Brussels recce trip

by Franca on 16 February 2012

Brussels

I went to Brussels at the end of last week to look for flats and meet my boss and the people in the Scottish and UK offices out there. These are some of the mobile phone pictures. There aren’t very many of the cityscape, because the only time I was in the touristy bits was with agents so I couldn’t very well go and snap away everywhere. And the EU bit really isn’t hugely photogenic. It was also so so cold (minus 8 to minus 5!) so I did hardly any sightseeing even when I had the time and just holed up in the hotel room. I was staying in the Pantone hotel, which was fab. Quite simple and not very expensive, but with loads of splashed of colour everywhere. A lot of the photos are from there. I don’t really feel like I can say anything very much about the city yet, other than it looks great, seems to have lots of going out and cultural opportunities and supermarkets are bloody expensive!

I did some agonising over which apartment to take, which is silly really. For five months it doesn’t matter and if I’d been told which one to get I would have been fine, but we had to find one ourselves and the accommodation allowance is not stingy at all, so you feel like you should really be getting something nice. And with choice comes decisions, which take a lot of mental energy.

In the end I went for one where I liked the feel of the actual apartment and the landlady, in an area close to the European office block area where I’ll work but without much cafe culture. It’s a really gorgeous high ceilinged place in an art deco building, with a terrace which will be fab in the summer. It reminds me of an Edinburgh flat actually, in its generous proportions. I wish I could link to the advert, but it’s been taken down now. Brussels is so small anyway, nothing is really more than half an hour away and I’m on all the metro lines so whatever area would have been fine really. I’m so pleased I have that finally sorted out now!

And it’s so interesting how different you experience a city when you know you will live there. It becomes much more important to really learn the transport routes and everywhere you go, you find yourself thinking ‘will this place become part of my life?’. I have a renewed admiration for people that move to places they don’t know, I’ve only done that once before and that was when I moved for uni, so I went into a uni flat. this is my first move as an adult!

Have you moved to somewhere unknown recently? Any tips for speeding up settling in?

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{ 7 comments }

Daisy February 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

A tip which you’ll surely find out on your own anyway: all the ‘European’ workers (so most of the expats) hang out at Place Luxembourgh on Thursdays after work. Especially when the weather picks up and everyone can stand outside, it’s an excellent way to meet some new people!

Misfit Sarah February 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm

How exciting! I have moved house 50 times… my best tip is to walk EVERYWHERE – you see so much more, you meet local people and you feel part of a community really quickly. I can’t wait to see pics of your flat – it sounds amazing! Sarah xxx

poet February 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Ha, I’m envious of the high ceilings! I’ve once moved to a place that I hadn’t been to before (except for a short visit that did not involve house-hunting) and into an unfurnished apartment so that I had to drag my jet-lagged self to IKEA an hour after arriving. Utterly stressful! It did not help at all that I was moving because of a relationship that was already unhappy and in total denial about said unhappiness.
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Carina February 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Oooh du wirst für einige Zeit in Brüssel leben? Ich find die Stadt toll! Man sagt ja immer Brüssel wäre nicht schön, aber da bin ich anderer Meinung!
Das U-Bahn Anzeigesystem dort find ich super, das hätte ich auch gern hier in Düsseldorf mit diesen leuchtenden Pünktchen, sehr praktisch :)
Ich kann dir übrigens einen wunderhübschen kleinen Laden empfehlen: http://www.sussies.eu

Aaach, deine Bilder lassen in mir den Wunsch aufkommen nochmal nach Brüssel zu fahren, ich war so lang nicht da…. :)
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FASHION TALES February 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm

I love Brussels, though I have not been in a long while. For me, it’s exciting being in an unknown location, viewing places for the first time, creating your potential “regular” spots. I may get sorted in one place soon. Wishing you the best on this new venture. Love this relatable post!

Dora February 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm

How exciting!!
I love getting to know fresh new places.
good luck with all.

Shophopper February 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Oh, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, but somehow hadn’t noticed you’re moving to Brussels. It’s my hometown! Brussels really is lovely if you know where to go. I don’t find the supermarkets exceptionally expensive, unless you go to the smaller ones. Colruyt is definitely cheapest, but they’re not usually in city centers. If you want to buy great food for small prices, you should go to the market at Brussels south station (sunday 7AM-2PM) or in Anderlecht (a little smaller, but still huge, a great setting and more exotic foods – thursday through sunday, 7AM-2PM). If you want to meet up sometime when you’re here and explore a bit, drop me a line! I love to show off my beloved city. :)
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