Unlike Spain, France or China, there seems to be no national physical “type” in Belgium.  Notions of Hercule Poirot vanish when presented with varietal faces that range from pale Flemish damsels to the deep dark shades of Congo ancestry.  Of course, the presence of tourists confuse the whole mess, turning the tiny city of Brussels into a United Nations of neutral bonhomie.

Ours was a short/long weekend.  Short, because you lose precious hours as you fight the jet lag, consciousness blurring as you struggle with the time change.  Still, time spent in a new city (to me) always provides tiny windows of perception.  The craziness, as the buskers try to corral customers who stroll through the city center’s Galerie at dinnertime; the innocence of children, babies in buggies balancing little knit hats or small gaggles of kindergartners held rapt by their crush-worthy teachers in the galleries of the Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts. 

That museum was a highpoint, especially for the discovery of Bram Bogart, a man who paints with a trowel to electric effect–though their Brueghels collection, and the works of Paul Delvaux held potent magic all their own.  Out in the city, we marveled at the quality of life being lived: so much energy coursing through Parc de Bruxelles, the Sunday market in Marolles and the stretch of shops along the Rue du Marche aux Herbes.  I recommend Brussels for a getaway.  Start saving your Euros—for real deals, check out Gate1travel.com.  Proost! (cheers).  

 above, Bram Bogart’s Les Carres