Brussels, Belgium; Day 2

We had one Adventurer a bit under the weather today. Seems a summer cold has been working its way through the family and today it knocked Brian back a bit.

So the other 4 had some fun around town. Our first stop was a well known landmark called Mannekin Pis. Dutch for ‘Little Pissing Man’ it is exactly as it translates – a 24 inch tall statue of a naked boy urinating into a basin.

Kids at Mannekin Pis

The statue can be traced back to the 1450s where it was documented as part of the drinking water system of Brussels. People would get their water from public fountains including the basin below this one. In the 1620s it was recast in bronze and remains in bronze today. By the end of that century it had already become an ‘object of glory’ and a symbol of the people of Brussels and Belgium.

Not surprising for something so symbolic and so small, its history is filled with instances of theft or attempted theft. So much so that in the 1850s it was surrounded by gates (no one could get to the water anymore so it became purely decorative) and in 1965 it was moved to the Brussels City Museum. What we saw today was a replica but it still gave us a sense of the Belgian folk humor it is said to represent.

Our next stop was a cooking class! If you’ll recall, the kids wanted two things in Belgium – chocolate and waffles so today was all about the waffles.

We signed up for a workshop to get some hands on experience but really to get an authentic recipe. We learned there are two types of Belgian waffles – one is street waffles which are usually eaten on the go and have enough sugar in them they don’t need toppings. The other are Brussels Waffles which are less sweet and usually covered in sweet stuff – closest to what we get a home when you get a Belgian waffle. We made the Brussels version today.

Getting started

Making a waffle batter will not go down as the most difficult cooking the Adventurers have done, but there were some unusual ingredients. One was Belgian brown sugar made from beet root. Another was vanilla sugar which we may not be able to buy at home but can make. The last unexpected ingredient was sparkling water. Traditionally they use beer, but since it was a family-friendly class they went with non-alcoholic bubbles.

After we made the batter it was over to the waffle iron, CreeperPuppy observed it was just like we see at the hotel buffets – and he was right except this one was square.

Then after what seemed like an eternity but was only about 3 minutes, they were ready to get covered in tons of ooey gooey toppings.

Yum! Crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside just as we’d hoped. Between the 4 of us we ate 10 waffles and brought two back for Dad.

It was a sweet way to spend the afternoon, that’s for sure.

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