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Day 14: Landing in Brussels, the city of Bande Descinée

My bus landed in Brussels at 9 AM. I consider myself fortunate that I am not troubled when it comes to sleeping in any mode of transport. Although I must admit that I often develop a stiff neck from sleeping in awkward postures. The prices for hostels in Brussels was quite high. I booked one that had a free luggage facility for only a single night. This was important. The bus dropped me at Brussels-Nord. A short tram ride later, I was near Brussels-Midi—the location of my hostel.

The lady at the hostel gave me my keycard but mentioned that I wouldn’t be able to use it before 2:30 PM. I dropped by rucksack in the luggage room and headed towards the city centre.


The pissing boy or Manneken Pis is a landmark figurine in Brussels. The imagery is used even in shops and souvenirs. I was expecting a large statue in the middle of a square—it was not so.


There was also a statue of a dog pissing. I have no idea what affinity Brussels has with pissing mammals.

Co-Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula

I was not actively looking for any churches or cathedrals. I chanced upon this while walking in the city. It is Belgium’s national church and hosts royal weddings and funerals.



This was the only church/cathedral that had its pipe organ mounted on one of the sides of the nave.


The pulpit was one of the most intricate ones I had seen in the last two weeks. Here is a closeup of one of the sides depicting a skeleton.


Stained-glass window inside the chapel. For details on all the stained windows, see here [7].

BD: Franco-Belgian comics

One of the reasons I made a stop at Brussels was because it is the epicentre of Franco-Belgian comics. Such panels (shown below) are painted all over the city and are protected by the City of Brussels. It is possible to go on a hunt for all of them. If I ever visit Brussels again, I might be tempted to do that.


Tintin, Snowy and Haddock (Hergé).


Nick (Hermann Huppe)


Cori the Ship’s Boy (Bob de Moor)


Ducoboo (Zidrou and Godi). The talking skeleton is not clearly visible because of the perspective.

My main aim was to visit the Hergé Museum. However it was not in the city and thus I reserved that visit for the following day. Instead, I went to the BD Museum. BD stands for Bande Descinée, the French term for comics. It is also used to label Franco-Belgian comics just like Manga is used to label Japanese ones.


A large figurine of Lucky Luke greeted me near the entrance.

A large portion of the museum is dedicated to the art of making comics, focussing on history, techniques, medium and genres. A lot of work-in-progress samples were kept, mostly from current artists. Manga has been gaining popularity but not many BD works have seen English translations. I have noted down a few names whose works I might be hunting down later. This is also a good excuse for me to learn French.


The original plan of the museum drawn by the great Bob de Moor.


An exhibition gallery at the museum.

Once I was done with the museum, I headed back to the hostel. I took a bath and took a long needed sleep. Later that night I headed towards the City Centre again and mostly had junk food at the Christmas market.


There was a light and sound show going on at the city council centre. I did not understand a word but it was just like the one I had seen at Mysore palace.


Christmas market in front of the Bourse (Brussels Stock Exchange).

Day 15: Final day at Hergé Museum [17]
Day 13: Jewish Holocaust Memorial and leaving Berlin [18]