Sunday, March 08, 2015

We even have the sun in Belgium

"We even have the sun in Belgium" - that's what a colleague says every time the sun appears, which is actually more often than the dire stories about Brussels weather would have you believe. He also says "see you later alligator, after a while crocodile" (yes, both halves) almost every time he leaves a room.

While winter wasn't particularly onerous this year - I think it snowed three or four times here, without really sticking - I am a happy camper because Spring is most definitely springing! Today it was sunny and 16 degrees, perfect weather to explore the EU quarter and even enjoy an icecream in the park.

Buildings around the Schuman/Ambiorix/Marie-Louise area

Lots of countries have their embassies around Marie-Louise Square, although I don't know if this is one

The EU parliament building

Parc Leopold II

Place Marie-Louise - I looked at an apartment in one of the (less attractive) buildings facing the square. Spacious but pricey!

Statue in Place Marie-Louise

Did you know there's a piece of the Berlin Wall outside the EU parliament?
Yesterday was also nice, and we started off the day with a visit to the newly-opened Chagall exhibition at the Musée des Beaux Arts. This runs until the end of June, so if you're planning a trip to Brussels in the next few months, it's worth a look. It includes over 200 works, so definitely substantial without being overwhelming. There were a few too many people there, on the second weekend it's been open, but not too crowded. And since we're friends of the museum, we got to go for free :) Our favourite works were the series of illustrations he did for the fables of La Fontaine - I'm currently in the middle of collecting a faience dinner series also featuring the fables, so it was cool to see them in a different medium. I'm just sorry they didn't have prints of them for sale in the gift shop!

One of the illustrated fables. Source
After the museum, we walked down to Place Saint Catherine to try Ellis Gourmet Burger; Pretty good, although I had a bit of burger envy since I think Jules's bacon burger was a touch tastier than my chicken burger. I was too scared to order the bacon burger since in these fancy places I always worry they'll come out bloody unless I order well done, in which case it'll probably be fried to a crisp. But Jules's medium-cooked burger was actually fine.

We were also in the neighbourhood last week, to grab a bite at Nordzee (quality was a bit off this time) and do some shopping. We used to drive in to the centre, but this week and last we took the metro and it is actually really fun to wander around on foot and not have to worry about parking and finding our way (particularly for poor Jules). It was sunny last weekend too, and we walked up from Saint-Catherine to the Mont des Arts. Brussels isn't walkable the way somewhere like Tours is, of course, but it is actually really easy to walk around large chunks of the centre. Yay for compact European capitals!

View of Brussels from the Mont des Arts

The Old England building, which now houses a museum of musical instruments

On the tenth floor of the museum is a terrace which you can access without paying for the museum. We went up and took some photos, but it was really crowded and smelt like eggs, so we didn't stay for a drink. Maybe if you're looking for a spot to chill mid-week though

Buildings on the way up the Mont des Arts

Going back in time a little bit, the most notable things to happen in my life of late (explaining the radio silence on the blog) are that Jules fixed my shower - THANK GOD, because I suffered through a whole winter of a shower with all the power of the Mannekin Pis and frequent cold spells thrown in to boot. If only I'd known that all it needed was the head changing, we would have done it long ago! But I thought it must be something more serious (plus it got steadily worse over time), since I still don't understand how that affected the temperature?? And thing number two, I got a chic table and bar stools to sit in the corner of my living room so I don't have to always eat my meals on the couch like an animal. (I mostly still eat my meals on the couch like an animal, but I like looking at my fancy new table.) Here it is bedecked with roses and champagne on Valentine's Day (lucky me!)

And just to underline the lovely weather we're having at the moment, a couple of photos of the snow in Luxembourg from a month or so ago. Pretty, but I'll be glad to enjoy some more sunshine and blue skies from now on!

Walking the dogs on a sunny but cold day in Luxembourg

Early-morning panoramic view from Jules's back terrace

 Okay, that's a wrap! I am out of the habit a bit of doing these sorts of everyday posts, but then I thought life in Brussels is not every day for everyone, so maybe some of you will be interested in what there is to see and do in these parts (thinking especially of my mum and sister who will be visiting separately and sans moi over summer!) Very excited for March, trips to Champagne and Tours coming up, followed by Easter travels in Alsace, Freiburg and Lake Constance. Yay!


  1. See you later, alligator is a 90s thing? Oops…

    Yay for a fixed shower! A good shower changes your daily life.

    Yes, everyday life in other places interests me. :) Actually, even people’s everyday lives in cities I know interest me. People can decide how to spend their time in all different ways.

    1. Yes, it makes such a difference (although now it's so strong my bathroom floor is always flooded).

      Yeah, I mean there's no reason me going to a museum or a park is interesting in Rome or wherever but not in Brussels (supposing it's interesting at all). Grocery shopping and doing laundry, not so exciting :)

  2. Lovely photos! I was excited to see the 'Old England' building: "Oooh, I recognise that building!"

    Keep the blogs coming - as you say, it isn't everyday for others. As for places for me to visit - yikes, I will be going no further than I can walk from your apartment, believe me! And yay for Jules fixing the shower - I will appreciate it, haha!

    Mum xxx

    1. Well, plenty of parks and cafés you can walk to if you want! Or just sit on the balcony with some wine x

  3. More like a 50's thing (cultr)

    1. I forgot about that song. I meant as in that's the last time I heard anyone say it, not when it was invented.


Feed the Comment Monster! Rawrrrr