Reading about the saddening attacks in Brussels today, I was reminded of the happy time I spent there last August.

We stayed at the Aloft Brussels Schuman, just a few hundred metres away from the metro station targeted today. Whilst terrorist attacks have, incredibly sadly, become commonplace in our modern world, they carry an extra emotional weight when we have a connection to the place or people involved. For me, having passed through that station countless times over the course of my six-day visit, and having explored much of the surrounding area on foot, today’s news was all the more shocking. The European Quarter, generally very sleepy outside the office hours of the EU staff, was particularly quiet that summer, which makes reconciling today’s events all the more difficult. Imagining the sleepy calm of the quarter torn apart by explosions and innocent bloodshed is too awful to comprehend.

Thankfully, all the guests and staff at the hotel are reported to be safe. My thoughts go out to those affected by the tragedy.

I have only happy memories of my time in Brussels, and this won’t change. For all her citizens, I hope that the recovery is as quick and as long-lasting as possible.

The image above is of the roofline of the Grand Place, in the centre of Brussels

Andreas Richardson