Since I recently showed you what my old neighbourhood in San Juan looked like, I thought that it might be interesting to show what you might see if you would go for a walk in our part of Brussels. The area we live in is new to both of us, and we are enjoying discovering where to buy bread and cheese, which supermarket is open on Sunday mornings, where to go for dinner – fast food (pizza, frites / pitta or for a proper dinner) etc. Yesterday we found a very popular ice cream place that one of O’s colleagues have recommended – but we only had 80 cents in our pockets so no ice cream for us this time. We have also recently realised that we live in a corner of Brussels where four communes meet (Ixelles, Forest, Uccle and St-Gilles) in a radius of less than two blocks – it is almost like “treriksröset”*😉
However, the photos below aren’t really from the vicinity of our home, i.e no photos of our boulangerie, fromagerie, supermarché etc (those photos haven’t been taken yet…) but from a walk I did in July, from Place Flagey to our home. The walk was about 3 km long and I kept to the same commune, Ixelles, all the time.
A classic Brussels place serving beer and simple dishes until late at night – I haven’t actully been to this bar since the summer of 2002, my first summer in Brussels… Opposite there is a bar that used to be a bank, where I saw the Italy – Sweden game in the Euro 2004 together with lots of Italians (who were not happy about the draw result).
L’église de la Sainte-Trinité which is surrounded by tramlines, boho-chic bars and art nouveau houses… It is quite common in Brussels to find a church at the end of a street, and instead of there being a proper square in front, the churches have become round-abouts!
One of many art nouveau buildings in Brussels (the house to the right). We have been talking about visiting the Horta museum for ages, maybe one of these Sundays when we feel like being cultural (doesn’t happen too often apparently?). For those of you who are wondering why, Victor Horta was the most famous art nouveau architect in Brussels and oh, art nouveau is the same as “jugendstil” in Swedish (and German).
Do you see what is quite unusual with the sign to the left in the picture? It is actually a Greek – gyros – place instead of a Turkish kebab place. In Brussels these fast-food restaurants are known as “pitta” places anyway… In the centre of Brussels, just off the Grand’ Place there is the so-called Pitta street and what is interesting is that on one side (it used to at least, I haven’t been in ages!) there are Greek gyros places, and opposite are the Turkish kebab joints!
I actually got a bit confused in this crossing: a typical Brussels junction of six (!) streets joining, and I wasn’t sure which street to take. As usual, it always is the case when I need it – I couldn’t find a sign with the street names. I thought that I would just check where the tram line went… but four out of six streets had tram lines!
This is how the trams usually look like – yellow and blue! Some lines actually have NEW trams but not here… I always feel sorry for old people, people with prams or just fat persons – the old trams are high to enter and the door entrances aren’t very wide! And forget about it if you are in a wheelchair…
A common sight at the beginning and end of the month – people moving! As the houses in Brussels are so narrow, which means that the staircases are narrow (and nope, no lifts!) people usually have to rent an external elevator to move their belongings. You also have to remember to call the municipality and “rent” (reserve) the parking space outside your building. My friend C did all that when she moved at the end of June, but her commune FORGOT to put out the “no parking-signs” and she had to chase the neighbours to move their cars… She was very upset, especially as the reservation isn’t actually for free (~90 EUR)!
*) A geographic point in the north of Scandinavia where Sweden, Norway and Finland meet.
**) I was trying to walk in the shade…