Still Living in Brussels

Yesterday my friend, Bec, who lives in the south of the Netherlands hopped a train to visit me in Brussels. I love that I have a social life here in Belgium, and that it’s international!

We didn’t have much of a plan for the day, other than to catch up, eat and drink. Which is just as well really because that’s about all we did! We explored the city a bit and managed to catch a little bit of culture, coming across a random brass band playing the Lion Sleeps Tonight as we wandered through a craft market.

Living in Brussels 003

Then we explored some the drinking establishments of Brussels, whcih I’m sure is still on the tourist and culture trail.

Living in Brussels 004Living in Brussels 006Living in Brussels 007Living in Brussels 008

At one bar we could hear the sounds of Calling Mark (Dire Straits tribute band) as part of the Brussels Summer Festival. I had no idea what they were setting up as I walked through the Place des Palais to meet Bec at the station but, having looked up what was happening, wish I’d been more on the ball as it looks like a great, quite casual, music festival. Still, Bec and I talked so much I’m not sure we would have appreciated a full day at the festival and I’m sure we solved a lot of the world’s problems while we were at it (also, Saturday night  was sold out).

Despite the mild hangover this morning, I still managed to go for a (late) morning run through the park. I can probably thank Lucky for that though as he refused to let me sleep past 8.30 – kept swatting my face and swishing his tail at me until I got up.

Did a bit of tidying up in preparation for Alynn coming back tomorrow (yeah, my Brussels days are almost over) then took myself out to be a tourist. I discovered this morning that the Royal Palace, which is only open between July and September is free! So I took myself off to explore the Hall of Mirrors and some royal rooms.

Living in Brussels 028

If you look closely you can see me in the mirror taking the picture

If you look closely you can see me in the mirror taking the picture

Living in Brussels 021 Living in Brussels 020 Living in Brussels 023

The Museum of Military History is also free so I went there too (love free stuff), passing the European Parliament on the way.

Living in Brussels 029There’s a really big aviation section with some old military aircraft and some weird and wonderful examples of early aeroplanes.

Living in Brussels 035 Living in Brussels 034I think I’m going to miss Brussels. I’m definitely getting more waffles before I leave tomorrow…

Living it up in Brussels

Park du Cinquantenaire

We’ve been in Belgium a week now and so far it suits us fine. We’re still getting up and doing some exercise in the park in the mornings (except for one day when it rained all day long) so I feel pretty good before I start work.

Running through the Park du Cinquantenaire

Running through the Park du Cinquantenaire

Fairy tale tower in the middle of the park

Fairy tale tower in the middle of the park

Brussels - housesitting 023

My cupcake recipe book is coming along. In order to format it properly, I’ve been learning geek stuff like HTML coding. It’s lucky that Barry is here though to explain stuff to me. Although, without him, there is always Google, and Google knows everything, so I might manage this weekend!

It’s not all running and typing though. We walked into town one evening to go out for dinner. So there we were, near the Grand Place, eating mussels in Brussels.

mussels in Brussels

Brussels - housesitting 002

View from the restaurant

Brussels - housesitting 010

We strolled around town watching street performers and, of course, eating waffles. I think they taste best without any adornment – no fruit, no ice cream, no icing sugar, just waffle.

The Grand Place

The Grand Place

Brussels - housesitting 017Brussels - housesitting 016

Barry left for Ireland this morning, for his nephew’s christening, so it’s just Lucky and me here in Belgium. Lucky will probably miss Barry’s cuddles (Barry is more affectionate to the cat than me sometimes!). I certainly missed Barry this morning, when we had an adventure with a mouse. But we survived (the same cannot be said for the mouse I’m afraid).

Hopefully tomorrow morning is not so eventful.

Housesitting in Brussels

We are no longer homeless. We arrived in Brussels on Saturday and met Alynn and her cat, Lucky, in a small but nice studio apartment in Ixelles, close to the city centre. Alynn is now in Italy for a work conference/workshop and we are in charge of her apartment and cat until next weekend. We found Alynn through and this could be the start of a new lifestyle. There are housesitting opportunities all over the world (we are hoping for somewhere even more exotic next time) and it’s a great way to live like a local on a budget (as you know, for me that means not paying rent).

So far, we’re doing things we found excuses not to do in Edinburgh. Every morning we jog down to the park, do some sprints and push ups and stuff, then slowly jog home for showers and breakfast. I feel pretty good and as though I have achieved something before work.Then we get stuck into the work. I think Barry has been quite productive and I’ve made progress on writing a cupcake recipe book. I thought it was time to start writing my recipes instead of eating all the cake. I intend to publish it as an ebook on Kindle. Watch this space.

Looking into the apartment from the backyard, with Barry working

Looking into the apartment from the backyard, with Barry working

The backyard

The backyard

Simone, working

Simone, working

We go for a stroll in the afternoon sun to break up the day. Today we stopped for a banana and kiwi milkshake and I’m sure tomorrow’s walk will include something naughty (I haven’t had my fill of waffles yet).

If we’re productive enough in the afternoon the evenings are our own.  To do Belgium things like drink beer.

Oh, and we feed and water the cat, keep him company and give him cuddles.

Lucky (he doesn't like my singing though...I should be so...)

Lucky (he doesn’t like my singing though…I should be so…)


Homeless: first stop, Bruges

Barry has rented out his flat for the Edinburgh Festival so, without a roof over our heads, we’ve hit the road. We arrived in Brussels yesterday and, with two days before our housesitting assignment starts, we took the train to Bruges/Brugge. It’s a beautiful, renovated, medieval style city. Very touristy but very relaxed. Also hot and sunny, which is nice (it started raining in Edinburgh a few days ago and has barely stopped).

Bruges 001

We’ve been very relaxed too and have spent most of our time wandering the cobblestoned streets, chilling out under trees in parks, eating waffles and chocolate. There are a few museums here but I’m content to spend my time outside.

Bruges 013

Bruges 010

Bruges 017

We have both been doing a bit of work today – Barry on Ezone stuff and I’m writing a cupcake recipe book. But after Berlin and realising that Europe does not have an abundance of free wifi, we haven’t been too stressed about getting online. Our experience of Bruges cafes so far are for eating not working (fair enough really).

But with the great weather and some offline work, the city is our oyster (or is our mussel here?). Right now, I’m writing this as we sit in a park by one of the many canals.

Bruges 024

Oh, yeah. I’m unemployed again. But I don’t seem to mind. Off for a beer now.

Bruges 008