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Manneken Pis


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BRUSSELS | PART 2

Published by Oat Sitalasai — 4 years ago

We are still here in Belgium for the second part of my stop over in the capital of Brussels, before I headed off to start my the new chapter of my young adulthood in Paris, France. I had shared with you guys my experience thus far in Brussels, starting from my brief arrival at Bruxelles Gare du Midi to the world-famous La Grade Place which is also known as Grote Markt, as well as the best food to get for the money in your traveller's wallet, and some other cool things to see.

This time though, I would like to take you to another focal point here in Brussels. As promised, this is another place that is very much visited by the international community. To avoid disappointments from you, the readers, I must first say that what I am about to share will be viewed as anti-climatic to some. In other words, some of you guys will finish reading this experience post (hopefully read until the very end) and say, wow, that was really disappointing.

BRUSSELS PART 2

Without further delay, let's dive right in. The place that I would like to share with you here in Brussels is The Manneken Pis, or the statue of a little boy, peeing straight into the fountain. Well this is something different isn't it? But believe or not, this little bronze statue draws in a crazy amount of tourists! I won't go into the history of The Manneken Pis simply because there isn't one official account of its origin or why it was born. Some myths have it that once upon a time a man had lost his son during a visit to Brussels. With the help of the local villagers, the boy was found and returned the father, and as a token representing his strong appreciation to the local residents for assisting him find his son, he gave the statue to the villagers as present. Another story has it that the boy that is urinating in front of everyone is portrayed after a real boy who was a spy during one of the conflicts in Brussels, and was like a hero for helping the city avoid disaster. I have no idea as to which story is true, if anything, but this is something that I ''overheard'' from the the tour guide to a Japanese tourist group.

I suppose this is another advice that I could give to travellers to best understand the city : look out for free tours or simply stand next to a tour group so that you could hear what the local guide has to say about each destinations. Other than doing unconsciously in Brussels, my friend and I also did this during our trip to London! Believe me, some of the things you can get from a local tour guide will be so new to you that you won't even be able find it out here in the world wide web.

Regardless of what the real story is, it is not everywhere that you can see such an amusing piece of art, especially in the middle of city, open to everyone in the public to see! This is exactly why people are so drawn into The Manneken Pis. If you actually google research about things to do here in Brussels, you will find that a visit here is essential, along with eating frites (Belgian french fries), The Grand Place and eating Moules Frites (mussels cooked in white wine-based sauce served with french fries). Other than the clear depiction of the little bronze boy urinating for everyone to see, another source of attraction for the people coming to see The Manneken Pis is the fact that the boy is always changing his attire!

BRUSSELS PART 2

In saying this, the boy doesn't physically stop urinating just to change his clothes, but someone else does this for him. Depending on the day, The Manneken Pis will be wearing something different. Just as a rough example, they have been numerous occasions where the little boy has taken up national costumes of various countries. Over the years, the little boy has been seen in costumes as a sailor, a mayor, a judo wrestler and even as a Japanese sushi master. You will never really know what the little boy will look like on the day until you actually visit the place, which is a nice, cute, little twist isn't it?! I surely think so!

BRUSSELS PART 2

Now that you have taken photos of The Manneken Pis, as well as with The Manneken Pis, selfie style, let's move on and grab something to eat, yet again. Eating is a very common theme that I like to discuss and share throughout my experience posts, and this trip in Brussels is no exception. I did promise that I would share with you another "must try food" here in Belgium, which is as you may guess, Belgian Waffles! I mean, when the word waffles come up, many people would think about belgian waffles. I know for a fact that this is at least what people in Osaka, Japan would think of, as there are a few joints selling freshly made belgian waffles in train stations. The aroma from these freshly cooked waffles is literally enough to make you whip out you wallet and join the line of 20 people.

BRUSSELS PART 2

Anyhow, I did join a line here in Brussels for some local waffles. In fact, the place that I got my waffle from was literally opposite the peeing little boy. While I usually don't get food that is made in front of a boy urinating, something tells me that these waffles are safe for human consumption. I can't exactly recall the name of the stall that I bought my waffles from, but you will have zero difficulty to find Belgian waffles around here, especially here at the junction of rue de l'Étuve / Stoofstraat and Rue du Chene / Eikstraat. If for some reason you don't enjoy waffles, you can also head into the Godiva Chocolate Store right here as well for some intense, high-class and luxury chocolates and what not. In fact, if you are looking to get souvenirs that are edible, then getting chocolate from Belgium is not at all a bad idea. The good thing about Godiva and other similar chocolate and sweets shops is that they have very nice boxes that are perfect as gifts. With the quality and reputation of the chocolates, plus the presentation of the box they sit in, the prices are quite premium.

BRUSSELS PART 2

BRUSSELS PART 2

You could select from literally close to 20 versions of the waffles. By this, I am referring to the different toppings that you could possibly get, with everything from having it plain, or adding some sugar or icing sugar on top. If you want to be a bit more touristic, you can get the version with halved strawberries and chantilly whipped cream. This is actually what I should have ordered by my inner soul told me that the wise choice at the time for my Belgian Waffle experience was caramel. I actually didn't enjoy the caramel on my waffle since it was like that liquid caramel that was thin and watery, and sweet from the syrup and not the melted sugar. I love caramel when they're thick, rich and full-bodied, like the ones that you can find dipping your Mexican churros in. So this was quite a bit of a disappointment, but I didn't get myself another one since I had no space left over from the sandwich and the caramel waffle. To conclude my waffle experience, I would strongly recommend that you stay away from caramel sauce and get something else more ''normal'' like the strawberries with whipped cream, nutella or banana with whipped cream. I mean, if you fail to get what you like the first time, the waffles are just under €2. 00, or at least the one that I got was.

BRUSSELS PART 2

BRUSSELS PART 2

We can now then move away from this Manneken Pis and waffle-centred area, and into something else that is very Belgian. There is a store that is dedicated to Tin Tin lovers out there right here in Brussels. For those not familiar with what this in, Tin Tin is a very famous comic cartoon series created and written by Belgian cartoonist by the stage name of Hergé, although his actual legal name is Georges Remi. By the year of 2007, this cartoon series reached a very impressive record of over 200 million copies sold world wide, and translated into over 70 different languages! Tin Tin is a very big deal and another pride for the Belgian people. Although there are Tin Tin stores elsewhere in the world, it would only make sense to visit ''the'' Tin Tin store right here in the place of its origin. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures inside the actual store, since this was towards my way back to the train station to get back to get my luggage. Either way, I have tracked back and do the laborious work for you; the exact address is 13 Rue de la Colline, 1000 Ville de Bruxelles.

BRUSSELS PART 2

And this brings about the end to my afternoon here in the capital city of Belgium, which is also home to the European Union. After my experience of about four to five hours in the city, I realised that the city is very small and could be discovered in one full day if not two. There are many interesting things to see here in Brussels. I particularly enjoyed the really well maintained streets, houses, buildings, and of course, the ever so impressive The Grand Place. Just to sum everything up, here are the main points of interest that I would strongly recommend to anyone planning on visiting Brussels :

- Eat Frites : This is an absolute must, even if you're on a healthy diet regime. The french fries here are different somehow from the those that you may have had before. This is an icon of the city!

BRUSSELS PART 2

- Visit The Grand Place : For obvious reasons, this is the number one spot in the city, and simply put, you will regret not visiting this place if you ever step foot in Brussels!

- Visit The Manneken Pis : This is another one that I would recommend, for the reasons mentioned above!

- Eat Waffles : Back to the food, a good meal needs a good dessert. Do not fall for the same trap of Caramel Waffles like I did!

- Wear Good Shoes : I also mentioned that Brussels is not a big city. With this, the best way to discover the area is to walk around on foot. The roads and streets are fairly easy to navigate through, and the locals are always happy to help a tourist with a smile!

- Make Use of the Lockers : If you happen to be carrying a few items during your trip, I would strongly recommend that you leave your belongings in the rented lockers at the train station. The lockers are safe and secure, and for the price that you pay for them, you get a massive storage space. I really wish that I had taken a picture to show you, but one locker was more than enough for one massive suit case and another big sports bag.

- Enjoy!

The History of the Manneken Pis - The Official Web Page for The Manneken Pis :

http://www.manneken-pis.be/histoire-du-manneken-pis-racontee-par-lui-meme/

The Manneken Pis - City of Brussels :

http://www.brussels.be/artdet.cfm/4328

Godiva Chocolates Europe :

http://www.godivachocolates.eu/en/shop/chocolate-online.htm

The Tin Tin Boutique Store :

https://www.tintinboutique.com/en/index.php?cmsfile=en/index.php

If you like the content of this post, or just want to check out some pictures that I take on my adventure, feel free to like and/or follow me on instagram at oat93, cheers!

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The most famous children in Belgium

Translated by Evie Quinlan — 2 years ago

Original text by Maika Cano Martínez

Introduction

Following the route through Belgium, you cannot miss the most famous child of this country (and its not so well-known female version) which is one of the most highlighted symbols of Belgium, together with the 'Atomium' and the 'Grand Place' (which I have spoken about in other posts). The 'Manneken Pis' can be found very close to the 'Grand Place', in the historical centre of Brussels and it is very well known by the world.

The Manneken Pis statue

The 'Manneken Pis' is a statue that is no more than 50 centimetres high of a naked boy who is doing a wee from high up on a stone pillar. The child is made from bronze and has been there in the capital of Belgium for many centuries. However, the statue which is actually in its original location is not authentic. The original was stolen in the XVII century after numerous robbery attempts due to the fame of the statue. Since then, a replica of the original statue was placed there and it has remained there without being stolen.

The most famous children in Belgium.

During the Brussel bombings of Brussels in 1695, the Grand Place was nearly destroyed but the small statue survived the bombings by the French, and since then there has been an engraving beneath the statue. It says the following: "In petra exaltavit me, et nunc exaltavit caput meum super inimicos meos" (its translation would be "The Lord lifted me on this rock and now I raise my head on my enemies").

Sometimes you will find the statue as how God brought us into the world, naked, and other times, if you are lucky or the tragedy of seeing it wearing one of the outfits that he has in his big wardrobe. And when I say big, it's because he has more than 650 outfits that have been given to him as gifts by presidents that have visited. Most of them are regional but he also has other more casual and funny outfits, like the bullfighter or Elvis Presley. When I went there, I saw him dressed as a cleaner, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not but of course it is original. The following day I saw that they had changed his clothes but they were nothing special, just a yellow sweater. You can visit the wardrobe of the Manneken Pis in the Brussels city museum which you can find in the building known as 'The King house' in the Grand Place.

The most famous children in Belgium.

The most famous children in Belgium.

By the way, just in front of where you can find the fountain with the statue, there is a poster which says that you are prohibited to eat waffles there. I was shocked because of the prohibition. As if they were able to put up a poster and all to ban the eating of waffles.

The most famous children in Belgium.

Legends around the Manneken Pis

There are many legends which come from the child which is why he is famous. The most popular are the following:

  • Most of them revolve around a child being lost and one of the parents asking for help from other neighbours to find them.
  • Another speaks of the son of Godfrey of Lorraine, who was captured by the enemies in the battle of Rausbeke and was put in his cradle in the branch of a tree, but the child jumped from the cradle and went to pee above the enemy troops, who ended up losing the battle.
  • The most widespread is that there was a child who put out a fiery wick by pissing on it and saving the whole city from a fire.
  • The least credible is that a child started peeing in front of the house of a witch who bewitched him and made him into a statue.

And, what I am about to tell you know seems like a myth but it isn't. It turns out that in his old age, the child sometimes pissed wine or beer during the festivities in Brussels. I say that it sounds like a myth because the rumour has spread that he does it but actually nobody has seen it. The truth is that it no longer does, but it used to.

They are certain or they are not myths, I don't think they are. The truth is that either way, this is why the boy is famous since it is the only reason he exists.

The statue of 'Jeanneke Pis'

Jeanneke Pis would be 'the girl that pissed' in one of the Belgian dialects. It is not well known but I think that slowly but surely it will gain some fame. It is considered the female version of the Manneken Pis but it only arrived at the Belgian capital a few decades ago. It was built in 1985 and inaugurated in 1987. They say that it was constructed by hand by an owner of one of the restaurants in the area.

The statue is quite similar to that of the Manneken and of the same height, the only difference is that instead of bronze it is made from limestone and instead of being stood up, she is squatting doing a wee (as girls do) and her face is a lot more fun than the Manneken Pis. It seems that she is doing a trick whilst pissing. The girl is wearing two ponytails in her hair and is between some bars. Some people consider her the sister of the Manneken and others, like me, consider her the girlfriend.

Jeanneke Pis is also naked but she doesn't have a wardrobe like the Manneken Pis. Let us hope that she receives some as gifts soon, I think that it is only a question of time.

Expereience and opinions

If I were to tell you how I got to know Manneken Pis you would not think that it is not possible but I have known his name since I was very little, since in Murcia we have a chain of waffles places that have his name and that meant that they are of good quality (at least the majority of them). Thanks to me liking waffles, when I was a teenager I heard about the Manneken Pis and I focused all of my attention on going there because I wanted to know what it really was. Since then I have always wanted to know the small stone boy and the truth is that I was quite disappointed. I don't know if I was disappointed by the statue or the place where it is. The statue... the truth is that I thought it was a lot bigger and the place where it is on the corner of a normal street between bars. Lots of my friends, like me, froze since we didn't understand how it was so famous. By the end, however, we really liked him, especially when we saw him dressed in mops as a cleaner.

If you walk around Brussels, in particular to the centre you will see the Manneken Pis in all colours, sizes and constructions since lots of shops use him in their shop windows as an attraction to lure people in. One shop had a shop window with loads of Manneken Pis, every one of them of a different colour. Also, not only will you see him on key rings and cups, the traditional souvenirs, but you will also find him as chocolate in most of the bakeries in Brussels. I bought a bag of the Manneken Pis as various types of chocolate as a gift for my family.

The most famous children in Belgium.

On the other hand, the way I met Jeanneke Pis has even more grace. I was in the Delirium bar with some friends and some Asian people from the group were very funny. She was my future best friend from Taiwan (I have told you about her many times) and we were speaking of what we had visited during the day I was asked, "If we have already seen the girlfriend of the Manneken Pis, which in fact is right next to here", and I was thinking "it can not be true". They took me to the place where the girlfriend was, right on the same street as the Delirium, and I was astonished. It was a little girl doing an ass up, super-cute. I was glad to have heard about that because if I found out after leaving Brussels, I would have been so annoyed. To finish the story, we took a photo with the girlfriend and we were all in the position of doing pee, and the result is a very funny picture for my Erasmus memories.

The most famous children in Belgium.

Something that I found out afterwards from a friend who has done Erasmus in Brussels and something that fascinated me which I did not know is that there is also an animal version of the Manneken Pis. It turns out that it is a bronze pissing dog, the Zinneke Pis, which apparently is on the street without fences or a fountain around. After this, I would not be surprised if in the next few years the mother pissing, the father pissing and countless pissing characters throughout the city. If you want to see it, it is exactly halfway between the Rue de Chartreux and the Rue du Vieux-Marché, I will point it out for the next one since I feel that my tour is not complete.

I forgot to tell you that you do not have to pay anything to see these children or the dog (thank goodness, because otherwise, I think people would visit them less) and that there are no visiting hours either.

How to reach the monuments

To get to the Manneken Pis, it is best to take public transport and to visit the Grand Place, which is a few meters away, on the way. In fact, it would be a sin to visit Manneken Pis and not the Grand Place. On the one hand, you can reach it by metro, the nearest stops are "Bourse" and "Gare Centrale" (lines 1 and 5). You can also go by tram, the stop is called "Anneesseus" and the lines that pass by are 3, 4, 31, 32 and 33. Finally, another good option is to go by bus, as there are many lines that pass by the monument as 29, 34, 47, 48, 60, 63 or 65, among many others.

To get to Jeanneke Pis, you can go from the Manneken Pis or from Grand Place, since the female version is the same distance from the Grand Place as the Manneken Pis but in the opposite direction. Specifically, it is in the Impasse de la Fidélité near the famous Rue des Bocheurs, on one of the walls, guarded by bars; in order to not get lost, it is best to ask about the bar Delirium, the busiest in Brussels.

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