Brussels City Hall
After being in the land of Lindt and luxury til yesterday, I decided my first photo after returning to Brussels would have to be a good one. Ta-dah! It's hard to put your finger on the most famous landmark in Brussels, and the contenders for top position include a statue of a peeing boy (Manneken Pis), a building in the shape of a giant unit cell of an iron crystal (Atomium, and admittedly pretty cool) and a massive frites cone full of legs (Maison Antoine, which does the best frites in town).
Anyway, my point is that I'm not sure what people have been missing for the past six hundred or so years, because, um... Brussels is actually pretty cool, and there are loads of things here worth seeing.
Case in point: the 600-year old Brussels City Hall, the focal point of Grand Place - a UNESCO world heritage site. The City Hall has seen quite a lot in its days, including regular beheadings, a bombardment, martyrs being burned alive, and many other gruesome things. I imagine some really good things have happened here too, but what those are is anybody's guess as - this seems to be a running theme - no one seems to talk about the good things that have happened in Brussels.
But in addition to being an exceedingly pretty example of gothic architecture, another good thing is that City Hall is still standing, as it was the target of the bombardment I mentioned earlier, which happened in 1695 during the Nine Years' War between France and basically the rest of Europe. Despite being the main target, it was paradoxically the only building that remained intact after a bombardment of flaming cannonballs.
Hopefully this will go some way to dispelling the rumour that Brussels doesn't have any memorable landmarks and isn't exciting. If that doesn't work, we may have to change the current city logo to a flaming cannonball...