Archive for March 8th, 2021

March 8, 2021

Manneken Pis, Brussels of course!

And let me update this older post on a curiosity of our neighbors to the north Belgium. It is very innovating to have one of the symbols of the city of Brussels, a pis oh well you know. It is now a very tourist attraction and of course if in the city why not come to see it. Let me tell you a bit more of the Manneken Pis of Brussels!

Ok so now I go back to one of my favorite countries Belgium and one of my favorite cities Brussels. I have written extensively on it previously in my blog.  The Manneken Pis is an unusual figure , how can a statue showing someone pissing be so popular! yes it is and very nice quant, we love to stop by even if after several trips the crowds do not stop to grow me think!! The post was from 2018, however, if you notice the pictures are from 2012!! 


The Manneken-Pis, meaning “the Little man who pees” in Brussels, is a fountain in the form of a statue in Bronze of 55.5 cm high ( aprox 22 inches (61 cm with the pedestal) which represents a naked little boy urinating. To be precise, the real name is Menneke Pis. Indeed, in Flemish or Dutch but also in Brussels, een manneke is a small man while a menneke in Brussels means a little boy. The fun of a multilingual city.  It is located in the heart of Brussels, a few steps from the Grand Place, at the intersection of the rue de l’Étuve and rue du Chêne . Since 1965, the statuette present on the spot is a copy identical to that conceived in 1619-1620 which is treasured in the Museum of the city of Brussels located in the Maison du Roi (king’s house). Manneken-Pis is the most famous symbol of Brussels.


A bit of history I like

The earliest mention of the existence of Manneken-Pis is in an administrative text, which can be dated from 1451-1452, on the water pipes feeding the Brussels fountains. From the outset, the fountain plays an essential role in the distribution of drinking water. It is then located on the route of the Rue du Chêne, just before the angle that forms it with the rue de l’Étuve . It takes place on a column and pours its water into a double rectangular stone basin.

The first statue is replaced by a new bronze version ordered in 1619. It is probably melted and installed in 1620 at the same time, the column supporting the statuette and the double rectangular basin collecting the water are completely redone. The fountain is now no longer on the public road, but in a recess located at the corner of rue du Chêne et rue de l’Étuve. In 1770, the column and the double rectangular basin disappear; The statuette is integrated into a new rock-style stone decor from another Brussels fountain that was dismantled.

The statue of the Manneken Pis had several attempts of stealing it. In fact, the first attempt at a confirmed abduction was undertaken in 1747 by a group of French soldiers garrisoned in Brussels. To calm the spirits, the king of France, Louis XV, offered a suit of gentleman to Manneken-Pis, allowing it to carry the sword, and decorated it with the Cross of Saint Louis. Restored once again, the statue was sheltered and is now exposed on the second floor of the Museum of the city of Brussels occupying the Maison du Roi (King’s house) on the spot, at the corner of the streets of rue du Chêne et rue de l’Étuve , it was replaced by an identical copy.

Description and costumes of the Manneken Pis

Since the 20C, many copies or imitations of the Manneken-Pis have been born both in Belgium and abroad. It is necessary to distinguish the official copies offered by the city of Brussels from copies and imitations made privately by fans of the small character. Official copies were offered in Colmar (1921); Osaka (1928); Monaco (1951); London (1959); Broxeele (1979); Benalmadena (1991); and   Nagoya (2015).  The oldest testimony of the tradition of dressing Manneken-Pis dates back to 1615. At the Ommegang in Brussels that year in honor of the Archduchess Isabelle, the Manneken-Pis wears a shepherd’s suit. Traditionally, it is reported that in 1695, Governor-General Maximilian-Emmanuel of Bavaria, stationed in Brussels, offered a suit of blue color both in Manneken-Pis and in the statue of Saint Christopher, patron of the Military Guild of the Brussels archers.

In 1756, an inventory indicates that the Manneken-Pis wardrobe contains five complete garments. His wardrobe did not grow much before the 20C from 1918 to 1940, about thirty costumes were offered to him. But it was especially after 1945 that the movement took on an exceptional scale: the wardrobe has more than 400 costumes in 1994, more than 750 in 2005, more than 950 in 2016. Since 1954, the official presentation of the new costumes is framed by the order of Friends of Manneken-Pis founded that year to consolidate the folklore tradition. The order, in its present form, was revived in 1985. The order aims to stimulate the cultural, tourist, philanthropic and commercial development of Belgium in general, and in particular to preserve the traditions related to the character of Manneken-Pis.   The wardrobe, which has a thousand costumes since 2018, is kept at the Museum of the City of Brussels, located in the Maison du Roi (King’s house) on the Grand Place. In 2017, the city of Brussels opened a new museum space at 19, rue du Chêne entirely devoted to the presentation of the most emblematic garments of the wardrobe of Manneken-Pis. 

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official webpage of the Manneken Pis museum

The Brussels tourist office on the Manneken Pis

The City of Brussels on the Manneken Pis:

Hope you enjoy the post, this is so unique and wonderful to stop by when in Brussels the Manneken Pis is a nice tradition.

And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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March 8, 2021

Trier’s St Peter’s Cathedral!!

And here I am in my extensive road warrior trips around Europe! This time we were in very familiar territory of Trier in Germany. We have been here several times over the years. One wonderful monument often overlook is the St Peter’s Cathedral of Trier. Let me update this older post to tell you about it. Hope you enjoy it as I.

If you have read my blog, you know Trier or Tréves in French is one of my favorite cities in Europe, small, historical, and beautiful just like I like them most. I have come to Trier in several occasions since 1990, mostly one day two days trips into the city base in Luxembourg city (another favorite). Lately, I have come for vacations in Germany and stayed just outside on the wine areas below it and could come more often to see its beautiful buildings. The history here is huge been considered the oldest city in Germany!  I like to tell you a bit more on one of my favorite monuments here, that is the St Peter’s Cathedral of Trier. This is a huge task so only making some brief entries and the rest is for you to come over, it is a must to visit. again…


St. Peter’s Cathedral in TrierRhineland-Palatinate state, and the seat of the Catholic Diocese of Trier.  Built between 1235 and 1270, it is the oldest Cathedral in Germany. Its multi-secular history is made visible by the assembly, on the facades of the building, of architectural styles of different eras. Its dimensions ,112 meters long by 41 meters wide, make it the most important religious building of Trier. And a must to see while there I say.


A bit of brief history I like

According to medieval traditions dating back to the 9C but not certain, Hélène, the mother of Emperor Constantine, and the future Saint Hélène, would have donated her house from the Roman city of Augusta Treverorum (Trier) to Agritius, the Bishop of Trier. Archaeological excavations have revealed the presence under the Cathedral of dwelling of the Roman aristocracy, one with a painted ceiling (the fresco, now restored, is at the Episcopal Museum). In 310-329, Bishop Agritius built a first basilica, the remains of which are located under the information offices, outside the Cathedral. Bishop Maximin of Trier coordinated the enlargement of this basilica with the construction of what was then the largest religious building in the west of the Roman Empire: on a ground right-of-way four times greater than that of the present Cathedral were built no less than four basilicas, a baptistery and many dependencies. From 340 is built the square building whose walls form the nucleus of the present Cathedral.


The Cathedral of St Peter, was left in ruins by the Franks in the first half of the 5C. The Normans looted and seriously degraded the cathedral in 882. Between 1235 and 1270, the Notre-Dame Church is built on the site of the former southern basilica, which is razed. The cloister also dates from this period. Between 1687 and 1699 it was built the front of the Chapel of the Holy Tunic, precious relic of the Cathedral. Between 1702 and 1708, a sacred chamber is added upstream of the chorus to house the relic. The winter of 1944-1945, the Cathedral, like the rest of the city, is seriously damaged during the fighting for the capture of the city by Allied troops. Between 1960 and 1974, the last renovation work was carried out with the redevelopment of the altar, in accordance with the Liturgy of the II Vatican Council. In 1974, a new altar is consecrated and the Cathedral recommissioned. The beatification of the Franciscan Rosa Flesch , pronounced by Cardinal Meisner, took place in the St Peter’s Cathedral of Trier on 4 May 2008.


The Holy Tunic is preserved in a wooden reliquary dating from 1891, the ensemble being placed in an air-conditioned display case in the Chapel of the Holy Tunic. This Chapel is only accessible once a year, but the sacred garment is not exposed.  There is the tomb of Saint Paulin (see  post) of Trier d. 358 at the crypt. A successor to Maximin, he was with Saint Athanasius, a defender of the Council of Nicée, against the Roman Emperor Constance II.


The St Peter’s Cathedral is huge and beautiful , I just told you a bit more than on previous general posts on Trier, there is lots to see here and it is a must to see while visiting the city or nearby areas! I have several times to Trier, the last we rented housing in the vineyards below Trier. Wonderful experience. Enjoy the St Peter’s Cathedral of  Trier!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Trier tourist office on the Cathedral in English:

The Trier’s Cathedral information center in English:

Again, go see it, worth the trip for sure and the city is a delight. Enjoy Trier and its monuments and ambiance!  And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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March 8, 2021

Ciudadela or Castillo San Pedro of Jaca!!!

And this gives me great pleasure and updating again from 2019. One of the surprises of a road warrior trip in my beloved Spain. We were going up or down cant recall well now and we stopped by Jaca as always in our mind but finally went in to see the Ciudadela or Castillo San Pedro! It was a very nice experience, of course we saw more see my posts and did came back again for another visit with the family. Jaca is another of the memorable visits with the family together. Let me tell you a bit more on it


So let me stay on the north of my beloved Spain, in the beautiful old kingdom of Aragon, oops it is an autonomous region of Spain, and the province of Huesca, and the city of Jaca. On the road to the pyrénées and my belle France. This is a monumental construction and because of staying in bigger more popular cities seldom overlook by the visitor. Let me tell you a bit more on the Citadel of Jaca aka Saint Peter’s castle


It is protected upstream by the forts of the Coll de Ladrones or thieves and the turret of the Riflemen. It testifies to the diffusion of the military art to defend the place à la Vauban. The Spanish citadel of Jaca is a pentagonal construction, with a defensive rampart in every corner communicated by paths of round, which king Felipe II, in the 17C, ordered to erect in a suburb of Jaca because he feared an Invasion of the French heretics…. Its construction is framed in the defense strategy adopted by king Felipe II after the invasion of the Tena Valley by troops from the south of France in January 1592, and also as a soothing element of possible internal revolts. It was conceived as the central axis of a thick network of Pyrenean defenses in which were integrated the towers of Ansó, Hecho, La Espelunga (Canfranc) and Santa Elena (Biescas-Valley of Tena), in addition to the small castles of Berdún and Canfranc.


Its construction began in 1595, and ended in the 18C. It was under king Felipe  III, in 1613, that the access façade was completed. However, the digging of ditches and other collateral projects were longer, and still continued towards the end of the 17C. The interior is accessed by a Mannerist air door on which the Austrian shield appears. It is the only citadel of this pentagonal shape, other than one in Liége, Belgium,  that is preserved completely. Its external protection system is built around a pit. The arms court consists of a double arch, broken bows and a basket handle alternate and rely on the pillars of stones in its lower and upper brick.  Around the immense central courtyard, the buildings to house the troops, offices, warehouses and ammunition, organized in five blocks parallel to the walls, are aligned. Inside is also the military Chapel of San Pedro, you will find a large square of arms also pentagonal, around which are articulated the barracks quarters and the Chapel of the Citadel that is the Church of San Pedro that was built in the 18C (St Peter)  a baroque building with a stone façade built in the second half of the 17C. The citadel was only used defensively during the War of Independence. But paradoxically, it was the French troops who took possession of it after having conquered the place. They occupied the fortress for four years.


The fortress has a five-pointed star plant and is preserved practically intact since its construction. It observes the characteristics of a fortress of Italian trace, maintaining all its elements; Moat, bastions, escarpments and buttresses, barracks for the lodging of the troop, powders, tunnels.The access is made crossing the moat through a bridge of three arches plus a drawbridge to access the door of the enclosure, Herrerian style of great artistic interest.


Do not forget to see the military miniature museum inside a jewel for the aficionado and collector and just plain history buff like me:love it!! More than 32000 figurines in 23 showcases retracing the military history of our days in figurines that goes down to 20 mm or about 0,8 inch! All in order from the first great armies of the world,from the crusades to the 18C, towards WWI, Spanish Civil War, towards WWII, and towards Peace. A must to see while there , perhaps the main thing to see there!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and enjoy it are:

The official webpage of the Ciudadela of Jaca:

The miniature museum in the Ciudadela of Jaca:

The city of Jaca on the Ciudadela:

The autonomous region of Aragon cultural heritage webpage on the Ciudadela of Jaca:

Again, come up north and continue on the beautiful Spain, the second most visited country in the world as per WTO-UN. And see this jewel of our times, the Ciudadela de Jaca!

And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

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