Manneken Pis reputedly attracts more cameras than a Hollywood premiere. So what does this little fella have that Brangelina don’t? Well a wardrobe of around 800 suits apparently. Whilst most people will stop for a photo, I wonder how many will make it to the 2nd floor of the Museum of the City of Brussels to check out his wardrobe?
On the second floor of the museum are a hundred statues presenting a selection of suits from around the world, some of them are quite incredible, although a little difficult to photograph through the display glass. There are also pull out drawers of further outfits.
The suits or costumes are gifts from embassies, tourist offices, sportsmen and others who wish to honour him just for being him, the first one was a gift from the Elector of Bavaria in 1698.
Though with all those clothes to wear, you’ll still normally find him naked, hand on his prized family jewels, ah, relieving himself into the fountain below. He’s been kidnapped and smashed to pieces and leaves people divided as to whether he belongs or not, but he’s still there. For now.
There are other interesting things in the Museum and it’s well worth a look. I was particularly in awe of these stunning porcelain tea sets, which whilst not my thing, I thought were incredibly beautiful in design and not as flouncy as I would normally associate with a tea set.
Of course, as I mentioned before, everyone who visits Brussels knows about Manneken Piss, but perhaps not so many know about Jeanneke Pis. She exists in a little dead end alleyway some streets behind the Museum of the City of Brussels. Erected in 1987, she was built ‘in honour of loyalty’. It is believed that if you throw a coin into the bowl of the fountain, your wish will be granted. There’s nowhere near as many people visiting Jeanneke as Manneken, I’m not sure why – he just seems to be the hero in town.
For the rest of the day I decide that the sightseeing bus is the way to go – my ankle is annoying me and as much as I’m in love with the Grand Place, I do also want to see some more of Brussels. Settling into my seat on the bus, a young French girl in front of me asks me a question, which for obvious reasons I do not understand. ‘English?’ I ask her. She shakes her head, but proceeds to put her thumb and forefinger across her nose and snort like an elephant, which I take to mean ‘do you have a tissue?’ I do and pass the packet to her. She takes one, blows her nose and then hands it to her boyfriend. He also blows his nose before handing it back to her. Yep, she blows again, into the same tissue. I gotta laugh cause surely it would have been easy to ask for two tissues?
The bus trundles through the streets of Brussels. The bus is absolutely packed with holiday makers (school holidays in Europe I believe), so I don’t want to chance getting of and having to wait for another bus, which kind of suits me fine cause I’m happy to take it all in and observe the streets and sights.
The Atomium is one such sight. Another common thing to see in Brussels, the Atomium was constructed in 1958 for the Brussels’s World Fair. It was meant to symbolise “the democratic will to maintain peace among all the nations, faith in progress, both technical and scientific and, finally, an optimistic vision of the future of a modern, new, super-technological world for a better life for mankind”, somehow. Well, it definitely is nice and shiny and the tourists love it.
Here’s some of the street scenes from the ride:
There were also some interesting art works on the buildings:
Having enough of the bus, I hop off at the starting point and decide to walk back to the hotel. In the streets surrounding the old town, I stop to watch some skateboarders practising their tricks, applause and whistles all round if they make their jumps, disappointment clear when they don’t.
I pop into a local shop and buy a selection of Belgian fruit beers – cherry, banana and apple, and with my newly acquired Manneken Pis bottle opener (sometimes you just gotta get a tacky souvenir), I kicked back and enjoyed these babies.