It was, however, cruisers and hybrids on parade. Well not really in Brussels, the capital in Belgium that is physically in Flanders but not culturally. Brussels had narrow streets with uneven cobblestones and crisscrossing tram tracks, and not many cyclists. This changed in the medieval university town of Gent--lots of bikes, most notably tall coeds on cruiser bikes in short skirts. Here no one looked scared of cobblestones (actually more pavement than Brussels) and tram tracks, in fact no one wore a helmet. Contrary to our pedal with traffic, many bike lanes went against traffic on one way streets. Same in Bruges, only difference no tram tracks and casual cyclists a little older.
This led us to Amsterdam where junker bikes rule. Auto traffic doesn't move. Thick bike locks look more expensive than what they are securing Here walkers beware on 2' wide sidewalks at street/ bikepath level--separated from traffic by a row of short posts. The 2' wide sidewalk is blocked by parked bicycles, but look both ways before trying to go around in the street with 1 line of cars moving slowly and cruiser cyclists, many ladies fashionable dressed, flying both ways. How does one pedal with 3" heels?
|Walking towards the national icon Manneken-Pis, aka the Pisser of Brussels, the excitement builds for blocks as faux Pis front chocolate and waffle stands.|
|Mr Pis is famously used in posters and has a popular display at the City museum in one of the ancient buildings on Grand Place, where many of his uniforms are displayed.|
|Finally, a big crowd around the little guy. Haven't I seen him before at a local garden centers?|
|But I never saw his newer, less famous sister, Ms. Pis...|
|Or his pet dog, Fido Pis...|
|Or the urinals build into the side of a church...|
|What's this Belgium infatuation with pissing. Maybe its the huge cheap beer that is less expensive than water. This got Ms. Pumpkin to switch over from water to beer for dinner mid-trip.|
|The "Liege" Waffles are so sweet didn't need a topping on it|
|A few nice garden oasis around Central Brussels--though a big city it never seemed crowded.|
|Homage to Rene Magritte, Belgium's most famous painter. The museum doesn't have his |
most famous painting but has the largest collection of his works.
|Ms. Pumpkin in front of the King of Belgium's Palace. The King abdicated the week we were there--no doubt because he is not allowed to wear a crown.|
|How much of Brussels, especially lower town, is paved--cobblestones laid in sand.|