Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Journey to the Domaine Royal

It was my second (and last) run in Brussels. The first day, I'd gone to a rectangular park with a 0.8-mile perimeter and run around and around and across and around, and I was ready for something new. I had found a nice park on the map, about 1.5 miles north of my hostel, so I ran there.

It looks nice, doesn't it?

I could see the park, on the opposite side of a 10-foot-high brick wall, but there was no entrance. No problem; I would just run along the wall until I found the entrance. I ran along the wall for a few minutes, and saw no entrance. Hmmm. 

I asked a woman I passed, "excusez-moi, Madame, ou est l'entree du parc?" (where is the entrance to the park?) "Tout droit," she said (straight ahead). I must have looked surprised. "Tout droit!" Fine, I believe you. I went straight ahead, and there was a basketball court, but no entrance to the park itself. I kept going. Maybe it was further along, straight ahead. 

As I ran, I saw an entrance that had been completely bricked up. Hmmm, weird. Then I saw another bricked-up entrance. Very weird. I started to think that maybe the park didn't have an entrance. 

I passed some men doing yard work for the city. "Excusez-moi, monsieur, est-ce que il y a un entree du parc?" (is there an entrance to the park?) He pointed in the direction opposite the park, toward some houses. "Le parc?" "Non, ce parc." I pointed to the park that was 10 feet away on the other side of a high wall. 

He laughed. "Non!" He launched into a long explanation that I only understood about half of, including the word "roi." Wait, seriously? "C'est le parc du roi?" I asked. "Oui." "Seulement le roi peut utiliser le parc?" (only the king can use the park?) "Oui." 

Oh, man. That is so weird. He told me there was another park nearby. I went there. It was basically a long thin strip up a hill. I ran up and down it twice and then ran home. It was okay. 

Moral of the story: I have excellent taste in parks. 

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