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A Fence Can't Keep Me Out

BELGIUM | Thursday, 21 August 2014 | Views [1857] | Comments [1]

The sign on the 2 metre tall construction fence was in French. I couldn’t read what it said, but I assumed it was something along the lines of, “Keep out, or angry Belgians will lynch you.” I decided to claim ignorance, looked around to make sure the coast was clear, and quickly scaled the fence.

I had been wandering around the city of Brussels for more than 6 hours. I had really enjoyed the old architecture of the Grand Place, despite people telling me there was nothing to see here. The massiveness of the Palais de Justice, which when constructed was the largest building in Europe completely blew me away. I even managed to stumble across the Museum of Natural Sciences and was excited to be dwarfed by fully assembled skeletons of ancient dinosaurs. But none of these things had restricted access because of a fence.

Grand Place

The Grand Place

Once I landed on my feet I glanced behind me to see if I had been spotted. It seemed I had gotten away with my illegal entrance. I began to walk through the forbidden plot of land and realised that what looked like over grown shrubs and grass was actually a small community garden filled with vegetable patches and sprouting herbs. I cruised through the sustainable development in the middle of the busy city, only 200 metres from the European Union headquarters. It seemed as though no one had tended to this garden in quite a while, as everything seemed to be growing out of control.

Brussels Garden

My own private garden.

At the end of the garden was another small entrance to an area that had recently had its grass mowed. I left the tufts of rosemary behind and stepped into the next yard. A red brick cottage had been abandoned amongst large trees on the edge of a park. It looked like the kind of place a family from the Middle Ages would live in, going about their daily lives, stoking coal fires and forging chain mail armour. I couldn't believe this place was locked behind gates instead of attracting thousands of tourists to admire its quaintness in the shadows of the Parlamentarium.

I sat down on the grass and appreciated the quiet atmosphere in the heart of the city. Before I allowed myself to become too relaxed I decided to make my escape before someone found me and beat me to death with a Belgian waffle.

Brussels Garden House

Oasis amongst the skyscrapers.

I snuck back to the fence, looked up and down the street, and then jumped over it as quickly as I could. I hit the ground and started walking before anyone would stop me to ask questions. My brief trespassing stint had been successful and a jail cell was luckily not in my immediate future.

I headed back towards the Royal Palace and noticed the hordes of tourists gathered around snapping pictures. I envisioned them all huddled around my little cottage taking photos as well. The appeal of that hidden attraction would be lost. I’m now thankful to whoever put up that fence, protecting its serenity. I’m especially thankful that the fence didn’t keep me out.

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace


Tags: belgium, brussels, europe



Ha! I can totally see you jumping fences... what a fun story. I love the way you described this hidden oasis. Makes me want to go!

  aeileenr Aug 21, 2014 5:21 AM

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