I celebrated my birthday and the start of my new non-working (that is, not paid by one company or another) life in Brussels. Why Brussels you ask? I’d never spent a day in Brussels before, I was curious about the city that houses the European Parliament, where civil servants from across Europe are spinning our futures. I wanted to be somewhere different, a place I had not been before and Brussels seemed a good destination in terms of travelling: the ease and comfort of the Eurostar is highly preferable to endless waits and security searches in airports.
I did not do much writing though, except for a few disjointed notes here and there. The photographs will have to do the telling of the story for now.
Despite the evening chill, it was worth taking in the magnificent Grand’Place where people were milling around taking selfies in front of the buildings still decorated in their christmas garb, the Musee de la Ville and the Hotel de Ville.
And at long last the next day, just down the road, we found the real Manneken Pis, so much heard about in my youth, still taking the piss!
To accommodate the European envoys and away from the tourism you find the more genteel parts of Brussels with the Cinquantenaire, a colossal triumphal arch which also houses the Art and History Museums and is surrounded by a large and beautiful park.
The smaller parks just up the road are surrounded by beautiful houses and these parks are apparently used by euro staff for their sandwich lunches, but in the summer I suppose – we did not see a single eurocrat with a bag of sandwiches when passing by…