Brussels: Ixeles & Bourse

Exploring the Brussels neighborhoods of Ixeles and Bourse with a three-month-old in tow while Lori attends orientation for her new job.

While Lori was busy getting oriented and such for her new job, Noe and I hit the streets of Brussels…then after a brief ten minutes, turned around. The goal was to get a coffee at the corner cafe at the bottom of our hotel’s street. That didn’t happen. I returned to the hotel with my stroller full of very unhappy baby and proceeded for the next hour to change/feed/put down/feed/put down the child.

Needless to say, I did not take a photos during that little outing. The following were taken several hours later during ‘Take 2,’ in which the Mister demonstrated a far higher degree of tolerance for my selfish desire to get out of the hotel room for an hour or two.

Look at that innocent face…like he hadn’t put daddy through the wringer for the entire morning.

Likely some of the oddest trash and recycling receptacles I’ve come across. Nice, sleek, Euro design. You’ve got your verre blanc and verre colore, your wit glas and your gekleurd glas. I wouldn’t even know where to start with my coffee cup. Verre colore, perhaps?

A city bike-share. Interesting. I was under the assumption that everyone from here to Amsterdam was born with bike-in-hand.

Ixeles (pronounced Iksul) is an interesting neighborhood — parts are very posh-looking and others are a bit shady. Parts are seemingly very homogenous while others come off as much more multi-cultural — perhaps a reflection of greater Europe these days rather than the neighborhood, itself?

 

We were due to meet Lori at Handicap International’s headquarters at 5pm. After making a quick stop at the hotel to ditch the stroller, I plopped him into the baby sling and headed off to find mommy.

 

 

 

 

 

After work (and a quick feeding), we took a leisurely stroll back towards the Grand Place for one more jaunt out and about in Brussels before our departure in the morning.

 

 

Now, this is definitely a first for me: A mobile beergarden utilizing cinema seats. The two men even seem to fit the part.

 

 

 

 

Our ultimate destination for the evening was Le Cirio — a cafe/taverne across from the Bourse (Belgian stock exchange) that’s been around forever, loads of Old Belgium charm, excellent beer and reasonable prices. Perfect.

Oh, and to top it off, it sits on a network of ruins from a convent bombarded in the 16th century, viewable from the street.

 

 

 

Much of the time, guidebooks are full of BS that makes you wonder if the author has ever set foot in the country. However, our Lonely Planet pocket guide [creepily] was spot on with Le Cirio. “…and coiffured Mesdames with dogs still dilute the gaggles of tourists.” Not ten minutes into our stay, who walks in for a bite?

They just don’t make places like this in the States. But they do in India! Or did at least. Le Cirio eerily harkened to an old colonial cafe in the heart of New Delhi where we had lunch a few years back. But there was no comparing the beer, of course.

After dinner, we took an evening stroll back through the Grand Place, then the metro back to Ixeles to pack and prepare for a marathon travel day to Laos.

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