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A Note About Brussels

Like much of the international community I stand with Brussels. I’m a New Yorker. I was in highschool during the 9/11 attacks; living in a heightened state of emergency is no stranger to me. London tube bombings when I was in college, the Paris attacks… These were mine, and others in my generation’s, first jarring notice of the war being waged that was seemingly in another world, “the Middle East” and in the case of Kenya, Africa. There is a certain privilege that citizens of many cities enjoy, that “it could never happen here” feeling, a sort of security. It is with deep sadness that Brussels and it’s citizens are now in the “it happened here” club. This is a photo diary (albeit, terrible cell photos) of Brussels and neighboring city, Antwerp from a trip I took there in 2013; before security checkpoints, before Paris, before it gained attention in the media as being a “Europe’s hub for Islamist radicals.”

Brussels & Belgium is more than the hub of ISIL in Europe.

  • It’s the seat of the European Union.

  • It’s where you can find not one but TWO varieties of Belgian waffles, Brussels vs. Liege. They are both heavenly.

  • Antwerp is the diamond capital of the world.

  • Antwerp also has one of the best art academy in the world. It’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts is the oldest in Europe founded in 1663 and has produced the fashion gods known as the Antwerp Six: Walter van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, Marina Yee and honorable mention to Martin Margiela another graduate from there at that time.

  • Belgium has three official languages, Dutch, French and German, and English is also widely spoken there as a second or third language.

  • The comic series, The Adventures of Tintin is by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi

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  • Most importantly, Brussels is a place of peace and unity and they will get through this. Let’s lend our support.

As my Belgian friend (who is safe at home, I checked in with her) said at the time of my visit, “yes, I guess it’s pretty, but it’s so boring!” In times like these, it’s more important than ever to spread love.

 

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view from the mont de arts hillside garden

Leige and Brussels Waffles

liege waffles — so damn good

Cafes

restaurants in Brussels

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Anna enjoying chef’s choice dessert

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me with Anna

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Antwerp train station

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The Grote Markt (Main square) in Antwerp

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The Grote Markt (Main square) in Antwerp

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The Grote Markt (Main square) in Antwerp

 

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