Despite the late night, Brussels beckoned on the morning of our first full day. One of the deciding factors in choosing the Scandic Grand Place was its inclusive buffet breakfast, at which we could shamelessly stuff our bellies to save money on food later. So stuffed, we trotted out into Bruxelles, data-less on our phones thanks to crippling roaming charges, but armed with the cheap map gifted to us by the reception clerk. The generosity was soon understood when we noticed that instead of directing us to landmarks of historical and social interest, its key was devoted to the “RN Make-up For Ever” boutique and “La Parmigiana” restaurant.
It was certainly useless in locating the Mannekin-Pis, a statue of a cherub who urinates realistically, albeit ceaselessly, into a fountain to the delight of all who bear witness. When researching the trip, websites designed for tourists in Brussels would list very little apart from the chance to “giggle” at this display. Click on the ‘Nightlife’ tab and we were invited to giggle at it at night. It adorns the side of all the public buses, appears in numerous guises (a guitar photoshopped over his modest member to advertise a rock festival; an Uncle Sam costume and “Yes We Can” placard to honour Barak Obama) and seems very much the official mascot of the city. For us, it would serve as a token piece of touristy sight-seeing before we hit the bottle.