We're staying in the old part of Brussels with the town square just behind our hotel which until 60 years ago was a prison!! The old town hall and King's residence built in the 1400's along with buildings as new as the 1890's make up the ornate square catering to tourists with restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. The surrounding streets are more of the same, loads of gift shops selling Belgian lace, Belgian bier and statues of the famous urinating little boy. Well, I suppose with enough Belgian bier and we all become urinating boys. There are hundreds of restaurants and cafes and Belgium prides itself on being the European culinary capitol of the world. A lofty claim that I cannot comment on yet. Belgium is the centre of the European Union and the EU is governed from this country.
We played in Antwerp tonight, about an hour's drive form Brussels. On the drive Steve Rayment our road manager asked a pub trivia question; name three famous people from Belgium. We couldn't. Once we got to the gig Matt got on the computer and found Magrite, Heronynmous Bosch, Django Reinhardt, Toots Theilman, Herges (creator of Tin Tin,) Audrey Hepburn and more. Please do not hold me responsible for the spelling of these names.
Antwerp was industrial, grey, rainy and bleak, the venue a concrete monstrosity that smelled like a public toilet. The crowd of 11,000+ was brilliant. They'd been threatening to get up and come down front through the early part of the show. During Sultans people took the floor and started dancing and before long the entire front of the stage and all the aisles were standing for the remainder of the gig. Very exciting. After the show we drove back to Brussels and the ex-prison called The Hotel Amigo, sounding very much like a seedy flophouse in the wrong part of Albuquerque.
Tomorrow's a day off here in Brussels, gym, shopping, sampling the Belgian biers and examining evidence of culinary superiority.