Oh dear. I’m not off to a very good start. I’ve uploaded all my flagged photos on Brussels . . . and there are 57 of them! I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be able to fit in everything I want to show you about this wonderful city.
We started our tour from this point and went straight to the Marché Saint-Géry.
The interesting thing about this is that Brussels used to sit on a series of rivers, like Venice. But the water was rather stagnant and contributed to a lot of diseases, so they covered the river with solid ground. (It was called the Senne, pronounced like Paris’ Seine).
Now in this little courtyard of the hotel is the only place where the Senne is still visible and uncovered. Cool huh? There was a Parisian with us who said, “I’ve lived in Brussels for over 20 years and even I didn’t know there was a place where you could still see the river.”
We walked towards Sainte-Catherine’s church and came across this street with a restaurant selling traditional Belgian food. (Although my friend Céline said to go to the Place Jourdan and eat fries at Maison Antoine).
The belfry served as a watchtower to keep an eye out for invasions; the townsfolk were notified by the ringing of the bells. Right across the street from Sainte-Catherine you see some row houses that are very Belgian – tall, narrow, and stuck together.
This is all that’s left of those riverways that brought commerce into the city.
The funny thing about Brussels is the architecture – let me tell you what I mean. It’s one of the few places where you can still see residences shacked up against the church wall (which was very common in the Middle Ages).
Real Estate reigns and you will find a modern building built right around an old piece of history. This is a part of the wall and they didn’t want to tear it down, but they didn’t want to lose some valuable space in which to build property. So they built right around it.
A flashback to the 1970′s.
But my Belgian friend looks at it like this – you never know where you’re going to stumble onto a treasure in Brussels. You have to search for it, the same way you search for the hidden treasures in a friend.
And there are lots of cute little restaurants that are located down small stone pathways. You just have to look.
Stately, ornate, gorgeous – Brussels.
PS * My friend sent an e-mail to let me know that the King’s Palace is not located in the Grande Place. She sent me a photo of the palace and it’s magnificent. But elsewhere.
PPS If you haven’t already, do leave a comment in my giveaway post to try for a $50 gift certificate for a fair trade company called Novica. The giveaway ends Friday. I’ve been very hectic this week and a little silent in responding to people, but things should be back to normal by next week. Lots of love.