belgium: brussels

Self Censorship And What Not…

I’ve been thinking about this latest post for a while (hours upon hours) and decided that sometimes my jokes tend to cross the line so badly that the line looks like a dot from where I’m standing.  This time around, I thought it’d be safer to ask around to see if my original title was offensive and so I started bugging those around me.  I always got a giggle but that was followed up with comments about how the said person had self censored their own blogs due to one reason or another and then became too lazy to blog much after that.  It is in their honour that I write this post (well rewrite this post after I deleted it…twice) as I figure my blogging about Belgium wouldn’t be complete without sharing some landmark photos.

Exploring any new city always means that some of the major landmarks will need to be visited in order to check them off the list.  When I think of Brussels, the first thing that comes to mind is Manneken Pis and so I set off to find this bad boy.  I felt a little hesitant to admit this as someone once told me that statues were designed for kiddie fiddlers.  I’m not even sure what to do with that statement but I felt a sense of apprehension joining in with the other tourists to take photos of a bronzed little naked boy.  Why a statue of a naked little boy peeing in the first place right?  Well, legend has it that Brussels was under siege by a foreign power and since the city held its ground, the attackers conceived of a plan to place explosive charges at the city walls. A little boy happened to be spying on them and spoiled their plans by urinating on the burning fuse in order to save the city and thus, a naked boy peeing was bronzed to immortalize this moment.  Thank you bus tour for that tidbit of information!

What I’ve neglected to tell you is on the way to Manneken Pis, we took a wrong turn and by pure accident, stumbled upon Jeanneke Pis first.  I’m not even sure why there’s a bronzed statue of a little girl peeing (yes, I keep hearing something about kiddie fiddlers once again in my head) but there she was in all her glory.  Is it so girls don’t feel left out?  It it something about equality?  Do I believe what I read on the internet? Was this really built in honour of loyalty?  Was it because a kiddie fiddler was sketching a picture?

Jeanneke Pis

As for me, I like the photos I took of these two statues but seeing them up close and personal wasn’t anything to write home about.  I was actually quite surprised at how small they were and slightly disappointed that I didn’t get to witness these statues with clothing on…which they apparently have!  As for me and my censorship – if you haven’t already guessed, my original title was going to be something along the lines of “Statues for Kiddie Fiddlers?”.  I still think its catchy and funny but figured maybe its best not to lead with that foot after all.

Categories: BELGIUM, belgium: brussels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Mr. Satisfaction…

Lives at the doorstep of the Comic Strip Centre

There was a time when I used to believe that it really wasn’t me even though time after time I was the only common denominator in each and every instance.  If Brussels has cemented one thing in my mind it’s that it’s most definitely me that brings the crazies to the yard.  I’m still at a lost as to what it is about me but somehow I managed to be a weirdo beacon in the middle of an alleyway in Brussels on a fine afternoon despite how sick and sweaty I looked to the rest of the viewing public.

This particular day started out with nothing interesting to note.  We had a good lay-in and then decided it was time to see what the real world of Brussels was up to after indulging in frites – the breakfast of champions.  At this point it had been a good 24 hours since I last consumed anything but sadly, all that deep-fried goodness was too much for me to handle so after a few bites and poking a little fun at the German fella next to me (He kept looking over so what else was I going to do?  Atleast this time I didn’t mistake his staring for someone looking to be friendly but unable to communicate in English…yes, I’ve come a long way!), I gave up on eating once again.  As food was out of the question, the only thing a girl could do was head off to the Comic Strip Centre.  After all, I heard a rumor that they’re harboring a life-size smurf in that building.  Yes, what excites and motivates me can only be described as sad!

Store close to the scene of the crime!

Anyway, after a bit of poking around at the Comic Strip Centre and not being able to read any of the work on display as my French skills are lacking, it was off to Grand Place and exploring the winding alleyways that surround it and hopefully finding a cute little place to take a bit of a break.  In my head I was thinking possibly a waffle house or cafe that sold my illusive Canada Dry but in the distance I could hear a voice calling out as a man quickly grabbed my arm.  At first, I thought this was a technique to draw us into the restaurant he worked at so I played along but I soon found out that once again, I was completely and utterly WRONG!  This man who we’ll call Mr. Satisfaction (sadly, a nickname that he came up with all on his own not knowing that I would surely blog about him in the days to come) was someone looking to meet me in order to confess his undying love (something he felt the need to do repeatedly despite how embarrassing the whole gesture became) while providing us drinks on the house.  He didn’t seem to care that I was sick or radiating heat like a furnace as he infringed on my personal space in hopes to get to know me better.

Miss Bathtub Diaries was just eating it up as she not only got free entertainment like the rest of the patrons at the restaurant but also the benefit of all the freebies this weirdo was sending my way.   As the entire restaurant started to joke about how it only took me 1 day to find a Brussels boyfriend, I did what I always do in these situations…RUN.  I may have told a little white lie of how I would meet up with him to get him to release his grasp on my arm but desperate times call for desperate measures.  At the end of the day, these situations tend to happen to me more often than not but I’m still not sure why.  There’s interest and then there’s interest boarding on obsession and sadly, I seem to bring the latter out in men and not sure what to do to change it before my head winds up in a freezer somewhere!

Categories: BELGIUM, belgium: brussels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Now That’s A Game Changer!

Over the last week, I’ve been fighting a losing battle with the flu and unfortunately no amount of rest and fluids were able to assist in a 100% recovery before setting off to Belgium.  As everything was already planned and paid for and I was starting to feel slightly better, I decided it was in my best interest to execute as scheduled and hoped that my ill-health wouldn’t drag me down.  Sadly, there was a slight itty bitty problem with my plan.  When it came to Belgium, I made the brilliant decision to design a turbo tourist style weekend.  Nothing but a jammed packed 5 days and 4 nights of 4 cities, hot air ballooning, city traipsing, beach bumming, chocolate eating, beer drinking and require no sleep day or night kind of tourism.

As soon as my flight landed in Brussels, I immediately knew that the flu had thrown a wrench into my plans.  Sadly, I was unable to accept this reality so early in the game despite the fact that my stomach was feeling uneasy while the rest of me was burning up in an internal inferno so I soldiered on.  I decided that maybe a little Canada Dry Ginger Ale (my go-to drink when I’m feeling like ass) in my belly before jumping onto a hop on hop off bus for a lazy city overview would somehow magical make my symptoms disappear.  Turns out that I was wrong as sitting on a bus trying to keep your lunch down while wondering if it’s somehow inappropriate to curl up into a ball after yelling at a fighting family to shut the hell up doesn’t help get one oriented with a city whatsoever.  Before long, I gave up as I was well aware that the only course of action would be to beeline for the hotel and go to bed in hopes to sleep off all this funkiness.

My body screamed with relief when I climbed into bed.  Before dozing off, I got a text from Miss Bathtub Diaries saying that she’d be arriving late into Brussels due to train delays.  Phew, a few extra hours to rest before I had to explain that we were now looking at a weekend of excessive sleep and perhaps a tour of spas in Brussels instead of what was planned.  It had been months since we last saw each other so not sure how she’d take this curve ball or my inability to catch up properly once we were finally face to face.  As my eyes felt heavy with sleep – I was fully aware that I had no idea how this trip would turn out other than it would be nothing like planned.

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