Brussels – Day 4

We woke up early to get an uncrowded view of the Mannekin Pis.

Mannekin Pis

Brussels residents and tourists alike love this little pissing boy. His image is used in all manner of tourist trinkets as well as advertising for everything from Coke A Cola to hamburgers at McDonald’s.

Mannekin Pis Window Display

We also took advantage of the lack of tourists in the early hours of morning to rub the statue of the mayor of Brussels, Evrard ‘t Serclaes for luck.

Evrard 't Serclaes

In 1356 he was tortured and killed for refusing to hand over the city keys. Now, people rub the statue for good luck, which explains why it is so shiny.

From there we purchased tickets for the train to Bruges. And yes, I’ve seen the movie. But that’s not why we went.

Jay

We decided to go to Bruges to revisit our favorite chocolatier, Dumon, which we discovered during our previous visit several years ago.

We were also interested in seeing the Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival.

When we got off the train I was wondering how hard it would be to find the location of the festival. Then we saw the sign which cleared it all up.

Sneeuw

What we did not expect, but soon found out was that the festival was held inside a refrigerated tent complex that was cooled down to a cozy -5 degrees Celsius. That’s 23 degrees Fahrenheit for us stubborn non-metric system adopting infidels.

As it was, the outside temperature was only 27 degrees Fahrenheit as we stood in for about 1/2 hour to get into the exhibit.

It was very crowded and the line moved very slowly and toward the end we were quite cold, especially in the footal areas. But what a site to see!

Ice Sculpture - 4

Giant ice doors opened up to a small dark tunnel that lead you into room after room of sculpted ice.

Ice Sculpture - 3

Ice Sculpture - 2

Ice Sculpture - 5

Ice Sculpture - 1

It was spectacular to see, and oh so very very cold.

We got out and caught the bus to Bruges.

Bruges was way more crowded than when we last visited and the market was pretty cheesy. We walked about and even got a little lost.

Dumon Chocolate

We did find the Dumon Chocolate Shop and I resisted the urge to defenestrate myself from the bell tower, a la “In Bruges

Bruges Bell Tower

When we boarded the train to go back to Brussels someone came on the intercom and said something in French and Dutch that we did not understand. The people in the seat next to us were from Barcelona and explained to Cynthia in Spanish that the train was delayed due to technical problems.

After awhile there was another announcement and everyone started getting off the train. We didn’t need an translator to explain this part.

We followed the crowd to another platform and caught a later, much more crowded train back to Brussels.

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5 thoughts on “Brussels – Day 4

  1. So glad I didn’t lose another coworker this winter!!! As always the photos look great. Am anxious to see more and hear all about it next week. Have a great new years!

  2. The pics are outstanding – thanks for sharing, Jay.

    After seeing the ice sculptures and reading your text, I bet your investment in a *real* winter coat has paid off.

    Have a safe trip back. Oh, and bring some chocolate for all of us :-)

  3. I didn’t like the movie so much, but the dialog!

    “If I’d grown up on a farm and was retarded, Bruges might impress me. But I didn’t, so it doesn’t.”

  4. I was in Bruges for my 40th Birthday, in early September 2008. The locals, especially those who work the shops and cafés of the Grote Markt, love to talk about when “In Bruges” was filmed. Some talk about how Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason were drunk and loud every night in the Markt. I befriended a serveur named Olivier at the Café Des Artes, who loves to collect postcards from all over the world, so he made me promise to send him post cards. So far, I have sent two from my hometown of Los Angeles, so I really need to send another one again soon.

    I just adore Bruges! By the way, my favorite chocolatier was the Chocolatier du Burg, near the city hall (burg) in Bruges. It is also near the Basilica of the Holy Blood.

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