To me it certainly seemed that this was the first sunny Sunday in ages. Hence, quickly the map, a bottle of water and some biscuits in the bag pack; plus the camera and everything to fix a flat tire and off I went to la Hulpe.
Or to be more precisely to Château de la Hulpe – a bit more than 1:30 hour cycling South of Brussels. Though I certainly enjoyed the park and seeing the castle, the most beautiful part of the trip were the long alleys of beeches, sunshine filtering through trees and the silence on the less popular ways.
To pick up chestnuts on the way home and roast them in the oven was the cherry on top of this beautiful day. If you see what I mean.
La Maison des Cyclistes is offering some really good services – free bicycle repair, renting and guided tours. Last Saturday, I did one of those and it was great. They do it on all kinds of topics covering various aspects of Brussels history and geography: Beer and Breweries, Art Nouveau, Castles and Abbeys, Tervuren and Leopold II, etc. etc.
As always, there has to be a downside to it which in this case is 1) tours are in French or Dutch and 2) the guy at the counter of la maison des cyclistes is not the most helpful person ever. He needs to be given V-E-R-Y precise instructions. Asking for bicycle maps for Brussels doesn’t get you anything; asking for one covering the green ring (aka Promenade verte) around Brussels neither. Until I was told by the guide that there is a map indicating all pistes cyclables and the green ring. This one he had after – for 1 euro.
aka 36 hours in Brussels. Let’s see:
- Beers on the Grand Place – Trappist in Le Roi d’Espagne – Done
- Stew in Les Brassins – Done, done, done. And yes, I life in the street where Audrey Hepburn was born.
- Jazzy Bars… though the bar sounds kind of interesting.
- Break for Art Nouveau – Horta Museum – done. Pas mal… though not worth 7 euro in my point of view. I’d rather advice the Museum des Beaux Arts. 2 euro more for much more value.
- Moules et Frites – I know the second restaurant but not the first. On the to-do list.
- Yeah Flea market in Les Marolles.
- Any Belgian chocolate is good. The best is actually Côte d’Or chocolate spread; yamee.
- Royal Cuisine – … a tiny bit beyond my budget
- Midnight club – On the to-do-list.
- Le pain quotidien is way overpriced. Much better is the Sunday brunch in Le Belga – Flagey square.
- Château de la Hulpe – on my to-do-list since I bought the bike last summer. Seems like a really nice place to go.
I don’t know how they put that list together but if you really have bit more than 36 hours in Brussels (and enough pocket money), it is not a bad itinerary to start with.
Good mood and good weather were hardly ever dependent on eachother in my life until I moved to Brussels. I still haven’t found a graph proving my theory that it rains particularly often on weekend; but here I always fell like having to use every itzy bit of good weather; you’ll never know when you see the sun again.
This, a recent need to be more activ and the wish to know more of Brussels made me participate in the rollerparade – a 4 hour inline scating tour throughout the city. Actually, only the south-western part of it – Uccle. On a not to warm Friday night, this is one of the best things to do to discover streets, places and areas, you’d never have found by yourself and probably won’t find again if you try. However, it was very well organised, fun and exhausting. Especially for someone who does know how to break but isn’t an expert.
One of the things to do or not to do on a particularly cold, rainy and grey August night (sic!) is a boat trip on the Brussels canal. The less light, the more enigmatic the countryside.
I can’t help it but I think to call a boat ‘Relationship’ is pretty cool…
In the last two years, I hardly ever missed having a bike. Two months ago though, the feeling of lacking something got stronger and stronger so that I finally got a second hand bicycle on my preferred flea market.
I only went on a few rides but can already say that it was worth every single cent. The distances you can cover, the possibility to easily get out of the city and to discover new areas and places – all this is absolutely delightful.
One of the best things I discovered is La promenade verte; a green ring around Brussels of a total length of over 60 kilometers leading through gardens, parks and forests. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!
Brussels being Brussels the map for the trip is out of stock all over town but the online documentation is pretty good. For now, I’m busy doing the 7 étapes one by one but one of my plans for this year is to do the whole tour in a day.
In Brussels, it is always worth looking left and right, up and down. Once in a while, you then discover little jewels among the concrete of the 70’s and 80’s like this very old door on avenu Charleroi. As you can see from the stone frame around, the rest of the building is probably not even half as old.
Don’t ask me why but I like old wooden doors.