The cobblestones. Yes, they ruined three pairs of my expensive leather Canadian high heels. I trip over stones sticking out of ground pretty much everyday and sometimes more than once a day. There is a particular stone that sticks out on the sidewalk in front of my apartment, which I’ve tripped over many times. But I just can’t seem to find where it’s sticking up or to remember to avoid that general area.
The cobblestones are tricky. They also get very slippery when wet and it rains quite a bit in Brussels. They aren’t like ice patches in Canada where your one foot decides to slide out so quickly as if you were a not-so-gracious gymnast doing the splits spontaneously. The wet cobblestones somehow make only part of your foot slip: like the heel for example. You slip and it’s a “woopsie” moment, where the person walking towards you barely notices and you wouldn’t even spill the coffee you were holding.
The cobblestones give Europe part of its character. There are large cobblestones, little cobbles stones and I’ve even seen really pretty white cobblestones, near the European Parliament of course. But they are a beautiful pearly white contrasting the dark grey stones. They were used to create the crosswalk for pedestrians.
The sound of the cars tires on the cobblestones makes it sound like you are driving at least 10-15kms faster than you are. It’s such a neat sound; it makes you aware that you’re really going somewhere.
I think that the backyard of my future house, will definitely have a cobblestone patio. With small cobblestones, not big square tiles, and they will be shaped in an arch, because usually they are not lined up in a perfectly straight row. They have more character than that.
Read about other positive trade-offs to living in Europe: