Christmastime in Brussels
After many unlucky attempts at getting out of Cleveland, I finally hit standby gold, a First Class seat to Brussels. Thanks to the few hours of horizontal sleep I manage, I land into the arms of my favorite Camino souvenir, Filippo, relatively refreshed. Brussels blesses me with a rain-free day, though chilly day. Thankfully, Filippo blocks the wind as we gracefully weave through traffic on his motorbike. I count in my head the years it took for the mental image of myself holding on to the waist of a European as we meander through the commotion of town to come to fruition. I’m living.
We start the afternoon the same as we ended each afternoon on the Camino, eating tapas and drinking Rioja. Soon we are clinking champagne glasses at the Christmas market as the already dim daylight putters out. I’m content sipping slowly, savoring the surroundings; the artistically crafted carousel looming with fantasy-sized beetles, prehistoric creatures and flying machines, transplanting the crowds back in time.
Icicle lights drape the already elegant façades leading up to Grand Place where the masses of tourists are suddenly muted by the golden details that envelop the plaza. One golden detail at our toes catches both our eyes; a familiar scallop shell set in the sidewalk stones, unbeknownst to all but those trained to see. The Camino has caught us yet again.
Maybe the jetlag has finally gotten to me or perhaps the bubbles, but I feel my heart rate slowing and my eyelids drooping. I cling to my Italian as we leave behind the grandeur of the Cinquantenaire Arc du Triomphe. I think it’s all right to close my eyes now. Goodnight Brussels.
Have you been to Brussels during the holidays?