Let's start off saying that I don't fall down anymore. Anyone who knows me, knows that I had my ankle rebuilt several years ago, so I don't fall down AND am not as clutzy as everyone thought I was. But more on that later!
They say to really appreciate Brussels, you have to know what is going in Brussels. My mom told me last night, from approximately 7671 kilometers away, that some streets would be closed in Brussels today! Gotta love the Internet, so I decided to head out to a place I read about.
The Sunday market by the South Train station. I paid my fare, decided to buy a full day hop on hop off fare ( gonna save me some $$) and took the metro to the market. I didn't get a picture from within the market because it was so crowded you could barely lift your arms and I was watching my bag closely. The market has everything! It is pretty big and curls around several streets. The vendors are hawking their wares and people are loading up on fresh veggies, fruit, shoes, meat, fish and clothes.
So, I ducked into this charming tea house and had a petit pan and cafe russo…which is like a latte, but without the foam. The waiters were coming and going and there was a lot of gesturing. Surpringly, the only tea on the menu was mint, lemon or with milk. Not much of a tea house!
After my little breakfast I decided that since it is a lovely sunny day I would go back on the metro to the other side of town and see the botanical gardens. But where was the metro? Apparently where I was, was no longer part of my map. And then I saw a train! So following it (with my eyes, I was not running after the train) I was able to get the general idea of where the station was.
I noticed the metro was extremely busy. That's when I found out it was a freebie day on the metro! In celebration of some event (more on that later too). So I got to the garden. See the lovely building in the picture? Looks like a botanical conservatory doesn't it? Well, it is not. It now houses a theater. At least there was no charge! So I went to the gardens. Again, they were surprisingly plain and there was garbage lying around and the fountain (which is prominently displayed on the map) was well, see for yourself:
Empty! Okay so out of all the fountains I have seen in Brussels, only one, and that was the little peeing boy, is operating! They must have some significant budgetary issues.
I get thru the rest of the park which is a bit wilder and included a green pond with ducks, so it was automatically nicer, and found a metro station.
I will go to Atomonium!! Apparently so will every parent and couple as well, the metro is free today!
Now for the falling part. While heading towards the stairs leading up out of the station, along with the people, bikes, strollers, rollerbladers, skateboarders and kids (this is going to be a run on sentence), a little boy about 5 broke free of his parents (I am assuming, as they were behind me) and darted in front of me. In an attempt to not squash the little sweetie, I stopped, but the man behind me and behind him did not..so I got a push from behind and in a further attempt to not fall on kid, hit my shoulder on the wall, and went down anyways. Everyone was apologetic, but I had a funny feeling in my left shoulder, as in I couldn't lift my arm, which was disconcerting. It didn't feel broken but I was suddenly dizzy and couldn't get up. I convinced one of the men who had bumped into me to pull it for me and I heard a click and the feeling started to come back! So now I am nursing a very sore shoulder, which has taken my mind off my knee! 🙂
This is Atomonium. Built in 1950 something for a worlds fair. It houses futuristic design items. I did not go in! Too many stairs and really too many people so I had a snack, took some pain killers and sat outside watching the people. And there we a lot of them, on bikes, more bikes than one would normally see in Brussels (I think). I wandered down towards all the bikes and found a start and finish line, a lot of bikes with numbers and a banner that loosely translated looked like it said “it's a fine day for a bike ride”
There were beer stands (they don't put be in gardens, the children can run amongst the beer swilling grown-ups) food kiosks, energy savings kiosks (seemed to be a big theme)
I decided it was time to return back. So did everyone else. I had to stand for 3 stops on the metro before I got a seat! Not any easy feat with one leg in a brace and one arm too sore to hold on. But I made it!
When I got back to my lodging's neighborhood, the street parties were in full swing. Every few blocks the street is barricaded and there is music going on. Most shops are closed but I found one and grabbed a couple of beers (it is going to be that kind of night). I headed back!
Brussels is not growing on me. There are some cool sights, but it seems strange. The people are nice enough. Tomorrow I am going to go to Bruges, which is in Belgium. To prep myself and have a bit of RnR I decided to download and watch the movie “In Bruges” which was described as a dark comedy. There were funny parts, but it was twisted and a bit sad. How appropriate! Still, having a great time!