I hate shopping.
I have to drag myself kicking and screaming whenever I need to buy new clothes. The crowds, the lights, the queues, the humans, the prices, the stress… did I mention the humans?
What I do enjoy, however, is wandering around aimlessly. My favourite thing to do in a new country is get lost.
So that’s what I did in Brussels while I was there. I only had about half an afternoon free, since I was working the rest of the time, but I took the opportunity to walk around and take in some of the sights.
One of the first shops I came across enticed me inside with this sign, which looked like it was written by me:
“What do you sell?”
“Oh, you know, posters, postcards, books… things… *trails off* drinks?”
I went in and bought my Belgian round of postcards for my postcard buddy list. Want to be added? Tell me.
There was a beautiful little cafe over the road which I really wanted to stop off in, but I wasn’t hungry and I also wanted to keep walking, and eventually the desire to explore won out. Look how pretty the building was, though. I’m such a sucker for old buildings under atmospheric skies. And there were some good skies that day in Brussels.
But, in the interests of exploration, I kept on walking.
And I ended up actually inside a shop, which just goes to show how excellent it was.
They’re laid out like showrooms, but not the intimidating kind you get in West London, where the shop people follow you around and demand whether you want anything and frown if you touch stuff.
These are nice showrooms, the kind that make you want to buy everything and take it home.
I never knew I needed fake plants in my life until I walked around Brussels.
Can’t you just imagine yourself living here? Sitting on your big blue sofa next to your exposed stone wall, sipping wine and admiring your fake lavender plant?
Even the fronts of shops are works of art in Brussels. They invite you in just by intriguing you to the point where you can’t walk past.
And as you draw closer, you find more and more things catching your eye.
Your brain starts going into overdrive because there are so many things to look at: agrandfatherclockalittlemirrorabluedoorapinkdoortoowheredotheygoooolooksomecolumnswaitisthatamannequin?
Closer… closer… and the columns are joined by busts of people you’ll never meet, offset by antler chandeliers, because who doesn’t need one of those in their life?
In one shop I found a naked lady next to a sculpture of a tree. The picture isn’t very good because it was a posh place and I was trying to surreptitiously take a photo without the lady on the desk judging me.
Even the cobbler has little statues outside his shop. Creepy-looking naked children holding pots. Because that says “Hello, I’m a cobbler”. Obviously.
Have you been to Brussels? What was your favourite bit?