I am quite tempted to stay at the Ibis Midi on my next trip. It will save me the taxi fare to & from the Max, and with a few preparatory drinks in me I won’t mind the long walk up to Cine Paris and Fifth Avenue, and the long walk back, so much perhaps. That would mean I could pop into Gare du Midi every day for a Panos and sight of Dounia, and a paper, and those lovely pizzas, and sometimes a late night chicken & chips in that restaurant next to L’Orient Express. Just the Max is SO cheap at the moment; even with two-way taxi fare it is still cheaper than the Ibis. So on the homeward Eurostar and I put my earphones in, and what is the first song? ‘Heroes’. So apt. Lola. Icona Pop. Night Ride & Sunrise (Sibelius).
Oh, one last pleasure on this holiday: buying my roll in Panos in the station I was served by that stunning Moroccan girl, Dounia. I paid her in mostly small change, and as she counted her way through it the little smile slowly spread across her face before finally she looked up and gave me the big grin. Stunning. The highlight of the whole trip, right there. Oh those Moroccan girls of Brussels.
As I suspected this is one of the busiest Eurostars I’ve ever been on. Note to self—don’t return home Sunday morning in future. The taxi took me down a route I’d never been before: straight down the Rue Royale past the old Museum of Modern Art (now the Magritte and Fin de Siecle etc); I didn’t realise if you carry on down this road it also takes you straight past the Cathedral and straight up to my Holy of Holies, the Justice Palace. Largest building built anywhere in the world in the 19th Century and visible from just about everywhere in Brussels. As always the eternal question, why did such a small country as Belgium and small city as Brussels feel the need to build such a massive Justice Palace? What sins and guilts did they feel they needed to expunge from their souls? It sits on the edge of the great cliff cutting Brussels in two, like the great rift valley in Mexico said to have been opened up the moment Jesus was crucified. From Place Louise down Boulevard de Waterloo, Rue de Russie, and through the middle of the Midi Sunday market to the station.
I WILL come back, because Cine Paris films are rarely as bad as these two were; that new girl Leyla looks quite interesting at Fifth Avenue; and when the weather warms up there is always the Rue d’Aerschot windows. I WILL go back to Berlin, because the naughtiness of Sissi and Monte Carlo (and cheapness) make a good destination after the excellent kabin films of Erotic Point which do the job; and if I ever find a quality girl in 77 the Jacuzzi and sauna option would be an interesting first. But in a month or so it has to be time for Vienna; stopping off for a night in Nuremberg on the way there and in Frankfurt on the way back.
Yes, Cine Paris was rubbish but it is not always so. Yes 5th Avenue was rubbish but there was a new discovery in Leyla who could be worth another look. And Gare du Nord is there when the weather warms up a bit. “Man is no more guilty of following his primitive impulses than is the sea for its waves” etc, that De Sade quote. Well, my primitive impulses led me to doing nothing on the last 2 days in Brussels, except going to bed early and staying there. 1015 Sunday morning. I’ll spend my last 45 minutes in the hotel having a couple of beers, before the taxi back to Midi. I’m no longer even going to pretend I hope to walk back to Midi. Another bright blue-skied cold Brussels morning.
No trip to Brussels is complete without a late night Jean Rollin film, so here I am 2am in the morning watching Two Orphan Vampires (1997). So I did nothing again Saturday. Stopped off in Café Jimmy then on to Fifth Avenue. As expected, no one of any interest for me, and I left after I don’t know how long, and pigged out on a large Domino’s Pizza—just 7,95! Slept through to evening then, and here I am at 3am. My Eurostar leaves at 1152. A rather pointless two days in Brussels, but still better than being in London. A gorgeous steak in Brussels Grill on Friday and a gorgeous Domino’s Pizza on Saturday, but for much less money than they would cost me in London. The main point of the trip was to visit Bowie’s studio in Berlin and I did that so I am content enough.