Friday afternoon, after getting out of work, I realized that I’ve already been here three weeks. Three weeks! I feel like I just stepped off that plane yesterday. I wasn’t going to make a bucket list, since I already have one for life (we’ll save that for another post), but then I realized I only have 5-8 more weeks here.
This weekend I knocked off a bunch of them. It was so beautiful out! Saturday morning I set off to find the Marolles flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle. I love wandering around these little markets even if I don’t often take things home. I fell in love with an oil painting of an old fisherman, but I left him alone because he was a little big to cart home in my suitcase. I’m also trying to save up for a trip in August! I feel like I’m vacationing from vacation.
The whole area around Place du Jeu de Balle looks a hundred years older than where I work – you even have to take a glass elevator down from the Palais de Justice into the old city. I also discovered this store with hundreds, if not thousands, of carved African and Indonesian sculptures and beads, it was this quirky little oasis surrounded by general stores and sandwich shops.
In the afternoon, I walked to Parc Cinquentenaire for a picnic, then wandered around looking through the crazy sales Brussels has in July. After my housemate got out of work, she and I and five of our friends walked to the African quarter, Matongé. We had dinner at this delicious little hole in the wall called Soleil Afrique, and let me tell you. I cleaned. my. plate. The whole street is full of Congolese and Cameroonian restaurants, I will most definitely be returning. Afterwards, we skipped over to another patio for espressos (the Italian), martinis (I felt adventurous), and beers (everyone else).
Sunday morning after sleeping in, I met up with Jess at Garde du Midi again. It must have been the weather, but this was more packed than usual. And I mean, elbows up, make sure your feet don’t leave the ground busy. We took the metro downtown for lunch at the Irish Bia Mara, just to eat these fish and chips. Another one for the clean plate club! When I came back I took a nap with my new book in the garden. Heavenly.
Suggestions for things I can’t miss in Brussels are welcomed and/or encouraged. Five weeks? I got thisss.
Brussels Bucket List: Summer 2013 edition
Bia Mara Fish and Chips
Try at least five Belgian beers (so far Leffe and Blanche)
Snag a table for outdoor dining in Place du Luxembourg, minus the smoking
Guinness at Michael Collins, Ave Louise
Coudenberg museum (15th century Brussels ruins)
Eat Congolese food in Matongé, the African quarter Palais de Justice (can I get in? not sure. currently covered in scaffolding.) Vintage market at Place du jeu de Balle
Rits Cafe (Monday movie screenings)
Picnic in Parc du Cinquentenaire
Chaochow City, cheap Chinese food
Buy yourself a pair of shoes, girl.
Intern social at Place de Luxembourg, Thursdays
Non-touristy waffles. And more of the touristy kind too.
Photograph all the graffitti pencils I can find (up to five or six now)
Museum of Musical Instruments
Go to the beach. Any beach. Three tons of sand being dumped in the city center counts.