We often remember exactly where we were during a tragic world event and 2016 certainly had no shortage of these. In particular, one day stands out to me – 22 March 2016 – and it still feels surreal to me that I was there. I still remember the way I felt when the early morning bustling city suddenly became as empty and still as a war-zone.
I took the photo on the left at about ten in the morning, a time when traffic and pedestrians clog the city streets. Yet business and stores had closed, the metro stations had shut down and locals were leaving the city centre. The only sound was of sirens from the emergency services vehicles rushing to the scene of the second explosion. A quiet, almost eerie feel descends upon the city.
Now one year later and although the tragic events are still fresh in our minds, the city has has started to recover. Tourists are slowly returning and the airport is back up and running. However, security has been increased and visibly present just like it was after the Paris attacks.
Unfortunately, this is the future of travel we will face from now on. But as travellers, these events also make us stronger and more aware about the world around us.
It is possible to enjoy cities like Brussels safely. Brussels is a beautiful, old city and worthwhile to spend a couple of days (or weeks) visiting. It is the perfect home base to explore the rest of Belgium.
Walk through the streets of Brussels today and you will see the flowers are out, the cafes are full and the stores are once again thriving. Life has returned to the chocolate capital of the world.
I will remember my trip to Brussels as friendly and cheeky (see photo of blow up cat on a bike right). But of course, I will remember the numerous chocolate stores and factories, especially the Easter window displays and taste testing chocolate at Godiva.
So don’t let tragic world events keep you from venturing out and exploring the world. Be vigilant. Be safe. Be aware. But most of all enjoy your travel journey. You will discover beauty and kindness greatly overpowers tragedy.