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World War, 1939-1945; United States--Army
Davis writes to his parents about his trip to Brussels. He mentions staying at a former civilian hotel, now just used for military members. He writes that the city was as beautiful as Paris and is always packed - he describes as giving off the effect of one vast carnival.
Pfc. Robert Davis 18107121
Co. E, Det I7E3, 3rd ECAR
c/o postmaster, N. Y.
Mrs. R.L. Davis
25 March 1945
I have just come back from a three day pass to Brussels. It is an incredibly lovely city, as beautiful as Paris. Joe Keller and I went together, and had a swell time. We secured a GI hotel, commandeered from the Civilians, for army use. Also, you get meal tickets from the army, and the mess there was pretty good, much better than the mess in Liege, for instance. It is a large civilian hotel, with civilian waitresses. There’s plenty of room, and you never have to wait in line, just file in, sit down, and get promptly served.
Never, in my life have I seen such beautiful cafes and nightclubs. (Paris when I visited it was still without much electric power, that being too soon after liberation; so we never saw much real glitter in Paris.) Joe and I strolled all thru’ the down town region one afternoon, saw the City hall, and other historical places. The weather for all three days was very clear and warm, and the effect of sunlight on all the narrow streets, and the few tall buildings, such as churches, city hall etc, was a very striking contrast in light and shadows; at night, the crowded thoroughfares (packed, even late at night, with throngs of people, busy with all sorts of traffic, civil and military, trams etc) with the moonlight playing over them were very beautiful. Brussels is a big city, and it is packed with more people than I ever saw in my life. They run all over the streets, pay no regard to traffic lights, and skip nimbly in and out of trolleys and cars. You mount the trams on the run there, as they sometimes don’t stop; jump lightly on, and start a French conversation with the conductor to learn directions free rides to all service men.
No one seems to care what anyone does. The police stand tolerantly by, while the traffic lights blink on and off unheeded. The total effect is of one vast carnival.
The captain and Lt. Stanhope drove us up there, then proceeded on to another town for their own pass. They had to drive a hell of a long way out of the way to pick us up.