As I amble along the sidewalks of Brussels, Belgium I try to pay close attention to my local surroundings. The thousand year old city has beautiful architecture buildings and cobblestone streets that set the scene of an old life.
My husband and I stayed in a hotel a couple blocks from the square so everyday I would walk down to get coffee and just sit and watch. The people there seem to have no care, they are welcoming to me and always had a smile on their faces. I felt like I belonged instead of being an outsider.
There are no chain restaurants here, just unique pubs and old mom and pop restaurants. Surrounding the square, there are handmade chocolates, clothes, art and neat crafts. The streets are littered with chairs and tables from local restaurants and the sidewalks are full of color and interesting pictures drawn from the local artists.
The night life is an experience. At 5 the stores close and the workers pour out into the streets for supper. They disappear only to reappear that evening, to enjoy a social gathering at the square that includes dancing, drinking, music and games. The lifestyle here is so much different from the western culture I’ve grown up with. They don’t work 8 hour days, instead they work 5 because their personal time is priceless.
I loved this town. The old buildings survived war, weather and the option of demolition to put up new buildings. Instead, they repair them to keep them in their glory. I would sit for hours and just watch the people and be in awe over the structures that surround me!