Cities in silence: Brussels

I’ve done this short series that I called “Cities in silence”. It’s the silence of cities devoid of people, withdrawn, turned towards themselves. There is a certain nostalgic beauty to it. The last in this series is Brussels.

This is the place where it can rain for a whole week and winter winds chill you to the bone. It’s the place where – depending on your mood – local administration and politics can either make you laugh hysterically or drive you crazy with its absurdity.

But it is also the place where you can meet people from all over the world. Where you sit on ancient oak benches and savor a Trappist beer, produced by the monks themselves. Where you can watch the night sky laying down on the pavement of Grand Place, the central city square, around which the whole city developed through centuries. Where you can discover little bits of the old city in unexpected places.

These places have known plague, war, famine and despair. They have known joy, endless evenings on the terraces, couples making out, groups of friends celebrating something, doesn’t matter what, people walking alone with the wind in their hair.

The crowds will eventually return. The students, the rich, the tourists, the loners, the freaks, the drunk and the lovers will cross each other again along these old streets.

For now, the city still lives its silent life. Still breaths its hidden breathing. Barely moving but alive. I can hear its breathing beneath medieval pavement stones and rundown building fronts.

You can also read the other two posts in this series, about Paris and Lisbon.

4 thoughts on “Cities in silence: Brussels

  1. “It’s the place where – depending on your mood – local administration and politics can either make you laugh hysterically or drive you crazy with its absurdity.” You might as well be talking about my home country, Brazil. It must be beautiful there without the crowds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. It is beautiful in a moody, slightly depressing kind of way.
      I could also use that quote to talk about Romania, my home country. But there it would be mainly corruption. Here it’s mainly political complications and bureaucratic stupidity.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You might like to Watch Brazil (1985 film). There’s always an additional stamp needed from another department, which you can only obtain if you can come up with an obscure document few have and don’t know how to get. I think sometime in the 90s the government came up with another ministry, Ministry of de-bureaucratization. 😅

        Liked by 1 person

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