Okay, full disclosure: I was unable to resist the lure of alliteration, but I didn't really hit as many places as the title may suggest. Nor, for that matter, did I see as much of Belgium as I would have liked. I was charmed by how different the places I did see were from each other and also by the Belgian people I encountered, who have a rare mixture of refinement and open warmth which is delightful.
I'm going to start with the first places in Belgium I ever saw, back in July 19, 2016 when I briefly visited De Panne and Ypres with Htmb and Kerouac. For a much more complete look at Ypres, visit Kerouac's thread on that city. I got to see De Panne again this year, when I took the coastal tram while I was in Ghent.
Speaking of which, the two places I visited in Belgium besides the ones in this report were Antwerp (report here) and Ghent (report here).
I don't remember exactly where this was taken, but it seems the perfect way to kick off this report ~
Beautiful Rosa rugosa and with its brilliant hips all along the walk to the beach ~
And yes, I know the cruel story of the cats, so not reading that. On the other hand, I was glad you got to take the Kusttram. It isn't what one would call a spectacular journey, unless there is a winter storm over the sea, but gives a good idea of the lay of the land.
Thank you, Bjd. I'd definitely say that seeing some of Belgium made me want to see much more.
We'll move now to more recent pictures, starting with June 22, 2018 & my first sight of Brussels. Even though I'd enjoyed the threads here on that city, I think I was still infected with the stupid stereotype of the place as gray and boring. A good surprise and lesson to find that is completely inaccurate. Kerouac has much more complete coverage of Brussels. This link, the more recent, contains a link to his earlier report as well.
The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the Town Hall, and the King's House ~
The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert is a shopping arcade dating from 1847 ~
The following day had the treat of the Marolles/Jeu De Balle flea market, situated on a square in front of the Église Notre Dame Immaculée / Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Onbevlekt Ontvangen-kerk ~
Last Edit: Oct 8, 2018 22:26:37 GMT by bixaorellana: must learn to proofread
I have to admit that I was a quite horrified when the Galeries Royales Saint Hubert appeared in the film The Danish Girl as being a Paris location. Shame on British director Tom Hooper who should know better! Next he will be capable of putting the Eiffel Tower in Berlin.
Thank you, Kerouac. I had an excellent guide. As for the landmark in the wrong place -- it was in a movie that not only had fakey-looking sets, but kept pretending that anyone would accept Eddie Redmayne as a beautiful young woman!
LaGatta, the brief time I was in Brussels, the weather went from quite cool and rather threatening to sunny and downright hot.
One lovely spot in Brussels, although it features a sad history, is the Kleine Zavel Park / Petit Sablon Park ~
Thank you, Amboseli! Taking them was certainly a pleasure.
Onward now with more of Brussels, where just a little strolling brings one to the Mont des Arts / Kunstberg, with its lovely formal garden, fountains, and a view of the Town Hall in the distance. That is the Royal Library on the left, facing across to the Congress Palace. Some history.
The Botanical Garden of Brussels is lovely. Its main building is a cultural complex and music venue known as Le Botanique. The botanical garden had to be relocated due to the growth of the city, but this original site remains as a beautiful green haven. more information
Blurry down in the funnel, but those are the legs of the funnel web spider, lying in wait for prey ~
And speaking of prey, the eagle has its eye on some ~
I left Brussels by train on the morning of June 24 in order to go to Ghent for four days. While there I took a trip on the longest tram line in the world. This meant a train ride to Ostend where, when I bought the tram ticket, I was assured that the Ostend--De Panne portion was longer than the Ostend--Knokke-Heist portion. Looking at the map, I remain unconvinced that is true, but I took the ticket agent's word for it & chugged off to De Panne ~
Very few pictures, I admit. Isn't it lucky I had those photos from 2016 that kicked off this thread? I wasn't getting successful pictures from the train window and, once on the ground in De Panne, I just enjoyed strolling. That was where I had my one and only authentic Belgian waffle, which was sublime. It's hard to beat sitting on a bench in the sand while staring at the gentle surf and enjoying something covered in whipped cream. I couldn't figure out where the tram stop was, but fell in with a lovely couple who accompanied me there. The husband was quite a historian and filled me in on the area, mentioning the grand beach homes of the fin de siècle wealthy which I had admired on my previous trip to De Panne.
Once back at Ostend, I decided to take the short trip to Brugge to check that famous city out. Following directions from a local, I entered town through a residential area which was quiet and almost deserted ~
The town center tantalizingly in sight, but it kept receding and hiding from me ~
Some of what I was passing seemed almost to be in the country ~
Quite honestly, if I hadn't already been exposed to beautiful Ghent, I probably would have swooned to bits over a sight such as this ~
Now a short interlude to share what I believe is a Belgian & Netherlands phenomenon -- that of sharing treasured items or entire collections with the world by displaying them in the front windows of the home. I am delighted by this and was thrilled to see that Brugge housed some fine examples of this benevolent enthusiasm ~
The cathedral is well marked, although identified by a more modest designation ~
Simon Stevinplein and the statue honoring Brugge's very impressive native son ~
And here is the town center, as pretty as promised ~
The famous 83-meter tall bell tower ~
The sight of the Jupiler signs and of all those people sitting in the sun enjoying fizzy glasses of Belgium's best reminded me that I wanted a beer ~
Quite honestly, I'd seen this beer advertised in Brussels and rather sneered at the silly name & frivolous pink elephant logo. Well, it was on tap, so what the heck. Oh my goodness gracious! If you ever have a chance to try this nectar of the brewer's art, do so ~
Gratuitous beer-fueled art shot ~
One last admiring glance at the bell tower, and I start back to the train station ~
The route back took me through part of a park. There I saw one of the many signs that were to mystify me while visiting Belgium. This one rather took the cake, though, and can serve as a symbol of all there still is to discover about that lovely country. I leave you with it and bid you vaarwel ~
That is the international symbol for an emergency assembly point. When you do fire drills (or -- now -- terrorist event drills), the security people in charge of your building tell you which assembly point concerns you, close enough to get to easily, but far enough away to be safe.
Tou make want to sleep in Ieper Bixa. Long time not done so and I have to sleep somewhere between paris and moeskroen next week.
Very nice pics of my country. As Kerouac says lots of people disregard belgium or even belittle it but very few who actually spent some time there denigrates it.
The beer is the delirium tremens I gather ...
I'm so glad you like this report, Whatagain. That's a bit of a concern when making a report about someplace that our online friends know well -- are we doing it justice? are we getting all the facts wrong? I'm sure my ignorance shows through, but I hope my enthusiasm for Belgium also does. And yes, Delirium Tremens. It's a really delicious beer. I see it has an alcohol content of 8.5%, and I could feel that. www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/180/1385/ I went to Wal-Mart day before yesterday & was overjoyed to find a six-pack of mixed Belgian beers. It has Stella Artois, Hoegarden, & Leffe Brune -- two of each. I've only had a Stella so far.
I owe a special debt to Kerouac for getting me to Belgium not once, but twice, and sharing his knowledge and delight in the country and in Brussels. Also huge thanks to Amboseli and Whatagain for their help in my trip-planning and for the immensely generous offers of help.
So. As a follow up I had said I had to go to Ypres. I went yesterday being in the neighbourhood. I really like this city the center is beautiful as I recalled it. I visited the museum inside town hall and was impressed by the exposition - some different angle than ´just' the rifle the shells and the uniforms. I stopped quite a time under Menin Gate and read some of the names. Some people still come and put lilies on wooden crosses with words like new think of you grandpa'. I went to Tyne Cot. Superbly tended it adds to the sobering effect. Names. Crosses. A lot with no name. A soldier if the great war'. A soldier of xxx regiment. Etc. Then to passchendaele. Now passendale due to orthographic reform. Rifles and uniforms and the good idea of recreating a dug out shelter and trenches. Quite interesting. Saw a lot of brits. 250 000 allied soldiers died there in the different battles. Add the Germans (about same number : 215 000). And then double to take into account heavily wounded poor guys and you have 1 million young guys broken. Plus the ones with nightmares that would last all their life. Brrrr. On a lighter note I had mussels with garlic and a glass of Chouffe.
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 14, 2018 14:45:26 GMT
Oh, Whatagain, you really explored the area! I'm glad you had an opportunity to go outside of work. You must have been emotionally exhausted, though, after touring the WWI sites, which are immensely moving. I hope the mussels and fine Belgian beer restored you!