Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 1: Panic Tourism

After arriving here yesterday morning, my mood has been what could best be described as bipolar: I've been vacillating between great excitement about what Brussels has to offer (like the cleverly designed mailboxes, left) and a range of more negative emotions, ranging from mild homesickness to outright panic.

In order to deny ourselves the opportunity to completely freak out, J and I embarked on an extensive walking tour of Ixelles - where we're staying on Avenue Louise - Chatelain, and Sablon (both Places Grand and Petit), eventually winding our way to the tourist-swarmed Grand Place, where we will not be making another appearance until our first visitor arrives or the Christmas market starts, whichever comes first.

Of course, we did not manage to do all of this without getting lost - or having a piece of beef chucked at us (specifically, J) while lost in Marolles. Along the way, we saw some nice examples of Art Nouveau, courtesy of a Lonely Planet walking tour (which should be an item on Stuff White People Like if it's not already).

At the end of the stroll, we had dinner in Place de Grand Sablon at a fairly nondescript brasserie across from Pierre Marcolini chocolates. The going price for moules frites seems to hover around €22, which was a little higher than I expected. While the food was good, I also wondered whether it will be one of those places we will chuckle at having dined on our first night a few years from now. After all, both J and I thought the Slaughtered Lamb was "authentic" when we first arrived in New York.

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