A Belgian Weekend

This was going to be a post about one of my two (two!!!) new makes from last week, complete with photos taken in Brussels. Sadly I fell down some stairs on my first night there and smashed my chin open on the pavement. Yes, alcohol was involved. I’ve decided that the world isn’t ready for pictures of my manky chin, so you’re just going to have to wait for the clothes posts.

In the meantime, I offer you this picture of a pig outside the Berlaymont (European Commission headquarters). The pig is called Hope, and she’s part of a campaign calling upon the Commission to uphold laws protecting pigs from inhumane treatment in Europe. It’s all very interesting, and you can find out more about the campaign here, and the other work Compassion in World Farming do here.

This is one of the more sedate demonstrations I’ve seen in Brussels. The dustmen’s protest involved setting fire to all the street bins within a kilometre of my office, and I had a firecracker thrown at me while trying to get through the annual farmers blockade near my work (they then sprayed the European Parliament with milk and partied in the square outside, apparently oblivious to the smell).

We spent most of our trip trying to catch up with as many of our friends as possible, and generally eating and drinking too much. It would be a lot easier if all of our friends were friends with each other, but we have diverse tastes, so we just had to cram everyone into any available gap. It was great to catch up on everyone’s news and I was pleased I could fit in a lunch with my old office buddies at Lunch and More, a brilliant Polish Restaurant close to Arts Loi specialising in pierogi (yummy dumplings).

Of course we couldn’t come back without some of our favourite Belgian treats (and a bottle of Soviet Champagne, because we found a Russian supermarket).

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Foire du Midi

Once a year, when most people have packed up and gone on holiday for two months over the summer, Brussels closes a quarter of the ring road around the centre of the city and sets up a gigantic fun fair. I think it’s because nobody is protesting around the European Quarter and they don’t want us to get bored. Contrary to popular belief, boring is the one thing Brussels is not.

I say they close off the road, but that’s not strictly true. There are still cars booting it across the fair at various intersections, and the trains clatter overhead. 

Ferret roulette was noticeably absent this year, although there was a carousel with real horses and a massive beach ball with a child inside. There was also a kind of G-force simulator which looked quite fun. I’m a bit of a scaredy cat though so I didn’t actually try any rides out. 


Nor, it seems, did I take pictures of the interesting ones. Mostly I took pictures of the fascinating people, although I’m still a bit shy when it comes to street photography and a lot of the people looked scary. Note to self: man up! 

See – scary! If it hadn’t been for the calming qualities of the snails, I would have feared for my life.

This dog waited patiently while his owner tried to win a telly. There was also the possibility of winning a fridge-freezer, although it was unclear whether this would be delivered to you at a later date, or whether you had to drag it home on the tram.
We’re planning to go back after dark at some point. I think my stealth sneaky spy cam might come into its own in the black of night. Or, more likely, people will be so drunk they won’t notice me taking pictures.
I think the annual pilgrimage to the inner city fair is one of the things that we will miss when we leave.

Le Stoefer

Le Stoefer looks awesome. Its close to Place du Chatelain, and fits in with the cool vibe of the area. It’s all about the industrial, with bare bulbs, waxed wood, long benches and gloomy minimalism.

The menu is very nice to look at, but not extensive. The choice was really burgers, salads or pittas. However, it’s not expensive.

I went there with some friends for dinner recently. Over the course of about six hours we drank a lot of beer, ate delicious but small burgers (the guys ended up ordering a second burger since they were still hungry), and then proceeded to be treated like shit by one of the waiters.



The service wasn’t great from the start, but when a waiter wandered past, they’d take your order, and they were fairly nice. After we’d eaten, things took a turn for the worse when a big group turned up and they told us we’d have to move as they needed our table for them. We pointed out that, you know, if they wanted to be polite they could have given us some notice about our impending move; but we moved and all seemed to be ok in our new table at the noisy end of the bar.

Until the same waiter came over to us and asked my (admittedly, naturally loud) friend if he could stop SCREAMING as people were trying to eat. 

There is a point at which people reach breaking point with the shitty service they’ve received, and decide to remove themselves from a repressive and abusive atmosphere created by a waiter to make him feel good about himself. This was that point for us and we decided that they could cock right off, and we headed to the more pleasant atmosphere of Roxy for some cocktails. 

I don’t know why people can’t understand. All we want is a friendly bar/restaurant which looks cool and serves good sized, tasty portions of food. Is that so hard?

Damn you, le Stoefer, I thought you were what we were looking for.