FolkestoneJack's Tracks

A journey from Lego to Tintin

Posted in Belgium, Brussels, England, London by folkestonejack on November 24, 2011

I have long intended to spend a weekend in Brussels after catching a fleeting glimpse of the city at night years ago, but in the end it has taken me sixteen years to make the trip back. It is also my first opportunity to take the Eurostar from St Pancras. All my previous trips on Eurostar had been from Waterloo International and as convenient as that was for a south londoner it’s impossible to deny the vast improvement in departure lounge facilities that the move north has brought about.

I had feared that I wouldn’t reach St Pancras in time after getting to my local station to find announcements about a ‘major signal failure at London Bridge’ but luck was on my side today. I somehow still managed to be early, so had a chance to wander round and admire the freshly installed lego christmas tree. As something of a lego-addict as a kid it was hard to resist a smile at seeing the towering tree which has been made from 600,000 lego bricks (with 172 branches and 1200 baubles also made from lego).

LEGO Christmas Tree at St Pancras

Close up of the LEGO Christmas Tree at St Pancras

It seemed somehow appropriate that after leaving St Pancras and it’s lego christmas tree behind the first sight we saw in Brussels was a giant mural of Tintin clinging onto a steam locomotive at Brussels Midi. In fact, this mural set the theme for the day. As we had arrived too early to check in we used the comic strip walk as a useful way to wander around the city centre and get our bearings before heading to our hotel. The trail is marked out on a map (available from the tiny tourist information office at the station for 0.50 euros) and it was remarkably good fun to follow the route without knowing which mural we would see and quite where in each street we would find it.

The preparations for christmas were well under way with market stalls being installed across the city centre and rehearsals taking place for the first of the electrabel nights (a rather wonderful sound and light show played out across the Grand Place). It was a challenge to wander round the city without stumbling across a chocolate shop every few yards but thankfully the prices were sufficiently high to help me resist temptation!

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