12.24.2015

A Belgian Break 1. Namur at night

Christmas lights, a cosy Christmas market, paved narrow streets and art nouveau houses in dark red bricks. My son and I woke up at 5, went by train from Florence to Pisa and then by train again from Charleroi to Namur where we had a generous lunch by Bistro Belgo Belge. Now we feel awfully sleepy and we wander a little looking for our bnb. Suddenly, walking toward the river, it appears: impressing, not bling. The Citadel. 
I stop and watch, all fascinated. Centuries of history, bloody battles ...and the cyclocross of course! A place I had never seen but many times imaginated, putting togethers the different images of the race. The actual building is recent because wall and forstress have been many time destroyed by many and different enemies, still it's elegant in its modern simplicityTomorrow we'll go and conquer it, now we need to drop our backpacks and to have a long nap. Some hours later we cross again the Sambre. In the dark the Cittadelle is even more beautiful, partially illuminated by dramatic lights. It's the Christamas Eve and we failed to reserve a restaurant, the Christmas market is about to close and we don't feel like sushi or kebab. We buy some roasted chestnuts that we eat walking by the canal and that is our Christmas dinner. Our host kindly left a few beers and haribo candies in our room: we don't need more.
For me this year it doesn't feel like Christmas at all: I didn't feel like to have a formal Christmas lunch with parents and relatives - never loved! - and I definitely didn't feel like to buy gifts. My parents' Christmas present has been a beige cardigan... FOR THREE YEARS IN A ROW. This year I prevented them to repeat... so the cardigan is pink. My brother and family put together a recycling masterpiece assemblating different useless cheap items as a unique heartless gift. Normally I say thanks, this year I'll just ignore the whole Christmas thing. Of course I wish a merry Christmas back but what does it mean?
I feel that Christmas is about family, home and love. Nothing to do with me in this moment. For me it's just a break-away.

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