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Brussels

We were meant to have three hours to see a snippet of Brussels between trains, but then the train was late and it was two hours, and finally I was disoriented by the poor signage in the station which failed to correspond to streets visible on my map, so we wasted another 15 minutes being on several wrong sides of Brussels-Midi.

Thus, by the time we were anywhere near our destination, the Grande Place, we were already wondering if trying to fit in token tourism there was a mistake. At least we'd checked our bags at the station, but it was nippy out, and the neighborhood was unprepossessing.

Finally, the streets narrowed, the shops became more upmarket and dense, and off in the distance we could hear the opening strains of Ravel's Bolero - perhaps a live concert? over-amped music spilling out from a classically-inclined bar?

The Grande Place was lovely, both smaller and grander than we had expected from guidebook descriptions as, in the 6 pm dark, we walked around the central Christmas tree and saw the dimly-lit buildings on the sides of the square among moderate crowds, the post-1695 bombardment guildhalls, the town hall, and an empty central stage.

Bolero, recorded, wound to a close, and then we saw this...



As luck would have it, we'd intercepted the beginning of a twenty minute sound-and-light show, illuminating the square with lasers and filters from the poles edging that empty central stage and the circular seating area around it. It was lovely and photogenic (having finally, after years, discovered how good my camera can be at taking photos in the dark). It's more accurate to say the previous photo was at the end of the next piece, however, the shining sculpture of justice on top of city hall being the (literaly) culmination of its lighting.



Each song was differently themed, visually, exploring different façades with different lights and colors.



The duration of the electricity-company-sponsored display was just about all the time we had before we needed to head back to the station, but it had made our walk into central Brussels ever so much more satisfying. It was well worth the trip.

I was tempted to entitle this "B is for Brussels", since I've given you "A for Antwerp", but those posts are together only because the DDoS attack has kept me from posting in the interim - it was inaccessible the few times along the way I tried.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
gillpolack
Dec. 7th, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)
What a lovely way to spend that odd time between travel.

If you use that title system, you will have to travel to Zanzibar eventually.
owlfish
Dec. 7th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)
I suspect there are any number of other Z-places I might happen across sooner - the Netherlands and Belgium are quite likely for them.

Clearly, I'm due for a C destination next, which could well be Clapham, Croydon, or Cambridge rather than anything further afield.
gillpolack
Dec. 7th, 2011 12:06 pm (UTC)
If in doubt, choose the option that gives us the prettiest photos...
desperance
Dec. 7th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
Of the given three, that would be Cambridge. Go see Kari!
marzapane
Dec. 8th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
What wonderful serendipity! Sounds like you had a magical hour in Brussels.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )