Brussels, Belgium

I (Paige) found the NATO headquarters anti-climatic. Jim is more convinced than ever that NATO should be abolished.

We could only find one modern tapestry we wanted to buy. Unfortunately it belonged to the owner and was not for sale. We are pondering our own design for De Wit to produce for us.

We were disappointed to find that De Wit mainly provides handmade reproductions of the ancient classics.

In Mechelen we visited De Wit, the only source of hand-made tapestries left in Belgium after all these centuries.

28 January 2000 - Dinner at Le Palais Royal inside the Astoria Hotel. Fancy, swanky place with velvet covered chairs, white linen tablecloths, gilt-painted, intricate wood molding, old (or old-looking) oil paintings with a menu in French and Flemish. I ordered ravioli with lobster and mushrooms and then lamb with carrots, onions and potatoes. Jim ordered the seafood sampler - scallops, shrimp over capers, white fish, an oyster and soufflé with fish broth - and then duck with cucumbers and avocado puree.

My ravioli dish could have been spectacular if only it was served hot instead of mildly warm. Jim adored his seafood sampler. Both our main course plates arrived dangerously hot after way too much heating lamp action! After sampling his duck, Jim tried my main course and decided mine was better. The little meat of my lamb was tender and succulent, but honestly there was more fat than meat. Sorry, but four petite pieces of meat do not fill me. We drank a lovely, new St. Emilion 1996. Finally, I ordered a Belgium cheese plate with three pleasing, semi-strong cheeses.

If looking for a nice meal in Brussels, I would try another option because the food and drink in Belgium is extraordinary.