Hey you, King! Did you get that girl pregnant?

Today we had a driving/walking tour of Brussels with Dominique, Adeline and Jean-Go’s Dad. Getting there was…interesting. Adeline printed off directions for me and I’m sure I followed them as well I could, but what should have taken 30-40m took an hour and a bit. We ended up in the wrong direction. I blame the almost non-existent street/road signs. And when I say non-existent I mean hardly visible. They could be there, I don’t know, but when you’re driving in my experience it’s almost impossible to find some of them. I should have thoroughly looked through the directions last night, but I glanced at them and though it would be ok. Did I mention we’ve misplaced Adeline’s GPS? Well, if I didn’t, now you know. We finally arrived in one piece. Being here is really forcing me to things I wouldn’t normally do, like navigate, but I guess that’s sort of the point isn’t it? It was cool because Dominique had walkie-talkies and (my Mom was with him) he was describing everything to us as we drove past it.

We went past the NATO buildings, the Japanese towers, the Royal Palace, the Royal Park, the Atomium, the very famous greenhouses filled with plants from the Congo, upper Brussels, lower Brussels, and a bit in all three rings. There is a ‘ring’ (the motorway, or, highway) that circles the entire city. Then there is another one that goes around the city, but is in the city so it’s a bit smaller. Then there is a smaller one that circles the centre of the city and is sort of shaped like a heart. We drove passed the main library, the basilica that was built after…WW2 I think, or WW1, and so many other things. My favourite, although small, was the random section of old stone wall with a tower. It used to be a part of the old wall that surrounded the city, now it’s sort of attached to other buildings it looked like, but it’s just a section of this old wall with its tower. It was odd and awesome at the same time. I’ll have to look at my pictures to remember everything.

When we were walking we went to the Grand Place. This is the open square surrounded by buildings (one of which is the City Hall) that every year (or every other) in the middle of August, I think, they fill (well almost) with flowers. And it’s a different design every time. It’s quite the thing, we saw a lot of postcards. On top of three of these buildings are statues. There is one with three women and the one on the far right is pregnant. The women on the far left asks the King who is near her if he is the one who impregnated her. He points to a man across the square and says it was him. This man points to another side of the square and said no, it’s Santa Claus (the statue of which is being repaired….for 2 years now). I guess Santa is surrounded by three kids. It’s very neat. Dominique, of course, told us that story.

Another story he told us was of the Manneken Pis (or little pee man in Flemish…I got that from this link). This is the very famous bronze statue (not the original because it was stolen) of the little boy who is just standing there naked and peeing. Apparently the residents of the Sacred Isle (the Grand Place and surrounding area is, or used to be, an island I guess) are the ones who sort of ‘own’ this and can change the tube and make him pee beer as well as make him pee out into the crowd. Also, dignitaries and the like who are on official visits to Brussels often bring a miniature version of their national costume (they even have an Elvis one) for the statue.

The story behind the statue is just that; a story. A legend. They don’t actually know the true reason, but I like the story Dominique told us. I’m going to get some of it wrong because I couldn’t hear him all that well, but here goes: Once upon a time (that’s my little addition) the city of Brussels lay under siege. This went on for a couple of years. The soldiers outside the city were hoping that moral was very low with the people and that they would just surrender. Well, one day, a little boy came out to the edge of the city. He stood facing the soldiers and started peeing. The general thought that if a little boy could do that in the face of the enemy, the moral of the people must be very high indeed. He thought that they might be there another 5 years with the siege and since he had to pay all the soldiers he thought that was much too expensive and not worth it. So they left and the boy inadvertently saved the city. Like I said, I like that version.

After that we had to get going. Dominique had a choir rehearsal and we needed to know how to get back to the parking lot and then on to a FNAC to buy a new GPS. We were successful with both so we stopped in the mall to eat lunch. If we end up finding Adeline’s GPS, I’ll just keep this new one and pay my Dad back eventually. I can download a Canada map for it for when I get home. Lisa also found a cute little black dress that she might where to our cousins wedding this month.

Even with the GPS getting out of the city was a challenge, but we made it. I helped Bastien put some stickers in a book after picking the boys up and when Adeline got home she went outside with the boys. I stayed outside with Sylvain while Bastien, Adeline, and my Mom went to buy some eggs for the Caesar salad dressing my Mom was going to make. He kept trying to put grass and flowers in him mouth. After that I gave him a bath. My does he love the water. I was pretty wet by the time we finished because he just sat there, happy as anything, splashing the water. And he splashed hard! He had so much fun and was so happy…until I took him out, had to dry him off, put a diaper on, and get him in his pj’s. Once he ate he was happy again. And he fell asleep within a few minutes of being put to bed. I helped Bastien when his shower (he wanted that instead of a bath) and got him in his pj’s. He was trying to laugh really loud and then he was trying to do the ‘Dr. Evil’ laugh (we do that a lot with him). He was using his index finger and when I tried to show him to use him pinky he used his thumb. Then I got his pinky out, but his index finger wouldn’t stay down so he had the two of them out. It was too cute. ^_^

And now it’s my turn to go to bed. It’s only 9:30! So early. Awesome. 😀


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