Friday, August 30, 2013

Brussels, the terrible child of Europe

Brussels is a complex city. It's too easy to see only the bad sides. Unlike other cities I've lived in, Brussels isn't kind. It's brutally honest. It doesn't take you by the hand to show you the brightest jewels. It rather throws you deep into the water without as much as asking if you know how to swim. You're on your own, you have to find your way. It's dark and cold and distant.

"Decipher me or I will devour you" is how Brussels spoke to Brazilian photographer Vincente de Mello and how it speaks to many others. It leaves you alone and confused but with a choice. Are you going to dive in and discover or merely try to swim your way out?

It's been two years since I moved to Brussels and after being lost in deep waters for a while, I've come to realize it got under my skin. I love this city. It's loud, chaotic, sometimes dirty but so alive and colorful. And always full of surprises.

It's easy to stumble upon a concert or exhibition in a park, enjoy all those cute hidden pubs that serve really great non-industrial beer and amazing cheese. I love walking through metro stations that smell like fresh waffles and observe all the bureaucratic chaos. And then there's free jazz festivals, old cinemas that play silent films and oh my Marx, there is food. Honestly, I've never eaten so well in my whole life.

I took my time to get to know Brussels and we share our secret moments, whether enjoying the magnificent view of the city from Kunstberg and Justitiepaleiswhere you can breathe in the city and feel its' pulse, or trying to understand how the public transport works. The city has so much to offer and give and it won't disappoint those, who are wiling to engage with it and give it a fair chance. And you know what? It deserves it.

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