Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Each year in September there is one Sunday without any car in Brussels. The different municipalities and Brussels center is closed to cars, except of course emergency, taxis and police cars.

and so it looked like on the big boulevards surrounding the city.

I took the bus in Waterloo and went into what once had been Brussels' heart. The oldest area of Brussels which I had known in my youth very well. There were lots of very  old houses, original Brussels' and Spanish restaurants, little theatres and the whole area had a special atmosphere.

I didn't recognize anything it was as if I was in another city. The old houses had disappeared and my Spanish restaurant where I used to dance flamenco alone on the table, had vanished too. Anyway now at my old age I wouldn't dance flamenco on a table anymore.

I walked and walked direction Grand'Place saw a ruin which now they try to save by all means, but there was not written what it was, only that there will be apartments around (modern of course)

Just opposite the Ursuline's hospital (I don't know if it's still open) is now a place for Skaters !

I mean it's nice to do something for the youth but still ... why there ?

The summit was that I found myself suddenly in the middle of an Afghanistan demonstration. Without thinking I took pictures and then I thought now they will kill me, but not at all they even invited me to take more pictures. It was for the good cause. They had a lot of space walking on the free boulevard.

Finally I crossed the Flea Market which takes place each Sunday and they were just busy to clean it and load their trucks. But all Brasseries, Bistros and cafés were full and people sitting on the street.

I approached the Grand' Place, and was surprised that I was still alive, as the bikers didn't respect the driving rules at all, drove on the sidewalks, didn't pay attention to the red lights or even worse drove in the wrong direction. In the evening in the News I heard that there had been more accidents then normally with cars ! Not very important once but still. Little kids were driving around without paying any attention and I wondered where the parents were.

On the Grand Place was a Folklore Festival.

and the buildings looked so pretty. Brussels city must have won in the lottery or maybe recuperated some of the defrauded money from some politicians, as the buildings had been freshly repainted in "gold" ! It looked really beautiful. The months we could only admire scaffolds were over !

Of course the Giants of Brussels were there and the community of the moustaches too !

People were watching folklore dances and beer flowed freely in gallons, (not free of course)

What I missed was the royal family showing up on bikes. It hadn't been programmed at all, they just came spontaneously. The 4 children had Brussels waffles and the Queen drank a beer. ! I just imagined "The Queen" and Prince Philip.

A few cm shorter because of all this walking and jumping aside to avoid the killer bikes, I took my bus and went home.


Cezar and Léia said...

You got awesome pictures! I love this initiative ( idea ), it was a great event! :)
We thought to go to Brussels to walk on the city and enjoy the day (by train), but it was cold and bad weather in the morning, at least here. :(
So we decided to go to visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Rotterdam ( they have design exhibition and Marina asked me some pictures ).
Thanks for sharing your pictures! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Gattina .. great to be able to visit Brussels without any traffic - well forgetting the bikes!

Lovely to see .. and I'm so pleased the new King and Queen are supporting Brussels life ..

Looks a fun day - cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

What a great idea. And I love that skate park!

Linens and Royals said...

Thank you, I almost felt I was walking beside you though I would never and have never danced flamenco on a table or anywhere. I think I have missed something in my life because of it. The new King and Queen aren't wearing bike helmets which is the law here.

Anonymous said...

It was the same here last sunday, the european sunday free of cars and it was nice to walk through my city as well

Fun60 said...

Loved your visi to the city. Recognised a few of the places but I know what you mean about the bikes. Enjoyed reading about your exploits.

Kay L. Davies said...

I know you, and I'd bet you would still dance the flamenco if you were wearing a flamenco dress, and people were cheering for you! Maybe not on a table, however.
Interesting to see Brussels without cars. I think I like it like that, but I can't get very far without a taxi.
Enjoyed your photos very much.
Luv, K

Loree said...

I enjoyed the tour. It's so nice to see a place without cars. I think cars get in the way and spoil beautiful photos.

diane b said...

That is a great idea, a car free day. Pity the bike riders weren't more careful though. Thanks for the tour, it is a very interesting and beautiful city with lots to do on this day. You were a wild one, dancing on the tables.

diane b said...

That is a great idea, a car free day. Pity the bike riders weren't more careful though. Thanks for the tour, it is a very interesting and beautiful city with lots to do on this day. You were a wild one, dancing on the tables.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I think that's a lovely idea (in spite of the problems). Eugene Oregon does something similar but only in one small area of the city at a time, on a few Sundays during the summer. I meant to go but make it. (I love the way you just go ahead and do stuff! and take the best pictures of it!!)

Of course I believe that everything you say is the complete truth, but did you really dance flamenco on those tables?

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

PS: Very cool about your King and Queen.

A Lady's Life said...

I like the car free day idea.
Wish we had a day like that.

And the pics are great Too bad Mr G is missing it all.These are nice memories you could have together.

Do you not have the electric cars?
Here every one is driving them but even with a nice wheel chair he should be fine. This way he can walk and sit.

Unknown said...

Hello Gattina,

I've finally started blogging again.

Love your pictures and the repainted buildings look beautiful.

Yes, cyclists can be a right pain in the proverbial. Some of them think the road rules are or everyone else!

I hope you are well.

lisa lewicki hermanson said...

What a great tradition (Perhaps minus motorcycles) and what a complete sightseeing day. Feel like i have been.


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I love writing, traveling and photography. . I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.


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