Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A VERY SPECIAL BRUSSELS' CAFE

February 16, 2016

My friend Nicole showed me a very special Brussels Café,  which was created in November 1944 in the center of Brussels below the Sablon, not so far away from "La Grand' Place".  It is named "La Fleur en Papier Doré" (The flower of gilded paper).  It is a café with an illustrious past. It is here that met the leading figures of Belgian surrealism of the twentieth century: René Magritte, Louis Scutenaire, Marcel Marien etc. Later, artists and writers regularly frequented the place. Today it is still  a meeting place for  artists and writers.  and it is normal to see them sitting at the tables writing or drawing from early morning on.




From outside the place doesn't look very special, there is not even the name on it, and on purpose !
The Café has become over the time a real Aladdin's cave, a treasure of objects, photos and texts collected by Gerard van Bruaene the creator of the Café,  or donated by visitors, more or less famous. You will find pictures of Herge (Tintin), Jean Brusselmans, Magritte but also texts of Guido Gezelle, Jan Cox,etc.



At the entrance stands this very beautiful stove



and poems or sayings are written on the walls






The bar has still the old beer pump



The staff is very friendly and still speaks the Brussels' dialect which is so typical but unfortunately is dying out.



The walls are full of paintings, drawings, and texts.





When we stepped inside the café and I wanted to take a picture of the paintings, we were heartly greeted !








There was nearly no room on the walls to hang up other things !



The waiter proposed to make a picture of us.



and this is a photo probably taken beginning the  50th with painters, and other artists. I think the second from right is René Magritte

The café also serves only typical Belgian food,  like stoemp, and pottekeis. But I saw that they also have Spaghettis ! That's probably for those who don't dare to try something unknown !

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

CHINESE NEW YEAR's CELEBRATION IN BRUSSELS

February 7, 2016

Brussels celebrated for the first time the Chinese New Year, by organizing a parade in collaboration with the Embassy of China, the Chinese mission to the European Union and the Chinese community in Belgium . Of course I couldn't miss this event ! Despite the terrorist level n°3 on 4, the place and the streets were packed with people. I have never seen so many Chinese in my whole life. Apparently there are 40.000 Chinese living in Belgium. The terrorists probably feared the dangerous looking dragons and kept away.

This New Year, is placed under the sign of the monkey. The festivities should have started at 2 pm on the Grand-Place according to the program.

The Brussels Alderman for Culture and the Ambassador of  China in Belgium should launch the festivities, according to tradition, awakening the dragons and lions, and allow the parade to start their procession. I don't know when they finally managed to wake up the dragons and lions, because it took them 2 h, only  at 4 pm the parade was finally moving. Meanwhile people were freezing in the strong wind, fortunately the sun was shining, and everybody was in a cheerful mood and had a lot of fun.

Groups from Beijing and Shanghai had made the trip. In total, over 400 artists have participated in dance demonstrations, folk music or martial arts on the Grand Place and in front of "La Bourse" (the ancient stock market)



Manneken-Pis was dressed for the occasion in a traditional Chinese costume. Somebody pretended that for half an hour it peed beer !

We arrived very early because I wanted to take pictures of the different costumes







Somebody showed me the Dragon head, the rest was somewhere else



It was nice to see the dancers performing



As it was so cold I suggested Nicole to sit down in the Brasserie "Le Roi d'Espagne" (The Spanish King) We were very lucky because we found a seat directly at the window and we could watch the whole preparation of the parade and the parade itself from the window, sitting in the warmth and having a coffee.



I went on the second floor of the Brasserie and took this picture out of the window.



This was the view we had for 2 h ! Poor people who stand there and waited !



Then the parade started



having difficulties to break through the crowd



But slowly, slowly it worked



Two princesses in beautiful costumes were sitting in this with pink veiled riksha. Unfortunately you can't see them on the picture.







The costumes and hats were all very colorful.



The Chinese orchestra, the pandas who started the parade and one of the dragons.




This one was very long ! Couldn't get it in one shot !




And the orchestra played and singers sang Chinese music.

We couldn't follow the parade until the end, because it was already so late. It was a pity that it hasn't started at 2 as it was foreseen. Nevertheless it had been a huge success and no incident happened.



Tuesday, February 02, 2016

THE WATERLOO LION SITE IN JANUARY 2016

February 2, 2016

As I have worked as a volunteer during the festivities of the bicentenary of the Waterloo battle, I like to go there from time to time just to see if with all these renovations and changes there are more tourists now.

Of course January is not the ideal month to visit the site, but still the other years there were people who visited the site and had a warm or cold drink in the various restaurants or cafés around the Lion.

But now, there is nothing anymore.



The Lion stands still there and overlooks the "dreary plain"as Victor Hugo called the place



the only building still standing there is the Panorma.







Besides the last buildings have been demolished, the "Wellington Café" and the "Tourist Office"





Where once beautiful restaurants, the wax museum and cafés were standing there is now a white new built, with modern furniture in grey, black and white which reminds me of a canteen. 





In case you arrive there without any knowledge of the site, the "Memorial" (museum) is well hidden under the ground. Arriving at the Lion you just see steps leading downstairs to "something".

While I was there two couples (an English and a Japonese one) asked me where the entrance to the Lion and Panorama was and if there wasn't a Tourist Office. Indeed there was no sign at all that it was inside the museum. I gave them all the informations but thought there has something to be done at least put a big sign indicating where the Tourist Office is.

(in the side bar there are all posts about the renovation of the site)

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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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