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!
The evening we arrived, there was the most amazing sunset! The image above has not been edited in any way. I just pulled in tight on the zoom. It was taken from our fifth-floor apartment, at the top of an old building with narrow stairs and no lift ? Here is the wider view from our dormer window, across the city rooftops:
Here’s an 18-second clip, courtesy of my wife, that will give you a clearer idea of the charm of this little park: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6KQrWjn2pU
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 ?
You might recognise this square from @leigh_kemp ‘s superb rendering of the place here: https://virily.com/art/two-nights-brussels-21-seasons-end/
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!