If your travel to Brussels around teh 15th of August, you'r a lucky person as, evene it's crowded, you have to visit the Grand Place as it's covered by a wonderful flower carpets.
The flowers (beghonias) comes from the region of Ghent (East Flanders) and each year the drawing of the carpet changes. A must see, for sure !
What I really like to enjoy in Brussels is walking around to find nice "small" things not every tourist sees. You can probably imagine how delighted I was when I found my first (and second) comic facade by accident.
I don't even know their exact location, one was on the way to the La Fleur en Papier Dore pub, the Tintin one we found on the way to Männeken Pis.
I also like the different arty Metro stations, my favourites being Belgica and Maelbeek.
Every 2 years for 3 days - that is on years with an 'even' number - the Grand-Place/Grote Market fills up with a display of flowers in whatever designs are to behold to make a lovely Flower Carpet.
I visited in 2002 and it didnt fail to impress.
This year the dates are advertised as being 15-17 August.
Youre supposed to be able to, for a fee, get a good view over the square from the second floor of the Town Hall.
I was told it was on the way to the Zaventem airport: actually it is a little further out, next to a place called Hofsteede. Better out of season: algae builds up quickly in the summer, the water simply isn't deep enough. Some people can have a skin reaction to these algae.
Still, it's possible to have nice walks around the lake.
Did you notice there's no river in Brussels ?
Very odd for a major city to have no river.
The sad truth is that it was covered over in the 19th Century as it had deteriorated into a Sewer.
You can still see a very small part of it. Head to Place Saint-Gery (very close to the Bourse) and enter the small courtyard behind the main hall in the square (Halles Saint Gery).
Nothing much to look at and a bit melancholy. But definitely off the beaten path !
The good news is that the Senne is clean again after Purification works of 2007 (but still underground)
This canal leading off to the south from Brussels was an important transport route in earlier decades, especially for transporting coal from the mines in southern Belgium.
Nowadays the canal is still used to transport goods, to some extent, but it is also possible to take boat tours in the summer, or even combined boat and bike tours.
It's not very well-known, I think, that you can go all the way to the top of the triumphal arch in the Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark. You just have to enter the Army museum, which has free entrance, and there you can ask how to get to the top (actually when you enter it's on your left and then keep walking and then you can choose either the elevator or the stairs). You get a really nice view of the park of course but also from Brussels. Among the buildings you can see are: the Atomium, the Basilica of Koekelberg, the Berlaymont building at Schuman, the Wetstraat/Rue de la Loi, the high office buildings around North station,... . If you're in the area, definitely go up there.
At Metro station Stuyvenberg (Line 1A) you can admire a very nice work of art by Yves Bosquet (born in Uccle in 1939); studied at the Higher Institute of Ter Kameren) in Realism style.
Thank you so much Norali to kick us get out of the metro so we could witness this in total suprise.
It is a whole collection of 25 terracotta sculptures of people representing the royal family of Queen Elisabeth, her befriended artists and scientists. They are made along photographic material.
They date from 1985.
It is dedicated for the late art loving Queen Elisabeth and refers to the last location she has been living at: the Castle of Stuyvenberg. Those who have ever visited Laeken during the open doors in April/early May, might have had a glimpse into her own atelier where she too practiced art.
You can see Queen Elisabeth during different stages of her life: as a mother; as a grandmother; as a friend of famous people like Albert Einstein, Emile Verhaeren or Jules Bordet.
Are you curious for a few more pictures? Have a look at my Fokti album.
This is the place where artsy, entertainment people hang out... Check out the program of the Flagey Hall... you can see concerts, old or new movies, festivals, etc. It is definately a happening place, off the beaten path.
Every year there's the Queen Elizabeth Contest in Brussels, alternately for piano, singing and violin. It's an internationally renowned contest for young musicians who are on the verge of their international career.
When the contest is finished, the laureates give some recitals and concerts in Belgium. A couple of days after the final, the 6 non-ranked laureates from the final give a recital (at noon) in the Grand Foyer of the De Munt opera house. Every noon a different musician.
We went to see the recital of Kyoko Yonemoto (violin) in 2005. My brother-in-law, who's a violin teacher, went with us and was happy afterwards.
Tickets can only be bought on the day of the concert, a couple of hours before it starts. If you want to go, just go ask (or call) the day before or something to ask at what time they start to sell them. It's best to go from the moment they start selling, because it was sold out when we went. The tickets are cheap. I'm not 100% sure, but I think it was 5 euro per person.
2007: This year it's piano. The final is on the 2nd of June, and the recitals in De Munt are on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th and 15th, every time at 12:30.
Remember that nae. It's a dark beer which is served only to its traditional bottle which looks like a test tube of a chemical lab! It's quite strong (8% alc.) but which belgian beer isn't strong. It's delicious. I didn't like fruit beers too much but I liked trapists.
Try to find with which food you can eat with each beer.
After we were finished visiting the Horta Museum, we looked at the back of our admission ticket and there were several buildings marked in the nearby area that were either designed by Horta or by someone who was influenced by Horta. There was also a list in the Lonely Planet Belgium & Luxembourg guide which highlighted some of the best examples of Art Nouveau architecture in the city.
Coming from a city (Calgary) where we have aerial walkways linking many of our downtown buildings, I couldn’t help but feel a kinship with Belgacom Towers I and II. Located in the north part of the center of Brussels. The 32 story (102 m) towers were completed in 1994.
Dating back to the 15th century, Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ter Zavelkerk replaced a small chapel built by the city's crossbowmen from the early 14th century. Expanded and renovated several times since then, the church is still used by guilds today. Fifteen meter high stain glass windows illuminate the central nave.
Address: Rue de la Régence 38
Parts of the church, Onze Lieve Vrouw ter Kapellekerk, date back to the 12th century. Of course the church has been added to and renovated in the intervening years. One of the most interesting additions was in 1708 when a bell tower in blue stone was added to the main tower.
Address: Place de la Chapelle
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