It sucks that you think that where I’m from is wack, but as long as that’s enough to keep your ass from coming back.


Bill Bryson, in his very funny travel book ‘Neither Here nor There’ has this to say about Brussels:

“Brussels is a seriously ugly place, full of wet litter, boulevards like freeways and muddy building sites. It is a city of grey offices and faceless office workers, the briefcase capital of Europe. It has fewer parks than any city I can think of, and almost no other features to commend it- no castle on a hill, no mountainous cathedral, no street of singularly elegant shops, no backdrop of snowy peaks, no fairy-lighted seafront.

Bryson is truthful, but not entirely accurate, in this case.

Brussels is in fact a very charming city full of pleasant little cobbled side streets and some beautiful parks (including the excellent one located a 45 second walk from our front door). As well it’s got a great cafe culture for the drinking of delicious beers and mediocre coffee, as well as some excellent museums. Every other weekend is a huge arts festival and all summer long there’s going to be a drive in theatre located at the Parque Cinquintennaire. There’s daily flea markets and a weekly organics market around the corner, decent clubs, a big skate park… and so on.

And one of the best things about Brussels that I’m already appreciating and expect will enjoy more and more as we head into tourist season, is that Brussels isn’t a big draw on every tourists agenda. Sure one might pass through for a day or two on the way somewhere more beautiful, romantic, charming and famous, and you may even be impressed by the BRX, but it’s never going to be a destination in and of itself.

And after 18 months of tour guiding in Rome and lining up daily for the Vatican Museum and/or the Colosseum and or traipsing through the hot hot tourists spots, I’m glad to be in a city strangely devoid of such big ticket monuments, and the crowds that come with. It’s still got old-world charm, only much less so than any other European capital you care to name and that charm is much more dissipated and hidden. But to my mind that’s what makes it great. That and the fries.