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?