How to "Do" Brussels

After diving, it was time to explore Brussels!  Our first stop, of course, the hotel to shower and change.  Then, we were off!  We headed towards the direction of the European Union headquarters.  There was a park with a cool arch that we saw the night before and wanted to check out in the daylight.  Not quite as cool as we thought.  Plus, it was a really long walk.  

Manneken Pis dressed as a soldier to mark the 100 year anniversary of the start of WW I

We then headed back towards the city center.  In the morning, we had noticed that there was both a balloon parade (which we ended up missing), a comic book festival, and a Belgian beer festival going on.  Did you know that Brussels has the highest concentration of comic book artists in the world?  No?  Me neither.  So apparently the comic book festival (which was HUGE), is appropriate.  We didn't spend a lot of time there, before heading on to see the Manneken Pis, which, if you use your imagination, is exactly what you'd think it would be.  

From researching things to do in Brussels, we noticed that this is kind of a big deal here, but was overrated.  So of course we had to see it!  All it is is a statue of a little boy peeing.  Yes, you read that right.  Those cheeky Belgians have a statue of a little boy peeing in their city center.  And he isn't the only peeing statue either.  There are no less than three peeing statues in Brussels.  One is the Jeanneke Pis and the other is the Zinneke Pis.  The former is a girl peeing and the latter is a dog peeing.  No joke.  Google it if you don't believe me.

After doing the requisite visit to the Manneken Pis, we headed towards the Grand Place where the Belgian Beer Weekend was being held.  We had high hopes of being able to sample all sorts of Belgian beers at this event but alas, everyone and their brother was there.  The line to get in was a mile (kilometer?) long and it was getting late.  And we were thirsty.  So on to our next stop: the Delirium Tap House!  Luckily, we were able to kill two birds with one stone here - see the Jeanneke pis and drink Delirium beer.

This is just one of three menu boards 

The bar was crowded.  It took nearly a half hour to get our first beer, but it was totally worth it.  It was after that wait that Aaron sent me up to get the next round the rest of the night.  Apparently I got better service.   Now, Delirium is good, Delirium on tap is better, but Delirium fresh from the brewery?  Yea, it kind of rocks.  Be jealous :)

As Aaron and I were sitting at the only table available (and too large for just the two of us), a group of 3 Americans (which there were surprisingly a lot of) walked up and asked if we would share.  We get to chatting, and find out they are from Wisconsin and and that two of them went to school in norther Michigan.  Turns out, it was Michigan Tech, our (pretty small) Alma Mater.  Seriously small world.  Further discussion led to an even more impressive revelation -  there both Phi Kaps!!  Honestly, how do we go to Brussels, sit down with a beer in a bar, start talking to random Americans and find out they not only went to Tech, but were also Greek.  Talk about a small world!  We spent the rest of the evening enjoying the various Delirium brews before deciding to call it a night.

It was at this point that we realized that we had't had anything to eat, except some Pommes Fites (French fries), since lunch at Nemo.  Side note: Mr. McDonald (of the fast food chain) learned the secret for his addictive fries in Belgium.  In light of this, I petition that we should call them Belgium fries, since that would be more appropriate.  But I digress.  It was then that we decided that we should probably eat something before going to bed.  Our choice?  Chi chi's.  Yup, Tex Mex.  In Belgium.  But in our defense, we haven't seen a single Taco Bell over here yet (and after the night we had just had, Taco Bell was sounding pretty darn good right about then).

All in all, our first day in Belgium turned out pretty epic.  In recap, we:

  • Had Belgian Waffles for breakfast
  • Dove in the world's deepest pool
  • Saw not one, but two peeing statues
  • Drank (too much?) Belgian beer, in the Delirium tap house no less
  • Met Phi Tau's/MTU alum
  • Ate Tex Mex at Chi Chi's

The only thing left on my Belgian have to try list was chocolate, which was accomplished the next morning.  The next day, we headed to Chimay.  Check back soon for more details!

- Meghan -