Friday, 19 August 2011

a city with an undeserved reputation

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This is going to be a bit of a mega-post, as Ashley likes to call them. So, after getting thoroughly soaked in Bruges, we fled to a hotel in Brussels (Antwerp was recommended to me, but Brussels was closer so... Luckily the next day, while not exactly warm, was a bit more photogenic than the previous one.

I was in Brussels once about seven years ago, and at the time I thought it was one of the most beautiful cities I'd ever seen. Ever since then, when I'd tell people how much I loved Brussels, I'd get the response "Really? Brussels is the most boring place on the planet!" To the degree that I started to wonder if I was just excessively boring myself.

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So, back in Brussels, I still think the city centre is absolutely gorgeous. The main square in particular... I really can't think of one that I like better anywhere. Looking at the city and keeping all the professions of boredom in mind, I can kind of see what they were talking about. It doesn't seem the liveliest place--although we went to a nice area the night we arrived and had an awesome Japanese dinner surrounded by cooler-than-thou francophones who (hehe) really couldn't use chopsticks. ; D

But I think the "most boring place on the planet" label is totally undeserved (despite the rich bureaucrats it must be full of). When I contrast Brussels with Cologne, for example, which is considered to be a cool party city, I really wouldn't say that Cologne was that much more interesting (and much less pretty). It's funny how some places get tarred with the boring brush and others are celebrated--essentially as a result of having a large hipster population as far as I can tell. Anyway, rant over. I like Brussels. And I'm not boring. Pfff.

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So, this is also my first time trying milkmaid braids... my hair isn't really long enough but I french braided them with my head upside down (an idea I got from Annebeth) and it kind of worked. I liked how disproportionately large my head felt... a bit like a bobble head!

And then we finished off with lunch and some beers... and yes, that's three beers between two of us. ; )

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Photos by Albert and I

citrine neclace: made by me, shirt: Urban Outfitters, jeans: Warehouse, shoes: ebay, bag: via Mom, sunglasses: H&M

49 comments:

Shybiker said...

Love the braids -- and, no, your head isn't big!

The reputations places get are seldom deserved and usually outdated. It's best to hear from people who actually visit, like you. You've become my favorite travel-guide.

Little Girl in Wonderland said...

I love hanging out in Brussels, I bet those people saying Brussels is a boring city just don't know which places to go to.

Are you also going to Antwerp or is this the end of your visit to Belgium? If you do, you should definitely visit the 'Hendrik Conscience plein', it's really charming!

Rachel, Cold Knees said...

I went to Brussels in 2000 and wasn't that impressed (though I was a moody 14 year old at the time!). It looks gorgeous here though. I'd never thought to do milkmaid braids like that- my hair isn't quite long enough for normal ones (they keep falling down) but I cannot french braid to save my life! Your head isn't big by the way :p xx

Lee said...

Myself and my boyfriend were considering going to Brussels earlier in the year and we kept being told that it was ridiculously boring! I couldn't understand why either.
It's definitely still on our 'to visit' list but I must admit, I was a little put off the idea of going thanks to all of the comments. I stubbornly wanted to go to prove everyone wrong, but I also hadn't a whole lot of money so I was afraid to waste it.

I'm glad that I now have your opinion on the city. I will see it MYSELF though someday. =]

Siel said...

So lovely that you visit Belgium (my country :p)! I don't think Brussels is boring, it's a beautiful city where there is always something to do. Although Antwerp isn't bad either, too bad you didn't visit it :)

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Little Girl in Wonderland: Unfortunately not... we were only in Belgium for the weekend. ; (

@Lee: I definitely don't think it's a bad place... I mean, it's probably not party capital if that's what you're looking for, but it's really pretty and I've always had good food/beer etc. there. Nice for a city break.

@Siel: It's a lovely country... I really want to go back and visit Antwerp some day. The only other place we went was some town called Genk... because I was carsick and needed a coffee!

Closet Fashionista said...

Well people are dumb, just looking at the photos this place looks amazing! :D And I love your outfit, that top is so fun :)
http://www.closet-fashionista.com

Rebecca said...

oh goodness it's all so beautiful!
I am extremely jealouuusss....

and your outfit is like perfect. the shoes & striped shirttt!! looove

www.17-candles.blogspot.com

CessOviedo said...

I don't think Brussels is boring at ALL! I look at these pictures and makes me want to be there so bad, you look adorbs with the milkmaid braids! ps. is that mural from Tin Tin?

Cess O. <3 The Outfit Diaries

Michal said...

I've only been to Brussels once, but I had a lovely time. I agree that the grand-place there is like no other. It really took my breath away. I would love to get back to the city one day! Anyway, gorgeous photos. I like your hair like that! Whenever I see someone with milkmaid braids I wish for long hair again. :] + that picture of you in front of the arcade is especially awesome!

A said...

@Emily,

Brussels is a beautiful city. I loved it when I was there. It is got its own charm.

Antwerp is awesommmme. It is smaller than Brussels. It is compact and easy to get around.

Next time to go Antwerp and buy a diamond ring from the street next to central station.

Antwerp is only 40 minute train drive from Brussels.

One more thing - Everyone speak English in Antwerp where in Brussels, you really need to know some French.

Sweet Harvest Moon said...

You were in Brussels? How cool! Glad you had a great time in 'my' city ;)

Do not skip Antwerp the next time you are in Belgium! I love it there!

http://sweetharvestmoon.blogspot.com

Christy said...

I kind of feel this way about Amsterdam. It has this reputation for being seedy and dirty, but it's just so heartbreakingly beautiful! I dunno. Maybe I just hang with a markedly innocent crowd. ;)

I love all of these photos and can't decide which is lovelier--your braids or adorable sweater!

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

I had no idea I had so many Belgium experts among my readers!

@Cess: Yep, Tintin is Belgian, and so are the Smurfs!
@A: Luckily we got by with my appalling French. ; )
@Christy: I was just in Amsterdam... a really lovely city. I think it's the tourists of a certain type that make parts of it seedy, rather than the actual laws...

Faff said...

Clever idea on your hair - I never learned to french plait tho so can imagine a disaster! Loving your jumper too :)

Sabina said...

You look absolutely fabulous :))) As for Brussels, I was there once and sadly I have to tell you I'm one of those poeople who always say it's a boring city. Maybe I should visit again! :)))

xxx

Marta said...

Hi! I lived in Brussels for a few months and loved it! Good chocolate, nice beers, people from all over Europe, good cinema and singers (Jacques Brel, Vincent Liben, Milow). What's not to love? Weather permitting, Brussels can be great.
Marta

That in black ink said...

I love Brussels! All the bureaucrats make it seem boring but there's a huge population of people in their 20s and 30s who work in politics and for NGOs who party harder than they work. The last time I was there we had drinks in the Botanic Gardens, dinner in a squat collective which welcomed us in off the street, and partied in some underground club opposite the little peeing girl statue...
On another note, I love your top.
Claire

Sewon said...

Ohh looks like a solid trip to Brussels! I love the braids on you.

Jenni Wells said...

nothing about this looks boring! it is such a gorgeous place. I cannot wait until I can travel around the world.

Amber Blue Bird said...

your braids turned out great. That is one hair trend I would like to try out but I think my hair needs to be a bit longer. Cute blouse. Oh and any lady that can down three beers is so not boring.

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

I love that sweater! Soooo cute!

dusanabotswana said...

Wow Brussels looks absolutely beautiful, I've never seen such a cool cathedral before (or I think that's what it is) and the other buildings are beautiful as well! & a flower market in the plaza? so lovely! Pfff so calling it boring indeed! I get so annoyed with that too because seriously, you can go to bars anywhere and you certainly don't need a cool one to have fun, it's the people you're with! But anyway, you look so dainty and adorable somehow & I can't believe you're wearing jeans & a sweater, it must be those beautiful shoes & your milkmaid braids- which look great on you! (Although I do think the sweater is very cute too : )

dusanabotswana said...

aaaaand, next time you should drink all three beers just yourself! & then take some really goofy outfit pics : )

Annebeth said...

yeay, so glad I inspired you! And so glad it finally worked! looks great to my but I like hairstyles that largify my head.

also, I don't think Brussels is boring, I just don't find it a very inviting or friendly city :D

Carrie said...

Not to mention being the home of the famous detective (and my personal favorite) Hercule Poirot. Just sayin'...

Looks like an awesome and beautiful place and I'd love to see it in person someday! :-)

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Annebeth: I would agree with that. I found the service pretty rude (and condescending... erm, sorry, my French is bad, but at least I don't go around shouting in English). But the city itself is quite lovely I think!

Hazel Lou Anna said...

I´m looking through your pictures and wish I was some where else. I´m new to your blog, Love you posts, yours outfits and your pictures! Thanks!

Ashley said...

Looks like a fantastic city to me. America really doesn't have great architecture, so that alone would keep me occupied in Brussels.

Basically, people are dumb. :P

Natalie Leung said...

wow, i love your hair and absolutely sweet style!

I wish i can do hair like yours :)
i'm following you now, i love your blog as well.

natalie
http://lucyandtherunaways.blogspot.com

Melis said...

i love your hair! i like how it's not super duper neat with every hair in place :) and i'm still very jealous of your travels!
http://hammocksandtrampolines.blogspot.com

Penny said...

I also loved Brussels (I've been there 3 times- 2 of them were this year)!I find it actually a city I could live with (I feel very unsafe in big metropolis)!
milkmaid braids look awesome on you!

Natalie Suarez said...

super cute! LOVE THIS :)

xx

natalieoffduty.blogspot.com

Cat said...

I loved Brussels when I visited it earlier this year - not boring at all - great food, great architecture, great shops, great people...what more can you ask for?

I LOVE your necklace by the way, you made it yourself?! I would love to do the milkmaid braids but my hair seems to grow at a snail's pace...

Thank you for your lovely comment on my last post - I've got lots of catching up to do with my favourite blogs when I get back to London but I've been sneaking a look at yours when I've got 5 minutes to spare in our hotel room!

Cat xxx
http://www.takecourageblog.com/

Sophie said...

Your hair looks gorgeous like this, really suits you. I see no bobble head!
Sophie
x

Emily, Resplendent Tranquility said...

I am always amused by the varying conceptions of ''boring.'' I am all for liveliness, but sometimes I just don't understand why some people are so turned off to finding enjoyment in strolling through a lovely city, admiring the architecture, or dining al fresco (is it obvious that I gleaned my examples from your travel photos? ;)

Julia Topaz, La Belle Oiselle said...

Boring??? People who say Brussels is boring have clearly never been to Anywhere-town, USA. And I have to say, whatever those sauces are in the last photo look delicious.

jess said...

I don't think places need to have a lot going on to be great. Sometimes just walking around a pretty place is just what a person needs.

The Daily Fashionista said...

You look super cute with your hair like that:) You look super cute anyways, but ..you know what I mean. I'm glad to hear that you're sticking to your guns over the unboringness of Brussels. It looks fun enough!

maggeygrace said...

Cutest sweater of all time award! I'm loving it. I love the little scallops and the stripes and the texture. My oh my!

These pictures are unbelievable. I'm probably hopefully possibly going to europe next summer and I'm DYING of excitement. Ahhhhh. Really. I'm ready to see some real architecture, here :)

Anthea said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your mega post :) Brussels looks good to me!

Terri said...

I haven't traveled enough to compare, but in your estimation where IS the most boring place on earth?

Eleni said...

Blimey, try growing up in Portsmouth, now THAT'S boring! Although I hear Hull's pretty dull, too...

Arianne said...

The braids look beautiful on you! This look at Bruges also reminds me I need to wear my Madden oxfords more often. :P

Virginie's Cinema said...

I went to Brussels (or Bruxelles!) a few year ago when I was living in France and I love it so so much! I kept wondering "why has no one told me about this?". It reminds me of Québec city in a way, it's a small city with lost of historical value and that you can walk anywhere to!

I hope you are enjoying your time off and away Emily (or are you working on your thesis non stop?).

Virginie ♥

Virginie's Cinema said...

I went to Brussels (or Bruxelles!) a few year ago when I was living in France and I love it so so much! I kept wondering "why has no one told me about this?". It reminds me of Québec city in a way, it's a small city with lost of historical value and that you can walk anywhere to!

I hope you are enjoying your time off and away Emily (or are you working on your thesis non stop?).

Virginie ♥

Monique said...

you are one lucky lady! these photos are wonderful. when i was in amsterdam i wanted to steal away to belgium for a few days but there was no time. love your top and I'd love a sip of that Hoegaarden. Thanks

Lorelai● said...

Hoegaarden FOR THE WIN!

Stef / Diversions said...

Such a gorgeous necklace and a beautiful city :)