Monday, September 21, 2009

Dimanche Sans Voiture

Yesterday was "Car Free Sunday" (aka in French as "Dimanche Sans Voiture). No cars were allowed in greater Brussels all day (a total of 162 square kilometers). And the "Car Free" concept was carried over to 32 towns and cities across the country. Quite a logistics feat to pull off shutting down so many major highways but it helps emphasize the accessibility and importance of public transport in our attempts at a 'greener' world. All public transport was free for the day and folks biked, walked, and roller-bladed down the major urban beltway through the city. But it was more than just plain old Car Free Day. I was blown away by how much was going on this past weekend. I guess without cars that frees up lots of space for folks to PAR-TAY! I think it was an all out "squeeze the last bit of summer out for all it is worth" ode to Belgium.
Dear "Anyone who is bored or says there is nothing to do in Brussels," - I have no sympathy for you. Zilch.

*** At the Grand Place was the Fete de la Communaute Francaise. During this festival the French community celebrates with concerts, theatre, and tons of festival fun. *** There were two major events at the Parc Cinquantenaire:
---- The Waiters' Race was on Saturday. Supposedly if you go you'll never complain about slow service again...hmmm. Armed with a tray bearing a bottle of liquor and three full glasses, the perfectly poised waiters head for the finish line.
---- It was also Golden Sunday at Parc Cinquantenaire. Kind of a tribute to the Winter Olympics. Kirk won VIP tickets to attend this event , but unfortunately we couldn't go. There were ski and bobsled simulations among many other events.

*** Right in front of the Place des Palais was the Bruxelles ChampĂȘtre 2009. It was an enormous community picnic at the Royal Palace. There were organic food stands, carnival rides and picnic tables all around. I did make it to the final moments of this event as they were picking up the sod. Cool concept! *** In the Brussels Forest there was a Medieval Fest.
*** Near the Place Royale was Beau-Beau, a sale of handmade crafts and exhibits.
*** In Flagey Square there was a festival of Polish artists and events.
*** At the Botanique galleries on Rue Royale their art collection was free with appointment this past weekend.

***Finally it was the Grand Reopening the Mont des Arts. Even though we were out of town we pushed back in time to see this event Sunday night. It just cracks me up that Brussels is throwing a major event in celebration of the end of construction. There has been major construction happening here for the past 2 and 1/2 YEARS! Gotta love Brussels. The reveal of the area didn't show off a lot new but there were performers and fireworks and thousands of folks there to cheer it on. I wanted to celebrate this milestone especially because this is a key walking route for me and I am sick of dodging the construction gunk. HOORAY!

I think there must be an endless list of "whats on when" for Brussels. Admittedly it does seem haphazard as to what is happening and difficult to pinpoint complete info online. Juggling those 3 languages muddies the water a bit. But poke around. This city continues to amaze me one year later with all there is to do and experience!A Few Fun Events Upcoming in Brussels include:
Brussels Museums Nocturnes
BRXL Bravo
Design September 2009

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