Brussels with its wonderful bakeries and whole host of beers.
On this years Easter weekend we visited Brussels staying next to Place Jourdan next to Parc Leopold and the European district .
Place Jourdan is famous for its cafes, bars and restaurants, for Maison Antoine, the frituur in the centre of the square and its Sunday market. This Spring, the square is under construction and currently undergoing a transformation so that cars park below the square and there is more space for pedestrians and tables from the cafes across the square – Maison Antoine has already moved to a new building on the square. Here you can buy frites and eat them in many of the surrounding bars and cafes. On Sundays there is a market and while the square is being renovated the stalls are setup along the streets which run from Place Jourdan – they sell everything from organic honey to flowers, oysters and champagne to many varieties of mushrooms. We went to the bakery Au Vatel for breakfast – with its fabulous croissants, pastries and superb cakes.
On the Friday evening we were passing the Cultural Centre in pedestrian part of Chausee de Wavre and saw that Lakha Khan, a sitar player from Rajasthan, was playing that night so we picked up some tickets – from outside the cultural centre looks like a building from the eighties but inside it’s a beautiful hall from perhaps the late 19th/
early 20th century with its art nouveau ceiling glass.
Round the corner from Place Jourdan in Rue Froissart is a wonderful second hand book store – Bouquinerie Thomas – full of bookshelves – a ceiling to floor collection of
books catalogued and ordered in categories from travel books to autobiographies and from English language books to magazines and photographic picture books.
Its an amazing place and somewhere you could spend many hours looking around. We came away with a few.
On Saturday, the rain held off and we joined a Marching walk in Roosdaal in Pajottenland. The mud filled walk looped round Roosdaal, past a dyke with WWII bunkers and along the Dender river.
On Easter Sunday the rain returned and we walked up to the Parc de Cinquantenaire with the impressive triumphal arch but it also has an amazing army museum next to it.
The museum has an impressive collections of exhibits ranging from the Belgian revolution to uniforms and through to firearms manufactured in Belgium – and there is a hangar with a vast array of aeroplanes and helicopters.
There are also a number of small exhibitions, one of which is Treasures of the Russian Empire – smuggled out of Russia by Imperialists and were donated firstly to an archive in Corbevoie in a suburb of Paris and then transported to this museum in Brussels