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Last Day in Brussels… For Now June 19, 2010

Posted by Austen Edwards in Travel Log.
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Ambroix Park

Well, today is our last day in Brussels until a few of us return for our internships in three weeks. All in all, I have to say that the city has really grown on me. For a tourist, it doesn’t have that the same immediate charm that you find in some other small cities across Europe or the fascinating hum of other global capitals. It is very much a government town, in every  sense of the phrase. However, the longer you spend wandering aimlessly through the cramped streets, the more you appreciate its subtle qualities: the scent of waffles that wafts down every street; the sudden and often unexpected changes as you walk by the EU institutions, through a neighborhood of near poverty, and directly into one of Horta’s Art Nouveau masterpieces; the cartoon murals that provide a nugget of quirky Belgian humor on a misty afternoon. No, Brussels, at least in terms beyond governmental institutions, is not a world-renowned metropolis like Paris and London but I’m perfectly content to enjoy its own flair.

Quirky Cartoons

Especially as a study abroad student, it’s easy to see Brussels’ incredible sights in a matter of days before quickly taking off your Chacos and aviators to throw yourself into being Belgian. I can’t imagine spending three weeks trying to get a real sense of what Paris is, how its heart beats; to me, it’s simply too big to feel like I am a part of the city. When I recognize people on the streets of Brussels, it seems as if our time here has opened the door to Belgium for us and invited us in to be a small part of it all. It really has been an amazing three weeks.

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