0458 The Capital of Europe (Belguim 001—revisit)
Brussels Travel Blog› entry 83 of 201 › view all entries
Since then I’ve felt a bit like a cheater-- I’ve included Belguim among my “countries visited” list even though I saw next to nothing and discovered next to nothing about the city… This has been weighing on my conscience for over 4 years now…
So now I’m going to right that wrong and explore
I reach the shiny skyscraper area around the
It’s a pleasant little downtown, with your typical narrow streets and beautiful cathedrals. But it isn’t until I reach the top of the hill that I’m really impressed by the architectural beauty of the city. Also you get a great view of the north and west side, with the Atomium off in the distance.
What I’m not able to quite pick out is what makes this city distinctively Belge. Most of the buildings look very French… And I wonder, what is it that makes Belguim a unique and distinct nation and culture?
I loop around the old city, through its beautiful gardens and past the government palaces. Then an arch catches my eye way down a narrow street so I head in that direction…
After a bit of a hike, I reach the European Union headquarters area, which I don’t find particularly attractive or impressive, but there are a series of plaques describing the history of the city and gradually worked its way to becoming the “Capital of Europe”
This gets me thinking… Maybe the reason
Maybe… but I’m still going to try my best to discover the distinctiveness of Belge culture…
I continue on to the beautiful triple are to the east of the city… continue on a bit further, then make my way back down a wide and splendid tree lined boulevard.
One thing nice about
I reach a beautiful little lake with lined with trees and elegant houses right in the heart of the city…
Finally I figure it’s time to head back to the bus station and book my next ticket…
I book my ticket for tomorrow… so I’m going to have to stay the night here in
Next mission: go check out the Atomium.
So I set out across the modern business area once again, and across a couple of lively middle and lower class neighborhoods. I’m still on the lookout for that distinctive Belge vibe, but quite frankly everywhere I go it seems that native Belge are a minority and most folks are either Eastern European, African or Arab… Some streets are lined with Arab teahouses and I could swear that I’m back in
I enjoy seeing ethnic and cultural diversity in a city… but here in
I continue on to an area of forests and chateaus… Across a vast, grassy park… and finally the Atomium.
I’ll have to say, many famous landmarks that I’ve seen somehow look smaller and less impressive in real life than they do in pictures… Big Ben? The Mermaid? The Jesus Statue in
To think that this very innovative and futuristic structure was built way back in the 1950s makes it all the more impressive… I don’t know of many other furturistic structures that have been built since then, that have been able to match it.
… So maybe
I’m right near the edge of the city, so I decide to continue on a little bit further so I can explore a