In the end I didn’t get the job in Brussels. But a few weeks later I secured myself a pretty good job in Paris (located, literally, at the end of my street), so all’s well that ends well.
But I felt that I could easily live in Brussels. As I walked the streets, the words that popped into my head to describe the city’s vibe were “relaxed and loose” as opposed to “tense and high strung” that is Paris. There’s an appealing quirkiness to the place and it’s cheaper than France. Oh, and did I mention that Belgian beer is awesome?
So in the Spring I returned and stayed at the same B&B, The Sweet Brussels. Here’s my room, the bathroom and the building’s exterior:
I wandered over to the nearby Marolles district to check out the flea market and the vintage furniture shops on the rue Blaes:
The weather forecast predicted rain all weekend. It was the exact opposite.
The best fries!
Belgian fries are awesome. Crisp, non-greasy and piping hot for 2 euros. I bought these from a food truck, called a fritkot, located on the Place de la Chapelle at the foot of a white cathedral. Belgians eat their fries with mayonnaise. I asked for malt vinegar but they didn’t have any, so I ate them plain, sprinkled with salt. Sit on a park bench, wash ’em down with a bottle of beer and life is good! It doesn’t take much to please this girl.
From the Place de la Chapelle I walked straight down the boulevard de l’Empereur to the Place Albertine where I went in January. I wanted to see the park again. Look at the contrast between winter and spring:
What a difference sunshine and warm weather makes. As the day drew to a close, I headed back to the B&B. A few doors up is a Moroccan pastry shop that makes pastilla: phyllo-pastry pie filled with shredded chicken, ground almonds, cinnamon and sugar. They also make Moroccan breads and pastries. I purchased some small fragrant cakes (flavored with anise and orange flower water) then retired to my room to sip herbal tea and watch a DVD.
It should be known that this neighborhood near the train station is kind of gritty (but relatively safe.) The advantage is that it’s within walking distance to everywhere.