Landed in Brussels and then had to find out where my bag was… It wasn’t on the rack from New York - it ended up being with the luggage that just came in from Toronto. It made sense. I went down and grabbed a train into the centre. I was going to go to the central station, but when I checked the instructions, they told me to go to the south station. I caught the metro and walked over to the house. The atelier was lovely. It was on the third floor of the house and had a lovely big skylight. The kitchen windows were the full height of the room, and I had a great view. The couple that own the airbnb were leaving for the long weekend. They gave me a few tips, a map and a key, and I headed back downtown to the central square for my 11am tour.
The tour guide was great. He walked us for three hours all around the downtown core, showing us lots of things. I was able to grab a quick coffee and french fries - no, no, wait, of course not French Fries … Belgian Fries. The city is quite lovely. The downtown core is a warren of little streets running haphazardly in triangles, square, and shape. The map looks like a stained glass window. And yes, I also grabbed a Belgian waffle, with distinctly un-Begian whipped cream and strawberries. Of course I had to have a couple of Belgian chocolates too... and more fries. Just roll me out of Belgium on Sunday.
Most of the big downtown buildings were built at the end of the 1800’s after an invasion. I learned an interesting, but sad part of Belgian history. They used to own the Congo in Africa. The king actually owned it and took all the money they made for his own use. He didn't help the Congo or Belgium with the money, he just pocketed it and more places
There is some overlying tensions in Belgium. The Flemish and the French kind of remind me of the French and English in Canada. It is all the same complaints. I think Canada and Belgium should do an exchange. We will give Belgium all our French speakers, and they will give us all their Flemish speakers. Then Belgium can be all French and Canada can be bilingual English/Flemish. Maybe we should all just learn to get along.
The other tension I saw was a demonstration about immigration. There was a group against immigration and a group for immigration. Later, I was assured by other people when I was asking directions, that there might be people that look different, but don’t worry, the immigrants wont hurt you, they are usually friendly. Really!!?? So obviously there is some tension in the general public.
Landing in Brussels
The Central Square
Mannekin Pis. Don't ask me, I don't even think the Belgians know why one of their most revered artifacts is a toddler pissing... Today he is dressed as a boy scout. He apparently has his own dressmaker and rooms full of outfits.
Yes, it does look a lot like Notre Dame...
Brussels was filled with lovely parks
My lovely little atelier
Looking down into the kitchen and backyard from my atelier
Another view of the Central Plaza at night