December 7th, 2011

Fishy Circumstances


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...

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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.
Fishy Circumstances

Civic Alphabet

A is for Antwerp (although I then went to Amsterdam, so between them, A is well-covered.)
B is for Brussels

So what are the rules of this game? I was thinking about that when I passed through Sloane Square and took a picture of its Christmas lights tonight, unable to remember if it's in Belgravia or Chelsea. The answer's Belgravia and from there I went to Battersea, so it's moot whether or not a borough should count for this project as I was loitering in the Bs.

Based on the accidental start, my inclination is to stick to whatever appropriate civic entity comes along (or I seek out) in alphabetical order. I know this means it could take years to complete. That's okay.

Clearly too, I need to take at least one photo while in the relevant location.

But what counts as an appropriate location? Clearly cities do. But do boroughs? Do sestieri? Do sprawling suburbs? If it's a civic administrative unit, does that count, or does it have to be a separately delineated city/town/village? If I counted Manhattan for M, should I simultaneously count New York City for the next letter along?

I know it's my project - should I choose to pursue it - but I'm still interested in your thoughts on it.