Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Neon Neon Everywhere, Our Last Night in Brussels

We were resolved to dine in the neon wonderland we had spied the previous day. We hopped on the shuttle and were dropped off minutes later. We are accustomed to dining early, at least by European standards and so saved several euros by getting, not on purpose, just by chance, the "early bird special" on our three course price fixe meal. The neon signs above created a kaleidoscope of colors above the street.

I had grilled escargot, which was crispy, not chewy as escargot can be. Midway through our meal a waiter from our restaurant crossed the narrow street and greeted a waiter at another restaurant, kissing him on both cheeks. It is a custom I found old world and rather charming. I don't think it will ever catch on in the States however., I have trouble visualizing an American frat boy in a sloppy vintage tee yelling "dude" or "bro" prior to laying one on his friend.

After dinner we strolled down the street. Different hued tables and chairs in addition to the bright neon delineated the different restaurants. Coupled with the stands of seafood and vegetables displayed outside some of the eateries the street level colors competed with the signs above. A giant neon scallop shell graced a corner building, the shells gentle curves matching the curve of the buildings facade. The street was a spectacle of color and light. Like Las Vegas might be if LasVegas was restrained and elegant.

On this night the shuttle did appear as scheduled. While waiting we noticed a building some distance down the street we had not noticed before. Covered with what appeared to be LED lights it gradually changed from one color to another. It was a beautiful final sight. We returned to the hotel and went to bed to prepare ourselves for Paris the next day.

Unlike Amsterdam, Brussels does beckon me back. It is a place of great beauty, depth, history and hospitality which richly deserves a return trip.

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