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Brussels Weekend Break

Last summer, I travelled to Brussels in Belgium for a short break. We (me, the missus and the teenager) arrived in the middle of a heatwave, with temperatures in the mid to high thirties, so it actually felt more like Sicily or Greece than Northwest Europe. We had rented an apartment in Schaerbeek, a suburb with a large immigrant population, and the mix of Arabic and Portuguese on the streets added to the exotic atmosphere. As many a European traveller knows, immigrant areas offer the best of deals in accommodation, as well as an exciting array of food!

#3 Two old burghers

Here’s an 18-second clip, courtesy of my wife, that will give you a clearer idea of the charm of this little park:

From there we made our way to La grand-place (‘The Big Square’) with its opulent guildhalls, the Town Hall, and the Breadhouse. As well as admiring the magnificent architecture, we passed an enjoyable half-hour people watching. The place was awash with tourists, including of course ourselves ?

#4 La grand-place, Brussels

You might recognise this square from @leigh_kemp ‘s superb rendering of the place here:

Next day we took the tram to the outskirts of the city, to visit the Botanic Garden at Meise. Belgium is divided into two main language zones: in Brussels and the south they speak French, but here in the capital’s hinterland everyone speaks Dutch. Luckily I have both languages, having worked for years in The Hague, but it soon became apparent that the Dutch (or properly, Flemish) spoken in Flanders is considerably different from the Dutch of the Netherlands, despite the fact that they are essentially identical when written. But I muddled through!


What do you think?

19 Points


  1. I thought I was captivated by the beautiful skyline on one of the photos but the water lily leaves are the best. They are incredible I could not believe their shape and form.

    • It is a wonderful city, and it was great to get some “southern” weather while I was there 🙂

      As you can see in the post, When I typed @leigh_kemp it automatically made a link to that user’s profile, but I doubt if it sent him a notification (although I can’t be sure), so it’s not really tagging – more linking. However, we can’t even do that in a comment yet!

  2. Wow, I am speechless. So glad to see you post a story again, I have always loved your photography, and I have missed you wifes smiles. The video was so amazing, what a garden. I found myself trying to ID the plants before she showed the plagues. lol I have a few of these fuzzy plants with the red rims in my yard. I had NO idea they got that big, I am going to have to transplant them. Im kind of glad quizzes are down, ha ha. Thanks for the great tour (s)

    • LOL, Kim, your encouragement is very welcome, but I pretty much stopped taking photos back in August! I hope it’ll come back to me, as I got a lot of enjoyment out of it. This was a fun trip, packed tight with visiting, eating and drinking. The Botanic Garden really was a high point, which I’m glad we saved for the last day. Rachel will be very happy to hear your remarks about her video 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed this! Plus in my book, I am calling this one a perfect norman. I did not miss a single question!!!!!!

    In all seriousness, great post your pictures were and are amazing. I really enjoyed the second sunset post and the botanical garden pictures!