Brussels, Belgium, August, 2008Brussels is a charming city of about 1 million people. Today it is the capitol of the European Union. You hear many languages spoken on the streets. I wandered many of the streets, visited the Grand Palace, built by the guilds in the late 17th century - the Renaissance and some magnificent cathedrals. Sidewalk cafes are everywhere serving a local favorite of mussels, fries and of course, Belgian beer. The shops are filled with Belgian lace and tapestry as well as Belgian waffles and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. I took every opportunity to sit outdoors and enjoy the sights, the people and the mussels. I thought much about our mother and grandparents.
Irma and Leon-probably mid 1930s (Leon brewed "rootbeer" in the basement of their Detroit home during prohibition.)
I'm sure we kids all remember the brass ashtray of Mannekin Pis, Flemish for little man pee, that we had in our house. (Does anybody have that?) Mannekin Pis is a fountain in Brussels of a little boy peeing. This is probably the number one tourist attraction. It is a bit off the beaten path along the narrow streets. The story we were told growing up was that a merchant's son was missing, and a search party set out to find him. They did find him peeing in somebody's garden. The merchant was so grateful he decided to erect a statue. There are other stories dating from the 14-17 century. One is that the city was under seige and that the young boy peed on the fuse of a bomb and still another that he peed on soldiers entering the city (from a tree). I personally prefer the first story. People from this region don't take themselves too seriously. They enjoy a good time.
Mareseatoats and Mannekin Pis, August, 2008Henrietta did enjoy a good time. I am sorry she didn't travel here to see the land of her heritage. I think she would have liked it.
Today's post was brought to you by my sister Mareseatoats. Thank you Mares, I'm sending big hugs to you today.