Sidenotes on Brussels

Yup, I am back from another one of my elaborate weekend getaways; this time me and my roomie decided to take off to Brussels – the capital of Belgium – for the easter holidays.

And like any true-blooded blogger, I kept small notes of things that kept intriguing me; and thus I present…

Side-notes on the city: 

a)       At a height of over a hundred meters and weighing over 2,000 tons, the Atomium was incredibly impressive. But even though you’ve probably seen great many pictures of it… I guess the reason this is not a very “popular” landmark (like the Eiffel Tower for instance) is because apparently every single image of the Atomium – regardless of whether they are holiday pictures you took – is protected by copyright and it is illegal to publish images of it.
Ridiculous law I know, but it is true.

b)       Belgian chocolates ARE a big deal. They are amazing.
Ditto for Belgian waffles.

c)       A lot of people in Brussels have no clue about their city.
At the hotel we stayed, the manager didn’t know that the Jardin Botanique, which he claimed was supposedly 10minutes away, had actually been shifted to outside the city.
…No one had any idea what the Autoworld was or where it was located. And it IS in
Brussels.
…The waiter at a restaurant we went to had never heard of a museum that was on his street!

d)       Brussels has a surprisingly sizable arab/muslim population. In fact, leaving aside the tourist traps in the city center, within suburbia you can pretty much get by with just Arabic…even though French and Dutch are the two official languages.

e)       Dutch is remarkably similar to German; which makes little difference to me because I don’t speak German either – but trust me; it does have a lot of similar words.

f)         The Mini-Europe near the Atomium has beautifully crafted and extremely accurate 1:25 scale models of most famous buildings and landmarks in Europe.
However, one of the most famous landmarks in
Europe (not to mention, one of the seven wonders of the world) – the Colosseum – was missing.
What’s up with that?

g)       Apparently the most famous public landmark in Brussels is the bronze statue of a little boy…er…answering the call of nature called the Manneken-Pis. You’ve probably seen pictures of this too; and if you’re wondering if it was just a marketing ploy, you’re absolutely right.
Hidden in the corner of a narrow alley and at just 61cm tall, this was perhaps the most over-hyped and ridiculous-looking famous thing I’ve EVER seen. And I’ve seen quite a few.

What makes it so silly is the fact that there really isn’t any verifiable, historic significance behind this…just a bunch of legends that took this statue to where it is today.

But all said and done, this was quite an enjoyable trip, and Brussels is really a nice little city with a good mix of ancient landmark buildings and glass and steel high-rises that can easily compete with the Manhattan skyline. Do pay it a visit if you get the chance…Brussels will not disappoint you!

16 comments:

Darshan Chande said...

Wow! Interesting facts. Truly find your posts gripping buddy!

Aersh said...

wow... really imterestin form of a travelogue. i relly loved the facts that you placed before us. I was wondering as why arnt you writing, but now i know...

neway m back with one of my stories... do read it http://writingonthesands.blogspot.com/2009/04/howdy-everyone-mates-i-know-you-all.html

Prasanna said...

Real Good narration!

Next trip?

Mannu said...

Nice narration."true blooded bloggers keep notes"..;-)..i do too, on my mobile.
I have been Antwerp many times. It's a very big sea port and for records, akha Mumbai CST (railways) is a replica of Antwerp station.
I liked beleige chocolates a lot.
:-)

Dhanya said...

Love your posts. Always end up learning something new by the end of it all. Made me crave for Belgium chocos, by the way!

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@Darshan
Thx dude. :)


@Aersh
Actually the "why I was not writing" is also partially due to a couple of bad weeks at work here.

Havent read up on any blogs recently either. Will get to yours soon!

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@Prasanna

Hmm; thought Yuvaraj already told you?
:)


@Mannu
Guess bloggers mostly think alike. Haven't been to Antwerp myself but heard its a nice town. Good load of diamonds there..

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@Dhanya
Glad you liked the post.

Belgium chocolates ARE awesome...but I'm sure you could find them nearby.

Lena said...

i liked the facts though known most of them.. i didnt like Brussels much when i was there.. but the chocs are AMAZING! :D

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@Lena
Hmm, wonder what made your trip so unlikable; I thought Brussels was quite a nice city (unlike Rome or Athens or those historical ones anyway)

Mohammed Musthafa said...

hey....u knw...i hate travelling...but reading ur post makes me reconsider....u've got a knack of detailing stuff without making it all drag!

btw...i checked out abt the Manikken-Pis on wiki....u shud put a link in the post....ppl will surely have a laugh!

btw...cud u take a look at this....it's the last post of my blog...and I wanted to knw ur comment on it...

http://www.laptopdiary.blogspot.com/2009/04/one-last-story.html

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@Musthafa

This may come as a surprise but I don't like traveling all that much either...its the part after getting there I enjoy.

Na, I didn't think the Manneken-Pis was worth putting a link up to.
:D

And you're CLOSING DOWN your blog??? Why on earth for?

(and interestingly, my next post is on us, the bloggers)

RukmaniRam said...

about (c): that's what mundane life does to you man

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@Rukmani

didnt get it...what's copyright to do with mundane life

Ela said...

Kosteen...kosteen...did u have to have a visa...and if so was it tooo much of paperwork?!

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@Ela.
Na..its part of the Schengen; just book your tickets and go for it!

Visa's are a huge pain; which is the only reason I still haven't set foot in London yet
:D