While the rest of the city is out of town for their holidays, we’ve been out and about in Brussels, enjoying no waits at restaurants, “less” traffic, and mostly beautiful weather. Our past two weekends in Brussels have been spent exploring and relaxing, which is just what we needed to get to know our neighborhood a little better and prepare for some upcoming travel plans. We’ve explored more of Bois de la Cambre on our runs and by bike, Parc Tenbosch with BYO wine and dinner in the park, the restaurants of Châtelain, and the commune of Uccle for gelato because we’re on a mission to find the best ice cream in Brussels.
We did manage to sneak in a quick day trip to Antwerp when we had off for Assumption Day last Wednesday. Days off in the middle of the week sure feel weird, but we seized the opportunity to explore a new-to-us part of Belgium. Antwerp was very walkable and we had no problem finding our way around for the ½ day we visited, but we both agreed that we’ve visited other cities that had more to offer. That being said, we were there on a holiday so there were some store and museum closures, so I wouldn’t mind going back, if nothing else to experience some Antwerp shopping. We did have a delicious lunch at a café and our stop at the De Koninck brewery for beer samples was a cool way to end the day.
This past weekend, we ventured into the city center to the Grand Place where the biennial Flower Carpet was on display. This year the theme or inspiration was from the Mexican region of Guanajuato and the carpet was constructed with 500,000 dahlias and begonias that covered the ground in the Grand Place. Each carpet draws inspiration from a different theme, but regardless, it’s best viewed from the City Hall balcony where you can appreciate the full design and colors.
I capped off this weekend with an exploratory walk around the neighborhood on Sunday evening, which is definitely helping me get to know the area (but I’m still very reliant on my Google Maps). I’m always surprised by what is tucked into small storefronts and hidden in parks around the city. So much exploring to be done in these next two years!