Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Brussels: 2 July

Ok - I am actually writing this in my sunny B&B in Amsterdam, but there is a story about Brussels I can't omit. First, Brussels is very beautiful in an elegant old lady kind of way. But for me, it felt a little starched. Lee noticed right away that people seemed in a hurry - like almost running. It got to be funny to watch it. I don't think it was the rain...everyone had an umbrella. Speaking of which...So, I noticed that mostly people looked rather plain (not unlike my own dear Minneapolis), not showy in their dress, mostly black, a little black now and then, and then for accent - black. you get the picture. No makeup. Practical shoes. Not alot of smiles. All the umbrellas were black. Now, I'm ok because I'm in dark brown pants with a black top, black clogs (for the rain) and a dark olive drab (drab is the key word here!) topper coat (again, rain). Now, we have one umbrella and it is not large enough for two. So, I decide to get my own umbrella at a local market. Well, they are out of black, so I have to choose between leopard and a red floral print. I think in this city they could use something a little happy, so i go for the red floral. We leave the shop and I pop that sucker open.

Suddenly, Lee notices that people are turning their heads to look at me as they pass by me at 90 miles an hour - on foot - then we both notice laughter right next to us. I make a joke that it is about my umbrella in this rather stern setting and he says, "It's not a joke. They are laughing at you." We both start laughing so hard I can't distinguish the rain from the tears in my eyes. But I begin to think he is right and then, of course, I am paranoid about my happy umbrella because I have committed a horrible fashion faux pas - and am somewhat enjoying it. It becomes the "story" of Brussels and Lee enjoys it all as much as I have.

Brussels has amazing seafood so we ate it to our heart's content, knowing we wouldn't see anything from the sea in Florence - which is the only downside to Florence so far. Brussels should be seen when one isn't jet-lagged and delirious, as I was. Obviously...who would buy that umbrella under the condition of sanity?

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