Saturday, 12 December 2015

Brussels

Brussels is supposed to have a rather good Christmas market. In Grand place was a grand Christmas tree and a rather good nativity with real sheep grazing inside. The Christmas market itself was in the streets between there and Bourse. Maybe it was the rain, maybe the curfew, but I found it underwhelming, especially compared to the markets in many provincial German towns.

On my way to visit a friend, I passed The European Commission building - large, glass, curved front  - where the wheels of democracy turn very slowly. Over the road, the Old Hack Pub, and near it Kitty o'Shea's, where the borderless lubricant of alcohol flows very smoothly. They serve Guinness.

Just look at 11 Square Ambiorix. Victor Horta in a building. Maison St. Cyr, built by Art Deco architect Gustav Strauven, for himself, stands as a brash statement of ├╝ber-art amid the merely interesting architecture around it. Apparently the building is renovated, but the mesh across the nain doora suggests a slightly different story. It isn't open to visitors though.

Brussels Midi/Zuid station: gateway to the world. Trains leave for France, Germany, the Netherlands, beyond, and to Britain, that Island people who refuse to understand what freedom of movement means. And whose borders remain guarded as the rest of Europe tries to live out its promise of freedom.

St Pancras.  We are sorry to announce that the 20.08 to West Hampstead has been cancelled. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.  Welcome to Britain.

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