Whilst many in Brussels were spending their weekend partying at Couleur Café or basking in the sun in the Bois de la Cambre, the Lobby was lucky enough to find itself in and around Brussels-Nord station, trying, as most do, to leave for somewhere else as quickly as possible
Whilst Brussels-Midi gets all the headlines, the Eurostars, and the Thalys, and Brussels-Central has the kudos of being close to the Grand Place, Brussels-Nord is often forgotten, wedged between the glassy exterior of the Brussels business district and the seedy and scruffy red-light area, where window shopping takes on a whole new meaning.
It seems that all strata of Brussels society can be found in the station’s murky depths – the businessman returning home from a hard day in the office, the prostitute touting for business, the pickpocket eyeing your briefcase, and the lost American tourist asking from which “track” the Brussels Airport Express departs.
The Lobby has learnt that a long-awaited renovation will begin on the station, and not before time, but one element of the Brussels-Nord experience sure to remain is the stink of urine, which pervades the entrances with particular gusto, waylaying the unsuspecting traveler as he or she rushes to the platforms.
Brussels-Nord – the bad boy of Brussels stations – is not about to shake-off its reputation just yet.