Brussels with my friend

This post is also available in: polski (Polish)

It starts at the Gare Du Midi station, where I get off the spray-painted train and immediately run to buy a clasic waffle with sugar. Trains to Amsterdam, Paris, and London whistle in the background. But I only want to be in Brussels. This is where I came to meet my friend halfway.

The gray viaduct from which I see the city at first. Decorative domes are rare here. Blue, lime, and pink stripes gleam on the brick building. Oh, how is chilled out French language I wish I could understand. Old and new trams with leather seats. Murals bloom like trees.

The Brussels cat is yellow this time and is baring its teeth from the wall of a building in Les Marolles, the district that attracts us the most. It is full of cafes, wine bars, and vintage shops. But above all, there is a cozy atmosphere with freedom here.

On the streets we pass people wearing masks of foxes, wolves, birds, and other wild animals. Two local girls tell us that “Carnaval Sauvage” / Wild Carnival, is taking place. It is an autonomous festival and a rebellious tradition in this Brussels antiques district, dating back to the 1969 protest. It was then that, for the first time, local residents protested against their displacement from this space.

This niche Brussels festival is therefore an opposition to bruksselization. That is, demolishing old local spaces with character and replacing them with funcitonal but soulless buildings.

Anarchic joy fills the place du Jeu de Balle, where participants light a large bonfire and dance to the rhythm of drums. We observe everything from the equally revolutionary restaurant Le Chaff, and then we join the crowd.

Nothing has changed, just like twenty years ago, we are full of ideals. Here and now, we believe that life is about being completely present in its fleeting moments.

Yes, it’s possible, we’ve known each other for 35 years and we still like to do the same things. We take tram number 44 just to run through the forest and get off at the road to Antwerp. But, then we change to other trams and travel through the Ixcelles district, famous for its Art Nouveau buildings and small squares with fountains. To finally end up at the Urban Art Center on Rua Roosendae in the Forest district for a graffiti exhibition.

We immerse ourselves in the fluorescence in such an urban Brussels, which sometimes resembles Wrocław, or Gdańsk Wrzeszcz, or some other city you know. And that is why it became the capital of Europe.

Just like in the old days, we wander the streets day and night not knowing what we will discover. Maybe the big tin gate of the synagogue, or the fact that the stops in Brussels are named after: Luisa, Stefania, Albert, Rogier (…)

There are red tulips in the window of the tiny and atmospheric MG Boutique winery. You stir the coffee with a flat spoon like you’ve never seen before. And Belgian fries seem to be the most delicious in the world.

The owner of the Renard Noir bar on Rua Haute comes from Armenia and speaks Serbian. The light sparkles with colors above our heads. We make the same faces in photos.

It was a wonderful two days. We pack chocolates in our suitcases. The city doesn’t sleep at all at five in the morning. The metro arrives at Luisa station too punctually. I miss you already. The world is full of magical things. It’s easy, all you need to do is want to see you so badly and then get on a plane and listen to Jacques Brel’s songs the whole way.

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