Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Un jour à Bruxelles

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again:  Paris is so quiet in the month of August!  Besides the hoards of tourist at every turn, there are virtually no locals left in town.  It’s hard to make plans without first calling to see if the place you’re headed to is open or closed for the next 4 weeks.  Even during the work week I’ve been disappointed after walking to some of my favorite lunchtime haunts only to see a closed-for-vacances notice scribbled on sheet of paper and stuck to the front door. 

So, Gui and I decided to get out of the tourist-laden city for a bit.  Realizing that we’d only just come back a week ago from a full week of holidays, we were still itchin’ to do some traveling before la rentrée and in anticipation of fuller workloads at the end of the month.  Belgium is practically down the street from us - the same amount of driving it takes us to get from Austin to Dallas - so, that’s where we spent our Saturday.  At first, we couldn’t decide between Bruges and Brussels (we’ve already been to both), but eventually headed towards Brussels so that I could relive a little of the first trip I ever took there in 2008 with Gui and some of my closest girlfriends. 

I was pretty amazed at how much I remembered and recognized from my one single night spent there over 2 years ago.  It was warmer this time around than that first February trip, so we sipped a beer on a terrace, ate moules-frites and boeuf à la bière among the locals, grabbed some nutella gaufres and strolled around the streets and parks of the city without any rush or fuss.  We had no idea that we were coming to the city during one of its most popular weeks – the week of the Flower Carpet – so we were surprised at how big the crowds were in the Grand Place.  We didn’t spend too much time there, opting instead to visit some greener areas of the city I’d never seen before.

There was a lot going on in town, though, and we came across a music festival (Massive Attack and some other groups were playing), a park full of people and even a few pianos in the street.  It was an interesting daytrip, though much of it totally unexpected.  In the end, we came home with full and happy bellies, a trunk full of beer and a few bags of our favorite chocolates.  A day well spent if I do say so myself.

Taking flight
Gui loves his Kwak
The flower carpet at the Grand Place
a little gaufre for Gui
street pianos
Manneken pis

2 comments:

Lulu said...

Great pics of my temporary city!

I'm off to Paris tomorrow. Like you say in your blog, I've heard that many locals are away. I'm trying to decide if that's good or bad.. ;)

Candy said...

love all the pics, sis! You look great! August is SO busy here in the US with school starting, etc! Wish it was more like Paris at this time of year! love you.