There are a few cultural things I would like to do in Brussels—visit Rue de la Montagne, the site of the famous Hôtel du Grand Miroir where Baudelaire stayed during his unhappy sojourn in Brussels which he hated, and where he kept a bat in a cage as his pet that he captured in a nearby cemetery. Place Rouppe where Verlaine tried to shoot poor Rimbaud for a SECOND time; only after this was he arrested and charged and began his 2 years in prison. He had been escorting Rimbaud to the Gare du Midi to see him off to Paris when his jealousy overcame him again. The Rue Ducale 51 where Byron stayed for 2 nights after fleeing England for the last time once & for all. And most of all the corner of Rue des Cendres and Rue de la Blanchisserie—where the Duchess of Richmond gave “the most famous ball in history”, attended by Wellington and his generals on the eve of the Battle of Quatre Bras (four bras? Phwoar!), which preceded the Battle of Waterloo by 2 days. It goes without saying I have been to almost all these places already without realising the historical importance of the place I was. That is why it really does pay to do some research before visiting a city, even one I have visited a million times—it adds so much value to a visit to know the history under your feet every street you walk down. On Rue des Cendres of course is also the site of the Hospital St Jean that Baudelaire was taken to after his massive stroke, and where Rimbaud was taken after Verlaine shot him (unless that was the Hospital St Jean on the Passage 44 site; there were two hospitals of almost identical names about 50 yards apart). Five very loud American women have just “filled” the lounge. How loud Americans always seem to be (Spaniards are quieter but get up very early to scoff all the croissants). 1215 just finished my second beer of the day.