Belgian National Day
On the 21st of July, Belgium celebrates its National Day, in reminiscence of independence in 1830.
In 2005, it also celebrated the 25 years of the federal state (www.belgium.be). Many events have been prepared for this occasion, named "175-25" (see www.175-25.be). Some have been reported in the following tips (21st Of July, 175-25 Show, Tintin Festival, Horse Parade, Dancing)
Have a look to the Grand...
Have a look to the Grand Place, City 2 (huge mall downtown Brussels, with many shops), the lovely Place du Sablon, the
Rue des Bouchers where are so many restaurants both sides of the street and also the luxury Boulevard de la Toison d'Or and Avenue Louise (expensive shops). I am living in Overijse, about 5 km from Brussels.
see the Royal Palace. The...
see the Royal Palace. The Royal Palace is one of the most magnificent buildings of Brussels. Originally it existed of two separated pavilions. In 1783 the Abbey of Villers built a mansion, which was sold to the Austrian governor in 1784. A second mansion, built in a similar style, became the home of the commanding officer of the Austrian troops. When, in the 19th century, the Kingdom of the Low Lands (today Holland and Belgium) was founded, it became the residence of King Willem. It was him who conceived the idea to connect both mansions and in 1820 he assigned architect 'Van der Straeten'. However, it was 'Tielman' who executed this plan between 1827 and 1829.
King Leopold II rebuilt the Royal Palace in 1904. Since then the front is in a Louis 14th style. There you can also see a sculpture by Th. Vinçotte, which represents Belgium, sitting between agriculture and industry, which is holding the Belgian flag in one hand and a medal showing King Leopold II in the other. It is the official residence of the Belgian monarchs up to now.
The Irish are so funny. They drink way too much. At least the ones I've met. Did I tell the story about the irish guy at the 3 ducks in Paris? Maybe i should put this on my paris page instead ... oh heck, i'll put it in both places. Well, I had seen him drinking way too much one night and the next morning, when I was having breakfast, he
sort of waltzed down and crashed at my table. He looked pretty bad and I asked him if he was okay. In his thick irish accent, he said something, the gist of which was that he had apparently drunk too much last night and had passed out in the courtyard - though he
couldn’t remember it at all. I tut-tutted and reprimanded him about the vices of too much alcohol. Then I noticed that he was holding a glass that read ‘smirnoff’. I was horrified. “are you drinking again?”
I asked him. For goodness sake, this was nine in the morning. “No,” he said. “this is just water.” And then he passed out again. Right in front of me. I couldn’t believe this guy. I was a little suspicious and I smelled his drink. Sure enough. Vodka, not water! So
that’s irish blokes for you.
This is Brussels: Manège d' Andrea for the kids
When visiting Brussels' Christmas market, don't forget to bring kids to the carrousels. This is the picture of the one on Place Ste- Catherine: Le Manège d' Andrea. The other one is on Marché aux poissons (Fish market).
Big kid me was just amazed looking at it in the dark. Yes! it's better in the dark... Yet, I was told it's better in daylight. No, no, I just like it like that...
It is quite strange: kids (and even big kids) can ride planes, ostriches, gigantic chamilions (like those in Madagascar? would you ask?), frogs... near the cute ladybugs. Even more striking: those characters are automated and noisy. While riding, you can hear the sounds of the jungle, the sea, sometimes sounds that are specific to your "mountings"...
Oh yeah! there was an automated half-buried mine worker (I thought of a Navy pilot at first) too but I don't remember whether he was a "mounting" or not... Yes, he is a mounting, I saw a little girl on him the third time I was there. :))
Go there, you won't be disappointed. Xmas market usually stands till early January (Jan 4 for 2003-2004 celebration). Plus, this is the time to visit Brussels under other lights: blue for L'Hôtel de Ville, neon lights for the cows on Grand- Place and surroundings place, Pink for Place Catherine. I am sure, there are other colours. Isn't it better if you see for yourself?
Last time I went to a Xmas shopping (before this one :)) was when it was on Grand-Place. It was different.
Bourse- Ste Catherine area. Metro M station: Bourse, Sainte-Catherine & Debrouckère (if you don't mind walking a little bit)