Monday, 22 July 2013

Brussels could be Better

For the second leg of our trip at the beginning of July, we got a train from Amsterdam to the "European Capital" of Brussels. I had high hopes for the city, home of the European Parliament, it should be welcoming, clean and modern.
I am sorry to say however, that we experienced exactly the opposite during our 2 days in the city. Now it may be, and for the sake of the city I certainly hope it is, that our experience is not the usual. On first arriving in Brussels, we decided to go to a restaurant for lunch before checking into the hotel. When we sat down, we saw a number of waiters and waitresses standing chatting at the bar, which is fair enough, but it took them 20 minutes to even bring us the menus, the waitress who did serve us looked as if she would rather be anywhere else.
Following this we made our way through the city to The Theatre Hotel (a lovely hotel if ever you are staying in the city). It has to be said that the buildings in Brussels are very impressive and it is nice to see them converted for modern use. We passed many buildings with classical architecture which had been converted to restaurants, bars, banks and many other buildings. In the quieter parts near our hotel, however, we witnessed prostitutes offering their services to passing men, I would expect some of this after dark in a large city, but the scale on which it is occurring in Brussels, and in broad daylight, is very off-putting. Considering we were in the the home of the EU, which should be a pillar of human rights, to see women (many of them clearly working against their will) offering themselves like this right in the back-yard of the EU speaks volumes!
Finally, we witnessed yet another example of terrible public services at the central train station. Trying to buy our tickets to Vienna, we had to wait 10-15 minutes while the person at the ticket desk finished his chat with some other employees.

Now it must be said, when we went out in Brussels to the Celtica Bar, we had a fantastic time and met some lovely people, namely Tanguy Van Dooren and his band from Antwerp, a group of extremely talented lads!

They were kind enough to humour us with a cover of The Scientist by Coldplay at the request of Dominika. A video of which I will upload shortly.