Tuesday, August 01, 2006

BRUSSELS CAPITAL OF BELGIUM AND EUROPE

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Brussels Flag and signs

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On August 15, I went to Brussel center which is only about 17 km away from my home in Waterloo to take some pictures of this beautiful flower carpet, covering the place. It was a rainy day but inspite of the bad weather, I got the impression that half Japan, half Germany, half Britain and half Italy were looking at the beautiful flower carpet and were amazed about such beauty. Probably it was good for me that the weather was bad, otherwise I don't know how I could have taken photos there were so many people ! I think this year the flowers were petunias, as each time another flower is selected. Three turning stars were placed in the middle, as you can see on the second and third picture.

The Grand' Place is possibly one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and the jewel in Brussels' crown. The Grand-Place is Brussels' top tourist attraction justified by the Gothic magnificence of the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) and the Baroque exuberance of the late seventeenth-century guildhouses surrounding the square.

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Guildhouses and the flower carpet

___________________________________________________ Hôtel de ville (Town Hall)

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Sunday artisanal market just before the "Grand' Place"

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Galerie St. Hubert or Galerie de la Reine (Queens Gallery)

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Inside the Gallery

___________________________________________________ Cafés and expensive shops inside the gallery

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Brussels' laces

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Entrance to the "Feeding Lane"

Around the "Grand Place" are plenty of small to very small streets where you can find one restaurant after the other. They call it also the "Feeding Lane" For every taste there is a restaurant and also the Restaurant "Chez Léon" which exists since ages and should have the best mussels in Brussels. Eating mussels with "frites" french fries is a must here during the mussel season. iThe little streets are very colorful and typical and there is a very old string puppets theatre with a bar. There you sit on wooden benches and watch the puppets playing for example during easter period religious plays. That's real folklore ! Walking through this quarter and you see all the wonderful artistical food displays you get or hungry or already full from looking !

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Restaurants one after the other with tables on the small streets

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Entrance to the String Puppets Theatre

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Janneke Piss, the "wife" of Manneke Piss,behind protecting grids, vandalism is everywhere

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Probably the smallest street in Brussels,between two restaurants, behind a woman cleaning her entrance.

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Little church near the Grand Place, where sometimes illigal immigrants are hosted, in order not to be expelled.

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The King's "office" the Palais Royale in Brussels, where every morning around 9 he starts to work. During summer season the palace is open to the public and therefore you can check if he is really working. The King Albert II, is very popular and is a very open, friendly man with a lot of humor !

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Tourist buses are very new to me, but shows that the town does a lot for tourists now.

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Palais de Justice, the court of Brussels, situated on a hill from where you have a beautiful overlook of whole Brussels. Long time ago, criminals used to be hanged here on the hill.

The rest of my pictures I put in an album it shows you streets and buildings, parcs. Brussels also is a very "green" town with a lot of beautiful parcs and the most important once are closed during week-ends for cars and people come here to have a pic-nic or just for taking some sunshine (if there is any)

In the Museum of Art you can find the most complete collection of fine art with works by, amongst many,Pieter Bruegel, Rubens, Delvaux and Magritte"

Jacques Brel, with his famous chansons, Audrey Hepburn, Hergé father of Tintin,Victor Horta architect, Jacky Ickx Formule 1 racing , René Magritte, painter , Peyo (Pierre Culliford), creator of the Smurfs,and Jean-Claude Van Damme, actor, nickname: "The Muscles from Brussels" were all born in Brussels.

The Atomium, built for the World's Fair of 1958, is in the "Heysel Park" and is considered as the sign of Brussels, such as Big Ben in London, Eiffel Tower ind Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Nearby is the sadly famous Heysel Stadium, where 39 people were killed, during a football match in May 29, 1985. Hooligans pushed against the wall of the Heysel Stadium so much that it collapsed and many people were trampled and injured mostly italian Juventus fans. The match was the final of the 1985 European Cup tournament between Liverpool FC from England and Juventus C from Italy.

Liverpool were later banned from all European competitions for six years and all other English clubs were banned for five years. The disaster has been called "the darkest hour in the history of the UEFA competitions.

I always remember this day when TV were interrupted to report about the disaster, awful pictures from the victims were shown in the news. The stadium were closed after that and rebuilt into a security high stadium and is now named King Baudouin Stadium, after King Baudouin who died in July 1993.

Brussels is a nice town to visit there is so much to see ! The typical Brussel people are very funny, plenty of spirit and humor and some of them mostly the elderly once still speek "brussels" which is a savurous language mixture of flemish and french with words impossible to translate but you can understand the meaning. The Theatre Toone with its string puppets is speaking this language and it's always so funny even if the play is a drama.

I hope you appreciated the flower carpet and the little explanation of Brussel, all the rest you want to know is probably written in every tourist guide. And don't forget the famous Belgian beers ! There are more than hundred different sorts ! Some of them with over 10 % alcohol, brown beer, brewed by monks. Attention to the headache next morning !

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About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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