A Conversation for Brussels, Belgium

My Visit

Post 1

Secretly Not Here Any More

(Reposted from a different thread, just in case it interests anyone)

I went to Brussels on holiday once. It was a stopover on a three week inter-railing journey with a female acquaintance of mine - a break between the debauchery of Amsterdam and the far warmer charms of Nice (via Lyon).

We got there in the middle of a thunderstorm, couldn't find any accommodation for over three hours, and ended up with all our gear soaked.

Having found somewhere and hung up our sodden belongings, we broke the cardinal rule of non-Irish holidays and ended up in an Irish pub.

There was a singer who also came from Salford in there, so I spent the evening chewing the fat with him over pint after pint of Guinness. It wouldn't have been too bad, except for the fact that my mate got steadily more pissed and ended up snogging some Belgian. Who followed her into the ladies' toilets and attempted to initiate something more full-on than she fancied.

I ended up having to go in, threaten him in horrendous French, drag her out and then kick him in the chest (never start a fight with a man who's four stairs higher than you and full of Guinness) to defuse the situation.

We then got lost on the way back to the excuse for a hotel, did a two hour walking tour of the Brussels ring road, and I threatened to abandon her and make my way to Dunkirk (it's the traditional British method of escaping aggro in Belgium). There was shouting, remonstration and screwing up of maps. It was terrible.

So, yeah. Don't go to Brussels.

My Visit

Post 2

SashaQ - happysad

Yeah, Brussels is a bit of an acquired taste. I didn't find the Irish bar when I was there, but nor did I find accessible toilet facilities - there were either none at all, or the ones with the wheelchair symbol on the door had had their handrails taken away or were used as storecupboards so were completely useless. I also approached one or two 'accessible' entrances, much to the consternation of staff who had to attempt to actually open the door and clear it of cobwebs and various obstructions so I could enter the building. This was mostly but not always successful...

I don't plan to visit again for some more years in the hope that European accessibility regulations will be better implemented in future, but I did just about manage to make the best of it when I was there. I did as much as I could of the Grand Place, saw the Mannekin Pis, and went to a few museums. I enjoyed the historical museum near the European Parliament Building, as there were superb dinosaur displays so it was well worth visiting, but the highlight for me was definitely Mini Europe and the Atomium. The Atomium not only had a lovely accessible toilet that I wasn't even charged to use, but also the lift enabled me to go on the tour of the structure and enjoy the views and exhibitions so I felt very welcome there.

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