Brussels in the a.m.

Rue Royale

As I close the heavy door behind me, I get a first glimpse of the weather that day. I turn my head to the right and admire the old Sint Maria church, I smirk as I remember the first time seeing it. 

© Hanne De Ceuninck

Insecure and scared about my decision to study in the unknown Brussels, I started looking for a place to stay. Going home every day would be a ridiculous hassle. I had visited a few other student rooms that day, but none of them really appealed to me. When I arrived at the place I’m hiring now, the first thing I noticed was the impressive building standing at the end of Rue Royale. When the tour was over and we left the building, it had already gotten dark. The street lights were turned on and the church lit up just gracefully. It was at that moment that I fell in love with this place. 

Realizing that the clock never stops ticking, I cross the road and run towards the tram stop. And when I say run, I mean spurt. As I’m running I regret staying in bed longer than I should have. But hey, at least I made it on time. 

As usual on a tram ride in Brussels, you’re most likely to spot something unusual. Today I get the privilege to experience a man smelling like sour Indian curry. And don’t get me wrong, this girl loves her curry, but that kind of curry is definitely not the good kind. This smell in the morning is making me nauseous. Well, I think it wouldn’t matter if it is morning or not. It’s an understatement to say that I’m relieved as I see my stop coming closer and closer. 

Place Royale de Bruxelles

I get off the tram and my nostrils fill themselves with the mouthwatering smell of Belgian waffles. This city is definitely no good to me and my addiction to waffles, that’s for sure! The waffle truck stands right across of the Eglise Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg on the royal square. Believe me, this spot is one of the most underrated places in Brussels. Every now and then I just stand on top of the Mont des Artes and admire the amazing view. Gazing over the entire city, authentic buildings surrounding you. Due to the fact that I walk here daily seeing that it is always extremely busy here, people running around trying not to be late at work, I tend to forget what an astonishing spot this can be.

Mont des Arts

© Hanne De Ceuninck

Here you can also see the statue of king Albert the first. I turn myself to the dazzling view of the city, and realize that I might have to hurry up a bit. Walking down these stairs is one thing, but climbing them later that day will be a pain in the ass. As I make my way down, step by step, some marvelous noise fills my ears. It’s the sound of an elderly, groovy man playing his phenomenal music on the wonderful instrument we know as a saxophone. It makes me feel like I’m wandering through the romantic streets in the charming, nostalgic city of Paris. Well, I was I was strolling through Paris right now, but sadly I’m still on my way to school. But at least my walk to there is beautiful, that’s the least I can say.

As I reach the end of the long stairs, I always go off track in between the painted trees. Painted trees? You might ask surprised. Yes the trees on the rather large square at the base of the Mont des Arts are partly painted in white. This results in an astonishing view and numerous of tourists taking lovely pictures. So don’t be surprised when you accidentally are confronted with an angry tourist because you are ruining their picture.  

© Hanne De Ceuninck

Place de l’Agora

Here, in front of the worldwide know Panos, I await my friends. Usually, if I have time left I buy myself a coffee to get through the long, dreaded day. In my diddly French I try ordering a way too sweetened coffee, because who likes black coffee anyway? The hot, syrupy coffee burns my tongue slightly, but oh how I love it! Waiting here isn’t the most fun. Thousands of tourists running around, trying to find their way to the Grand-Place, way too busy for me. As I notice the time ticking by, I always fear being late in school. So it’s no surprise as I see my friends walking through the doors of the Horta Gallery. We make our way through the busy streets and talk (let’s say gossip) our way to school.

© Hanne De Ceuninck

At the Bourse

My next stop, would be the Bourse. The first time I saw this building I was so impressed. What a gigantic building, which lights up beautifully in the dark. On this square you’re most likely to encounter something bizarre, or someone bizarre. Whether it is a person singing exquisitely or a drunk, influenced old man screaming and shouting the most ridiculous things. It’s for sure always a surprise what you’ll stumble upon. The big staircase in front of the Bourse is consistently full of young, loud people. Usually students, who are enjoying their free time. Oh how I was I had free time right now. As I walk further to school, I pass the bars La machine, Zebra and Mapa Mundo. If you would be ever looking for a place to drink, these are real recommends! The smell of shisha fills my nostrils as  I pass a local, questionably shisha bar. This scent makes me absolutely sick. We walk past a homeless guy and my heart aches at the sight of him and his dog begging for food. In my time studying in Brussels I realized that I just can’t help them. So giving away my money would be useless, because every street you turn, you’ll find a homeless person. So in the end, I would be poor as well, I always think to myself.

At the end of the streets awaits the Bloemenhofplein, where our school is located. I look up at the big banners which says Erasmus Hogeschool Brussels. I sigh deeply and walk through the colossal doors to start my day full of classes. 

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