa pics.

Ash said...

Interesting write-up and images.
Though I can only view 2 pics.

And yes, I'd love to be your guide when you come to Kerala :) Just let me know when you are coming!

K M F said...

intersting

Pijush said...

Woww.. thats nice.. I forgot, Cuckoo can fly anywhere. LOL
Yes I changed my profile pic, but your evergreen HumTum look is much more interesting. Keep smiling

mathew said...

Beligum so close by my place..should try goin over there in summer...
:-)

KP said...

nice post...we`ll definately put in the list to visit......:)

Cuckoo said...

Priyank,
Pee boy is a major attraction in Brussels. No one misses him.

You won’t believe, I always thought New York to be no. 2 but for capital of EC, Brussels has scored over it. Geneva is at the top.

Ash,
I have corrected the pictures now. There was some problem if one uploads from Web Picasa.
And thank you for being my guide. :)

KMF,
Thank you.

Cuckoo said...

Pijush,
LOL.. Just remember, Cuckoo is a bird. :P

Oh thank you for HumTum. That’s my favourite as well.

Mathew,
Yes, you are trying to cover far off places leaving Belgium. Heard of a saying in Hindi “Bagal mein chhora, nagar mein dhindhora” ?

KP,
Welcome abroad !! And yes, worth a visit.

Keep coming.

niki yokota said...

woow nice pics!!
i think that is chinese thoo.
or maybe trying to look japanese(??)

Cuckoo said...

Nikichan,
Lolll... yes, that is Chinese and NOT trying to look Japanese though I distinguish them by their mustaches. :P

backpakker said...

makes me want to go there right away..the Pee boy is very cute ..I saw a similar fountain during my recent trip to Europe.. pls post more..could see all the 6 pics

GMG said...

Cuckoo, don't know how could I miss your Brussels travelogue... Loved the way you caught the spirit of the city. Brussels is probably the foreign town where I've been more often; maybe close to some eighty times or more, but most of the stays didn’t last more than two or three nights and one or two day meetings… Not the best way to discover a city… ;))

Saltwater Blues said...

I like that line at the bottom : Everywhere I go I find a poet has already been there before me :)

Cheers!
SwB

Mridula said...

Wish you a very happy 2008 Cuckoo!

Keshi said...

Interesting!

Keshi.

david santos said...

Good posting ande nice photos, Cuckoo.
Have a good weekend

Saltwater Blues said...

hey I was just in CH for 2 months(Oct & Nov). Was based in Zuerich but did manage to visit a whole lot of places. Ones I couldnt go to are Basel, St. Gallen, Lugano, Davos and St Moritz. Place I liked best was Fribourg in the Bernese region.

Did lots of posts on Ch actually ... though I didnt bother to label/categorize them.

Cheers!

sid said...

Was passing by and found this place pretty nice. If I was to take liberty of completing your blog title I would say "votre monde c'est vraiment magnifique" (your world is really beautiful!)

Anuj said...

Crisp writing....love your articles.