A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
The weather may often frustrate you, but walking is one of the best ways to explore a city. There’s always something new to discover and things old waiting to be rediscovered. Such was the charm we chanced upon perambulating the streets of Brussels glimmering in the rays of a clear Sunday morning. Indeed a pleasant surprise after the rainy welcome the day before!
The hunched together houses and still sleepy cafes were just about showing signs of life when walking on the cobblestoned streets we came across a merry group of people making music right there on the street, standing in front of an unusual backdrop as if singing for a cause.
Walking through we came to Notre Dame du Petit Sablon. And ah the nature of daylight in a Gothic church is truly awesome as it splashes colour upon the airy walls, fleshing up the bony structure of the church.
Indeed the power of art, high or low, is in how it acts upon us – captivating us, magically holding us in our stead. For as we walked out of those hallowed portals, we came to the antique market just outside. And there I was again fascinated, a kid in a candy shop.
Pouring old postcards, browsing through Ukiyo-e prints and Dutch still-lifes, mesmerised by the exquisite glassware and the blackforest carvings – I travelled to another era, reading names of places and things of a bygone age when things were sepia and chinoiserie and japonisme were still the fads.
Hours could have passed by had I not been reminded by my dear friend of the other things waiting to be seen. Time only enters the mind of the ignorant, and resigning myself to my plight I decided to continue taking in the seduction, disrobing the city bit by bit, getting under its skin as it roused itself to delight me with its sights and sounds…