Remedial Wife is fond of a good pair of heels but Brussels does not make this easy. In fact, it makes it a daily battle of wills.
The city’s streets and pavements are not in a good state. Mr B and I are often strongly reminded of Bombay during monsoon as we skirt around potholes in the car. Driving on the motorway, crossing from one region to another is notable not only because of the change in language on signs but also because of the different road surfaces which are much better in the north than the south.
Leaving aside the, ahem, crottes de chien that make the city famous (oh the wrath incurred by the BBC’s former Brussels correspondent a decade ago!), what gets me most upset are those “not quite cobblestones” that grab your heels and send you flying sans chassure.
Those wearing heels in Brussels will need to:
- keep their eyes firmly down on the street ahead;
- quickly learn what I have dubbed “the pony prance”. This entails taking small steps on the soles of your feet in an effort to get across the worst patches of pavement much like those horses doing dressage at the Olympics this summer;
- steer clear of any surface which has sand scattered all over it – this is a ploy to draw you in and trap you
- pack a pair of emergency flats for when you have to walk through dodgy areas at night and/or have to take one of the old, yellow trams (all those steep steps to clamber)
Having stumbled and cursed and had three pairs of heels ruined by the city’s cobblestones this year, I thought I would present a guide to good and bad paving in the capital of Europe as a warning to all those preparing to totter around to various Christmas soirees. Hopefully, you’ll then be able to strut through the Sablon and waltz around Woluwe, rather than falling flat on your a%$e in Auderghem (it has happened).