We all know about the crisis. Austerity. Tightening the belt. Giving up on things. Which is when we have to take decisions – what do we cut? What we enjoy most suddenly has a cost attached to it. Like holiday!
However I am not one to give up my holidays. So how best to marry the crisis and the all important holiday feel? Well, first things first – take a look around. Brussels is not called a melting pot for nothing. Maybe the weather is not what you’d expect from a sunny holiday, but with a bit of will and imagination you can almost feel like a holidaying tourist in Brussels. And isn’t it great to sometimes get a bit lost in your home town? Here are my five tips on how to holiday … at home:
Eat out! There is a huge variety of restaurants in Brussels. Maybe even one for every week of the year. I am not talking here of the usual Italian, Spanish and so on. What about an Ethiopian? Or a South African? Or if you feel like mixing it up a little why not try to dine and meet locals through book-a-local . I admit still have to give this a try but so far I have only heard great things thereof.
Shop! On my street alone I have a Danish, a Polish, a Spanish and a Turkish grocery shop. Get over the initial intimidation (yes, usually these shops tend to be full with given nationality, but isn’t that the same when you are abroad?) It feels like a mini holiday every time I go shopping – different foods, wines I don’t know and don’t even get me started on the frozen goods. Move away from the safe into the unknown. And of course, there is always the Ikea food section.
Dance! A variety of festivals – although a bit underground – focus on certain parts of the world. Longing for Argentina? The Tango Festival is not far away. And save the date already for Couleur Cafe.
Explore! Each commune in Brussels is known (although not officially) for a predominant nationality. Which means there are usually different cultural activities, meetings, street festivals, shops and more you can get acquainted with. Just so you know, I am becoming somewhat of an expert on the Spanish festivals calendar. The photo above is when we ventured out to another commune (Stokkel) for the annual Thai Food Festival … by bike!
Share! Most of us expats are from somewhere … else. Share and invite your friends over to discover a bit of you and your country. So far I have shared Orthodox Easter traditions, invited friends over for a Romanian wine tasting and there is more planned. A slice of holiday at home.
this blog post also appeared on Fans of Flanders