Brussels/Antwerp – Quirky and Awesome

Brussels is one of the quirkiest cities I’ve found in Europe – and it’s a good thing! How is it quirky you may ask – let me tell you:

  • While walking to my hostel, I found a billboard ad with a dog being flattened by a train! It’s a reminder that the train always has priority! Check out the photo below
  • The mascot for the city is “Manneken Pis.” It’s literally a statue of a kid taking a leak. The city changes the costume for the statue on a regular basis and displays them in the city museum
  • The city encourages graffiti artists and comic art throughout the city. I found one mural of the classic cartoon “The Adventures of Tintin.” I loved this show growing up. Tintin and his drunken sailor sidekick are escaping from some adversity!
  • For Expo 58, the city built a giant stainless steel copy of an iron crystal magnified by 165 million times! Who needs a tower, a statue, or arch when you can have a giant iron crystal?
  • As you probably know, Brussels is the capital of the European Union. Right outside the European Parliament, the city set up a bunch of ostriches, half of them with heads buried in the dirt! A great throw out to the EU’s politicians. Maybe we should get something like this back home in Ottawa – Trudeau could even get a selfie with them!

On a more conventional note, the museums are great in Brussels. The history museum is very comprehensive and has artifacts/displays from all of over the world. It even had statues/engravings of my favourite Egyptian pharaoh – Akhenaton. He tried to wipe out the Egyptian pantheon and make Egypt worship his new and only sun-god, Aton. It’s rare to have Akhenaton artifacts because later pharaohs called him a heretic and ordered all things linked to Akhenaton to be destroyed… cool blip in Egyptian history.

I also made a day trip out to Antwerp. A very visually stunning place. It has one of the nicest train stations in the world – architecturally speaking. So many huge and ornate buildings – the photo of the palace/fountain is from Antwerp.

I’ll be in Brussels until Tuesday, when I fly out to Rome. Lots of more cool stuff to check out! Until then

Cheers, Shawn

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