On the study-spot hunt

The sun has been out and Belgians are acting like they’re in the south of France. It’s been positively glorious.

Thus, I’ve been attempting to spend as much time outdoors as possible. This involves long walks in between classes in new neighborhoods, and reading books in new parks, and finding study spots that I can settle into as the year goes on.

On one of these days, I hopped on the tram after class and got off at Le Grand to peruse the Avenue Louise area — a major thoroughfare with posh shops and cute brasseries, and little did I know, a bar that I had been to the week before! In the late afternoon, high class, suited-up men walk with a purpose. In the early afternoon though, those same high class, suited-up men can be seen sharing beers with other high class, suited up men, with ever-so-slight belligerence in the air.

I walked, gawked, and then read at the nearby La Cambre Abbey, a gorgeous abbey with pristine gardens, formally lined trees and an old church, amongst other sights I inevitably didn’t see. At that moment, stumbling upon this little haven right beside one of the busiest streets in the city, I could do nothing but lie down on one of the slanted lawns and close my eyes.

Brussels has so many parks, so many adorable hidden nooks, that I’m sure I won’t get tired of exploring any time soon. A couple of days ago, I took a book to Parc du Cinquantenaire. With its adjacent museums and sprawling, ornate greenery, and not to mention the arc, this park is certainly no secret. That doesn’t make it any less enjoyable though, and on a weekday afternoon, a tourist was not in sight (well, except for me). Nope, there were local Belgian youth, still on holiday, sitting in groups and sharing bottles of wine. There was a young couple necking against stone, little boys kicking a soccer ball around, and a smartly dressed but withered man staring into a fountain, chain smoking.

But the weather won’t be this wonderful for long, which means I have to find some cozy indoor spots for my general reading and people watching needs. A distinct possibility is Cafe de la Presse, on Avenue Louise, conveniently just steps away from the tram stop. While my cappuccino was nothing special, it wasn’t terrible either, and the treats looked awfully good. And the cafe’s cute feature is a plethora of international newspapers on stock, which is cute. The interior is warm and inviting, with thrift store-esque furniture and trendy lighting. And most importantly, there’s free wi-fi and lots of sockets.


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