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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have to pause my other threads and start to post pics while still fresh memories from my trip to Brussels and Madrid - both of them were really great. In overall, I spent about 1,5 days in Brussels and 4 days in Madrid and took about 1500 photos from which best part I will try to show here. So, this will be long-term thread revealing what I saw in these cities and few other views between.

1. Breakfast in Riga airport - here, on the second floor is a good "Lido" eating-place which is adapted here to more international choice (basically, "Lido" is serving more of Latvian cuisine in Latvia, but it's adapting to local tastes in countries where it has opened it's restaurants). So, this meal was something close to traditional English breakfasts - just what I need from mornings. It costed about 4 Euros and it was cheapest meal in all my trip, because both in Belgium and Spain I couldn't find a meal below 7 EUR.



2. Up above and looking down to Latvia countryside.



3. I think it's Bornholm - Danish island on the Baltic sea.



4. Some other Danish or maybe German island with close to beach looking even a bit tropical. I observed that clouds mostly stays above land areas, keeping sea free of them.



5. Now we can start "Guess the city" here. :) I have no idea what is this one. Maybe you know? Maybe even live in it?



6. Another city which we could decode here:



7. Some countryside most probably in Western Germany:



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9. Charleroi airport (about 60 km from Brussels) has completely changed since I was there first time in 2005. The old small terminal has been closed and the new one opened instead. However, it is already outdated. CRL growth has been so rapid (last year - 32%, in 2009 - 33%) that it has exceeded it's capacity again (last year it had 5 195 372 passengers). And that can be felt when there - airport were overcrowded almost 24 hours a day (I spend my last day-night there).



10. CRL has developed also very solid airport city around it and it's called very proudly as "aeropolis".



11. And now we have arrived in Brussels. There are some interesting modern buildings around the Midi (Brussels-south) station.



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14. Brussels isn't a bicycle-city, I saw few bicyclists there. Rather weird, especially when knowing nearby Netherland's passion to cycling.



15. One thing which surprised me here - how these trees looked so freshly green like in April. How that's achieved?



16. I was surprised also about the vast areas built by this type of lovely houses in Brussels. This is already outside centre, but they still continues for kilometres. How old are they - really pre-WW2?



To be continued...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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20. Impressive building next to station



21. I spotted this unusual painting on one of buildings walls. Later, on my plane to Madrid in Ryanair magazine I red that these are some popular Belgish comic characters Tin Tin.



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25. Moving farther, closer to centre, those historical buildings.



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27. I really like when buildings are different in colours.



28. Click to see this pano larger:

 

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Nice photos! (looking forward to Madrid part :D)

Somehow I've always got the impression that Brussels is cold,unfriendly urban environment & somewhat hostile towards people (sadly you're photos don't change my opinion) When taking all those buildings separately,they look really nice,but in such mixture they somehow feel like fake facade. It's hard to explain,but some cities instantly feel like warm,inviting places. Brussels on the other hand,doesn't feel that way. I'm not even sure why.


I would have asked my money back :D But I guess you can't complain over airport food,considering how crappy & overpriced it usually is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nice photos! (looking forward to Madrid part :D)

Somehow I've always got the impression that Brussels is cold,unfriendly urban environment & somewhat hostile towards people (sadly you're photos don't change my opinion) When taking all those buildings separately,they look really nice,but in such mixture they somehow feel like fake facade. It's hard to explain,but some cities instantly feel like warm,inviting places. Brussels on the other hand,doesn't feel that way. I'm not even sure why.
Well, currently Ive showed only first photos of Brussels in small area around Southern train station. Maybe you'll like it better when I post Old Town and other historical quarters, or modern quarters maybe? But I agree that modern quarters looks a bit cold and unfriendly, but isn't it case anywhere? (Tallinn's downtown is actually really rather positive exception there).

But historical houses of Brussels seemed cosy to me, those 3-4 floor different buildings, stretching around in vast areas. Quite lovely.

I would have asked my money back :D But I guess you can't complain over airport food,considering how crappy & overpriced it usually is.
This wasn't that bad, although not good too. One of the most tasty (and cheap in price) English breakfasts I actually ate in one Vilnius Old Town restaurant's :)

But the worst experience in this trip I had with food was in one Madrid's Burger King. Hesburger is burger heaven while Burger King - burger hell, in comparison. Maybe the existence of Burger King in Madrid is the reason why there I didn't spotted any single cat in the city streets ;)
 

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Hehe, I would prefer Burger King over Hesburger any day. Hesburger burgers are so inspiration- and tasteless to me with really boring sauces and bad quality burgers.

When I lived in Belgium I went over the border to Holland to get a tasty burger :p (and it was at least one hour's drive :p).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hehe, I would prefer Burger King over Hesburger any day.
Maybe I was very unlucky, but in that burger which I tasted in Madrid's Burger King, meat tasted really weird (even worse than in Riga's Central Market "belašos", Latvians will understand), but the bread tasted like it had soap-powder baked in... Really awful experience. Even though I was hungry, I couldn't finish my burger completely. If you call Hesburger burgers low-quality, then I don't know how would you call this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
29.



30. Every city has it's "basic" architecture, and these houses are the "backbone" of Brussels. I believe that this "backbone" architecture defines and makes the city much more significantly than few grand top-objects. In this case, Brussels is lucky, imo. Should be cosy to live in such areas. Btw, what's called their architecture style/-s?



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35. Black cars army. Black cars very popular in Brussels? :)



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38. Boulevard Maurice Lemonnier which farther changes it's name, is one of main streets in Brussels centre



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42. On of metro stations

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks!

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47. It seems there another comic painted on the wall



48. Looks like a Paris here:



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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
many thanks, @dj4life!

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68. Grand place was prepared for an impressive event in evening - a medieval festival



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Next update will be after about a week here, as I'm going to another trip...
 

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I haven't heard of such image of Brussels, so I'm wondering where do you all get that. :) Brussels isn't grey and boring at all, at least not in summer.
I think Brussels has got that image because it's has the name of being a rather bureaucratic city, as it is the HQ of the NATO, houses most of the European Institutions (including parliament and commission), is the capital of Belgium and of Flandres. So yes, Brussels is grey and boring in the parts with to many of that glass and steel office buildings. And some old parts were destroyed by bad urbanisation and turned into concrete jungles in the second half of the 20th century.
But Brussels is also a sparkling, beautiful, lively, young, (multi-)cultural metropolis with lots of fantastic neighbourhooods, squares, architecture, parks, festivals etc....

It's not the most beautiful city in Europe, I agree, but it's sure one of the most underrated cities in many ways.

Anyway, very nice and great pictures! Thanks for posting them. :eek:kay:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Next pics!

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76. Brussels most famous shopping arcade



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78. She-cats...



79. This is some university building. Got attracted by green color and design



80. Very coherent architecture



81. This kind of buildings reminds me some Fascist architecture in Italy



82. One of Brussels most famous buildings - cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula. It is considered to be the most outstanding example of Brabant Gothic style.



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87. Fountain with rainbow



88. Another landmark - Royal palace of Brussels

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
89. 2 shots of the street behind which my hotel was located - Rue Royale



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91. Now we are moving to EU institutions modern quarters. Along the Rue Belliard it's all in concrete, steel and glass. The stream of traffic between.



92. Building with green plants immediately stands out here



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95. Buildings at European parliament



96. EU is a bit like empire, so this is 20th Century Imperial style - huge, monumental buildings like all empires likes to build. Of course, I understand the practical need for it - somehow all those deputies and commissioners has to be housed.



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98. Sky bridges to navigate from one building to another without going outside.



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100. "European parliament" in all EU languages. In Latvian it is "Eiropas parlaments". Find yours!

 
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