Monday, 5 March 2012

In Brussels

After Tilburg, I kept checking to see if Wilco were coming back to Europe for another tour. When I found out that yes, they were returning to Europe, I checked the dates and cities and I quickly realized Holland was not an option: they were playing in Groeningen, that is not so far from Amsterdam as the lack of public transportation makes you want to believe. It looked that I had to add an extra day anyway, so, why not going somewhere I've never been? Or maybe go back to Italy?
At the end I went for option number one and headed to Brussels.

The concert was great: Wilco were at the top of their form, nobody complained I sang and Ancienne Belgique is a great concert hall with an amazing acoustics.
Even so, though, I got a big doubt that grew bigger and bigger in the past concerts: is there a I of dress code to be a member kind of the band?
No, seriously, I mean it:  it looks like Nels, Pat and John have bought trousers and shirts in the same shop (bulk buy?) and Glenn and Mikael sport the same kind of mustache! And it's not the first time I noticed.
I know that I was there for the music, but I can't help it! If I weren't so short and the stage not so high, I'd probably have some comments about the shoes as well! Not that I ever ask any of them a similar question if I ever met them... well, that depends on the shoes they sport!

But let's not get side tracked, as the topic at hand is my weekend in Brussels. The only problem now is to convince my brain to work, as it seems to short-circuit at the mere mention of the town.
Apparently my brain associates its name to the chocolate and the simple memory of it sends it into a cocoa induced external dimension, made of chocolate, truffles, cocoa powder and gosh I'm tripping again! One of the first thing I did in Brussels was trying a hot chocolate at Pierre Marcolini.
At the beginning I was not entirely convinced, years of life abroad taught me to be very aware and doubtful when it comes to hot chocolate and the drink in my hand looked too liquid and not dark enough. Boy, was I wrong!
After the first sip of it, my taste buds went haywire. I come from Torino, we know two or three things about chocolate and right now I'm loving in a place where chocomel is considered to be cocoa based, let alone good! So drinking this hot chocolate was just like heaven, even better than that, given I'm an atheist.

I can't say I found Brussels beautiful, in the way I can say Florence or Paris are.
But Brussels got charm, it's fascinating and enchanting.

I was lucky because I happened to be there just on time for the museum night, so after the concert I went around museums up till late. I even met some old friend in a museum:



I spent hours walking around, soaking in the atmosphere, in the pace of the town and its people, in the voices all around me.
I told some friends it gives me the same kind of vibe Genoa does: maybe it's because I've been used to live in flatland and having to face streets going up and now, constantly turning around. It's the odd mixture of expensive shops in run down neighbourhood, the rhythm of life.
If it weren't for the museum night I probably wouldn't have been to so many museums, but I still have the impression I've seen a lot and done even more.
And I'm not just talking about beer tasting!

Magritte


And after this weekend, another trip is about to begin.
London here I come.
Brussels, wait for me, I shall be back.

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