Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Brussels was our first stop via Euro star, which if booked early enough is not too expensive. What you notice immediately is the huge increase in the volume of graffiti, this is a city in serious need of some municipal TLC, sadly the state of the sitting government probably does not help.
I did wonder if there was anything left to see after my last visit, amazingly by turning left instead of right there was. Although I do not feel this is a city with any clear identity or focus there are strands that run through it that I love. What is missing apart from a good scrub is a river, most cities grow around water but although this does have a river the city has evolved around the square pushing the river to the outer ring road.Apart from Tin Tin, Magritte is probably their best known export although Horta would run him a close second. As a teenager I loved Magritte's work enough to write an essay on him, now the work leaves me cold. It is clinical and clever but lacks feeling. This is part of a hording surrounding one of the buildings being renovated.
The main square is normally devoted to beer festivals, the architecture is overly decorative and ostentatious, but whilst we were there there was an amazing light and sound show with projections onto the buildings creating a rather surreal effect.

Kasbah down in the center, just opposite The Marriott is a beautiful Moroccan restaurant, we paced around outside until it opened as it fill up very quickly. It has a wonderful richly exotic interior and delicious food, I had my favourite lamb, prune and almond Tangine...

Brussels is particularly good on shops, particularly small shops with a narrow focus, hence this Ginky Paradise

Quite possibly the most beautiful staircase I have ever seen.

Books shops are everywhere, always a good thing.

As are the most delicious chocolate shops

My favourite shops of all were the antique shops selling the most incredible African artifacts. in particular the shop above had some stunningly covetable jewellery.

We were here for just 2 days before boarding a train to Cologne, it is a good stepping stone to the rest of Europe, I also noticed an increase in the amount of galleries that are open. We looked around some wonderful small ones near the center, more of which next week.
Sadly until the value of the pound improves not a place to spend any money.


materfamilias said...

lamb-and-prunes is my favourite tagine as well!
Thanks for the mini-tour of Brussels -- haven't been yet.

La Belette Rouge said...

I am with you and Mater, I love lamb and prune tangine. I have never been to Belgium and just lately it has been calling to me. Your post confirms all my fantasy about it.Gorgeous pictures.

indigo16 said...

Thank you, I could do with a bowl of lamb now to warm me up!