Brussels, capital of Belgium, isn’t an ordinary city. It’s easy to guess, but a little less to visualize. All you have to do is close your eyes.
At the first impression, Brussels is made of huge and grey towers. Behind the bus’s window, the buildings seem to be competing with each other, to find out who will be the highest. Looks like we landed in New York. “Oh, there is the Empire State Building!” And you’re not out of surprises.
Because Brussels is also the heart of Europe. Who have you ever thought that the Parliament looks bigger in real life than it does on television? Behind this flag full of stars, there are people, who come here everyday to work. Almost as secure as a prison, you need a good motive, and very well explained one, to be allowed inside. Hidden between the walls, Dutch, French and English voices, but also those of the other national languages resonate. There’s almost a sign language translator missing here… *Shush!* The Queen of the Belgians is coming. Quickly, replace the blue carpet with red. It would be better to avoid the diplomatic incident.
Even with all its magnitude, before European Union, there were Brussels. The concrete has given way to paving stones. The old red brick constructions learned how to survive while the city transformed itself. And, even though there isn’t a specific “heart of the town”, you can get lost and enjoy its several other historical squares spreaded throughout the region. Grand-Place, is one of those places. Just be careful with your eyes! The buildings shine with thousand of lights.
However, in the shadow, Brussels begs. Under the entrance of department stores, dozens of families gather to scape from the cold. Close to midnight and you can see small kids begging for money in the main streets. They don’t receive much attention, since the locals and the tourists already got used to that scene and quickly avoid to look into their eyes. For tonight, these people will have to sleep only with the smell of the waffles and chocolate.
They may not have your nationality, Brussels, but will you open your doors to them?