The hidden charm of Brussels

Aleksandra Semjonova
Published on Thursday 160121
The bar is full. Trivially speaking there are a lot of people trying to squeeze in the crowd to order a drink.

 A bartender is restlessly running from the one edge of the bar to another at the same time warmly welcoming new visitors. There are no spaces where to sit and all the chairs are taken by the customers.

But it`s more than that. The air of the Bonnefooi bar is full.

A ‘hipster ‘jazz group just in the little corner of the room is making soulful, warm and smooth sounds fusing with the hum of the bar. The melodic, rhythmical sounds are flying around the bar wrapping up the visitors with cheerful, welcoming and vivid atmosphere. The amount of different languages in such a tiny place makes you feel like you are on the other planet. The planet, where the skin color or religion does not matter. Here the whole world cultures are coming together in the chilled atmosphere to communicate and spend a good time together. Standing outside the Bonnefooi bar, on the Steenstraat, it is hardly noticeable that the place is alive and full of sounds and melodies of the music.

Brussels is one of the most multicultural cities I have ever visited. Does not matter where you go, you meet people from all the parts of the world and everybody here feels equal. The racism is weakly marked in the city, and even if you came from far away country there is a high chance that after adapting to the cultural differences you can feel here as you are home.

The streets are always full of people in a hurry running around to finish their businesses. From the bird's eye view Brussels probably remind of a colorful anthill, chaotically moving in different directions.

If you came from UK do not expect that every time when a person bumps into you on the street he or she will say sorry. If you are standing at the bar ordering a drink do not be surprised if someone squeezes before you. People here are more chilled and feel more comfortable in the crowd. But I assure you, after few month you will behave in the same way and you will love it.

The night life in Brussels every time brings up new surprises. Does not matter where you go, you can easily find a good place where to chill and open people who with joy will spend their time with you. Some of them may even offer you to go to the beach, because they feel free and want to share this feeling with you. Because of such an open and easy going communication you want to trust those people, and never you feel unsafe.

Even if the city heightens the threat level alert to four, the place still fills safe. Walking around in the city center amongst big, tall, masculine military guards with huge guns may sound frightening, but when they give you a warm cheerful smile, you feel relaxed. Moreover it is a good opportunity to feel how is it to be in the center of the events.

Brussels is a relatively big city, with lots of parks and interesting architecture. Sometimes it is even a good idea to get lost and experience local areas of the city. The hidden parts of Brussels can definitely surprise, bringing to different charming worlds. It can be a Marrole area, where on one of the streets is hidden a violin maker, whose table is full of strange and interesting subjects. Or the magic Christmas decoration shop, with lots of different Christmas trees, which are wearing shining and colorful outfits.

It can be a weird antiques shop with ugly masks looking at you from the shop’s window. Or it can be an area around the European Parliament, with charming parks with lakes, colorful trees, bronze statues and weirdly shaped bridges.

One of the places which is definitely worth a visit is always empty Parking 58. The park slot on the top of the roof opens a fascinating view on the city center of Brussels, from which are perfectly seen some of the main attractions of the city. Sometimes teenagers come to this place, listen to music and dance using the parking roof as a dancefloor.

The thing, which attracts me the most in Brussels is people. It does not matter how beautiful the place is, it matters what kind of people live there.