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Manneken Pis in Chocolate, shop window in BrusselsJust returned from the annual Art class jolly, this time in Brussels. (Last year was Berlin—we are working our way through capitals that start with ‘B’).

As before we were the oldest guests in the youth hostel, which was surprisingly comfortable and quiet despite being pretty full the whole week. From there it was a 15 minute walk to the city centre. Highlights of the week were the Musical Instruments Museum which had more bagpipes than you could wave a pair of ear-defenders at,  and some of the strangest instruments I’ve ever seen; the Folon Foundation housed in the farm at the Chateau La Hulpe, with scores of the whimsical works of Jean-Michel Folon, sculptor and watercolorist; and the aptly named Delirium Café that serves over three thousand types of beer. I became oddly attracted to the various types of fruit beer you can find in Belgium, including the Kriek, made with cherries. Thank you, Roy, for introducing me to that!

One evening we stepped off the beaten track and discovered the African quarter near Porte de Namur and a great Congolese Bistro where some of the braver (and non-vegetarian) members of the group sampled the house special – porcupine!

On the way home, a stop at the Matisse museum in Le Cateau-Cambrésis which was well worth the detour, having the third largest collection of Matisse’s work in France, a large collection of Auguste Herbin’s work and others, including a couple of Giacommettis. A great week in a great city and worth another visit.

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