The first visit

Brussels

To see European Commission Complex

Returning from my first visit, in 1971, I wrote by the turning of the century:

Yes, I know that, as an European citizen, I’m ruled from Brussels. 
Yes, I know that it is important, but… I don’t like it.
I’ve been in Brussels twice, tried two different approaches, and… still don’t like it.

Maybe if I’d get one of those jobs paid by millions I would start to enjoy the city, but, meanwhile, I love my Portugal (and many of the other places I had the chance to visit).

And then, unexpectedly, I visited Brussels again in 1989 and… caught a different impression. Good! Brussels is much more interesting that it looked in my previous visit.

Let’s try to remember that first impressions.

Grand’ Place

Brussels

Wonderful place

I use to say that this square is the most beautiful that I know. Great proportions well balanced and harmonized buildings, precious details. The only sad thing was its dark look.

You may imagine my pleasure, when I saw that the buildings are being cleaned, and the white stone is now shining almost as much as the shining gold in some facades.

Perfect. Well done!

I spent a week close to Grand Place, and that made me identify Brussels with this beautiful square, with the other images vanishing in my mind. 
​When many years later I took my sons to Brussels, Grand Place and Atomium were, again, almost the exclusive attractions that we saw. But I like this square, and dislike the general city. 

In August there’s a festivity where the square is covered with flowers. Terrific job, but its beauty reaches the top ten.

Everard ‘t Serclaes Monument

Brussels

Luck

Tradition says that rubbing his elbow brings good fortune, and everybody does it. Why not us, of course?

In my recent visit the statue was removed to maintenance, I don’t know until when, but it seems that a copy was placed in location.

Memories are good – that small kid in the picture, took in 1989, in his first visit of Brussels (my second), is now almost 2 meters high, working in… Brussels, but visiting him in october 2015, I had no time to review the monument! 

Reason to be already planning my next visit.

Address: 4 Rue Charles Buls, 1000 Ville de Bruxelles

Directions: Underneath the arcades of the Maison de l’etoile at the Brussels Grand Place

Atomium 

Brussels

A strange giant 

Built for the international exhibition of 1958, this imaginative construction is a museum, with displays in five of its nine spheres. 

As Eiffel tower in Paris, it became one of the symbols of the city, and the main attraction in a park with several other interesting elements.

Address: Blvd. du Centenaire, BruPark

Directions: Metro: Heizel/Heysel

Website: Atomium

​Japanese Tower

Japanese
Japanese

Facing the Chinese pavilion, this Japanese complex, was built to show two different structures – a high red tower and an adjacent wooden pavilion.

Housing temporary collections of Japan, it is surrounded by a garden with many Japanese plants.
The Chinese and Japanese pavilions were built in the beginning of the 20th century, as a result of the passion of king Leopold II for eastern culture.

Address: 44, Avenue van Praet
Directions: Corner of the Royal