In Brussels, with its narrow streets many of which are one-way only, parking tends to be quite an experience. To find a space where someone leaves enough room to fit a normal sized car is least to say an adventure. For example, you want to go to a particular café to have a Lait Russe (or as the English know it: Latte). So you get to the street and there is a line-up (or queue as they say in Europe) of cars honking. In Brussels, they don’t honk just once. One person lays on the horn for a solid minute and then the whole line of cars follows suit. Some cars further down beep once just to join in even though they have no idea what the hold up is. There is a chorus of frustration. You could add a melody over top and you could have a car horn orchestra.

After five minutes of waiting for the car at the front of the line to finally turn left, you proceed to spin around the block looking for a spot. But not without stopping for pedestrians j-walking or for cars parked in the middle of the street with drivers who think that putting their hazards on automatically makes it a parking space. No luck, just like everyone else.

You somehow end up back on the street you want to be on…..and there it is! A small window: a few feet where a motorcycle or scooter could fit nicely between two parked cars. What to do? You check behind you and crank the steering wheel hard to the left and then you back into the small space. Facing perpendicular to the other cars, you get out of your car, walk the three steps it takes to sit down on the patio chair and see that you have plenty of room on either side.

Now that’s smart parking!

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