Sunday, 4 May 2014
Bagpipes in Brussels
At the end of March my daughter and I hopped on the Eurostar for a mother-daughter holiday in Belgium. I have no Eurostar photos for you, because I was so entranced by the journey that I forgot to take any. Travelling all the way to Brussels by train was magical. Just a short hop across the road in London from King's Cross to St Pancras International, a quick passage through security, and then on to the train. The route from London to the Channel Tunnel goes through Kent, and it was lovely to see this part of the UK. There's still so much more of my country that I want to explore.
We spent the first night in Brussels, just off the Grand Place/Grote Markt. The next day we were returning to our hotel after a quick trip to the English bookshop (daughter having exhausted her reading material on the journey from Edinburgh), when we realised that there was a procession forming. At first it all seemed very Belgian, with unfamiliar ceremonial uniforms.
And then suddenly - a pipe band.
Followed by what appeared to be 'anciens combattants' (veterans).
The whole procession congregated in the Grand Place itself. Competition for viewing spots was fierce. I definitely need to polish up my pushing-to-the-front skills.
The Belgian police band played, and then the pipe band formed a circle and played Scottish tunes, among them Highland Cathedral and The Bonny Lass of Fyvie . Hearing the pipes far from home made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. No-one around us in the crowd seemed to know what the event was. I chatted in French to a lady beside me, who said that she wasn't from Brussels herself, but one thing was sure - there was always something going on in Brussels. Very true - just behind the massed flags a joyful same-sex marriage was emerging from the Town Hall.
I leave you with this puzzled piper - any guesses as to what he's thinking? And if Anni from This is Belgium knows what the event was on 22 March, please tell us!