I just realised that sometimes World Tour feels a lot like a pure vacation. Like when I wandered about Dublin in the middle of the night or when I spent a leisurely day in London. Yet at other times it feels a lot like travelling for work, or business. Like when I’m dealing with the Singapore-related emails or when we have to rush from airport to concert venues.
Belgium has been wonderful. I’m quite impressed with the 25 year old Prince Simon de Merode whose castle at Westerlo was the venue for the Havard Club of Belgium’s casino night. The Prince also showed up at the concert we had tonight at the official residence of the Deputy Head of Mission of the American Embassy in Brussels.
The food has been fantastic here in Belgium. I would love to live here (or really in most places in Western Europe) and work for a while, I think. The scampi, ribs and beer at Wieren in Leuven was memorably good. Leuven in general is very pleasant and interestingly quaint, yet bustling with the energy of a University town.
I’ve enjoyed my homestay here a lot. While Patti White’s stunning townhouse flat in the tony part of London (Holland Park) was arguably more luxe–wait till you see the pictures of the colossal guest bathroom covered in trompe l’oeil murals on the walls and ceiling–I think Professor Paul Verlin’s recently renovated (and not quite finished) house here in a leafy neighborhood in Leuven has been exceptionally comfortable. The house boasts custom hand-carved artisanal staircases, an AGA stove in the kitchen and a raindance shower rose in the guest bathroom (really a guest apartment on the top floor). Staying here has been like staying in a really fabulous spa in Sweden. Very restful, calming and rejeuvenating. I’ve also really enjoyed spending time with the Verlins and chatting with Paul, Ann-Marie, Charlotte and Emily on all sorts of things.
It’s sad that Dublin will get narry a mention here on the blog, nor will London, though I will say that it was fantastic to have Laurel and Kenneth in the audience at the Christchurch concert, and I trully loved the time I spent in Oxford with wonderful company (really makes me wish I’d gone to uni there, and certainly tempts me to consider graduate work there). There’s just too much to say, particularly because I’m constantly busy either doing things that really should be journalled about eventually to preserve them for posterity, or sleeping to recover from the exertion of said activity. On the upside I’ve been pretty meticulous about keeping a photo-record of the trip thus far (save for the last 36 hours when all my camera batteries aggravatingly died on me). The pictures will just have to do in place of actual written records.
Je suis ravie d’avoir l’opportunité de parler français à la Belgique
Tomorrow, Luxembourg. Off to pack again!