Today on the way to work, I noticed that the car in front of us was a Toyota Verso. Do you suppose they also have a Recto model? And what image, exactly, is that model name supposed to convey – that it can carry lots of books? Since it was an SUV, that more or less goes without saying. Lots of us complain about not having enough room for books in our houses; I have never heard anyone make that complaint about a car! And if they did I wouldn’t want to be on the road while they’re driving.

My guess they just didn’t think anyone would actually know what the word meant.

We spent the weekend in Brussels; I’ll write up an entry with pictures for the other blog soon (and will post a link here), but I did want to say that I have never been in a place that reminded me so strongly of Hercule Poirot as the Hotel Metropole, where we stayed. Perhaps it was the headwaiter’s curling moustaches that did it. The hotel was opened in 1895 and is still owned by the same family – and still has much the same decor, though the bathrooms are modern. I am convinced that Poirot had a flat there during his days as Chief of Police in Brussels, before he was forced to flee to England as a refugee in WWI.

The nice thing about Brussels is that, because it’s such a business city, even fancy hotels are quite reasonably priced – I’ll be spending more to stay in a Hampton Inn in exciting (not!) Bensalem, PA next month than we paid for a historic and luxurious hotel five minutes’ walk from the Grand’Place.

Oh, one more odd thing: our tour guide in the Hotel de Ville / Town Hall, who spoke very bad English , kept talking about the “Holy Enpire of Germany” when she meant the Holy Roman Empire. I hadn’t realized the name in French wasn’t a literal translation. (She was so bad that it’s also possible she just got it totally wrong – she muddled history so that Ted came away thinking that Clovis had lived somewhere around the time of Charles V – but I can’t see how anyone could make a mistake that big.)

ETA: Wikipedia says it was indeed the Holy Roman Empire in German, Italian, and Latin (so presumably also in French, but that “in a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was officially changed to Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (German: Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation, Latin: Imperium Romanum Sacrum Nationis Germanicæ).” So maybe that’s what confused her. She was easily confused, to be sure.