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March 1997 · Brussels
(with day trips to Brughes, Ghent, and Antwerp

March 14-18, 1997. We stayed at the Hotel Arlequin. Among others, we went to La Maison de Cygne for dinner and Comme Chez Soi for lunch, both places much-admired at the time. Also good was Bij den Boer. Wonderful food, but an ugly city. We took very few pictures in Brussels, and Brugges and Ghent were heaven in comparision.
Our hotel and the view

What everybody remembers about Brussels is the Grand Place (above). Just off the plaza is the church of St. Nicholas, a Romanesque foundation from the 11th century since overbuilt in Gothic style. From the outside, the most medieval thing about it is the cluster of shops that share a wall with the church. There is a small Rubens inside. The church was bombarded by the French in 1695.


The windows always looked good.
Below is the famous icon of Brussels, left, parodied, right, dressed in a uniform.

Nice things abound, and, when we were there, good food. But it's a dreary town, much ugliness to be seen everywhere, and the weather, as you can see, was anything but bright.
George, looking sensational, was there to brighten it up.

April 30, 2018