February 28, 2012

Walking in style

Looking fashionable with matching accessories, shawl, scarf, hats and purse for a Sunday afternoon walk at the Belgian coast.

February 27, 2012


The boys are at work trying to make as much money as possible for their camp next summer by selling candy while a little further the girls are enjoying a quiet lunch time. 

February 24, 2012

Trip (part 2 of 2)

After the carnival break,  back to Alabama for the second half of a holiday week. In Thomasville, I visited Barbara's charming Antiques store in the downtown area, learned much from a true antiques expert and bought these two small pink art deco bowls, or as they say there, depression glass bowls. They perfectly match a vase from the same period which I already had in our Brussels' home.
Also in Thomasville,  Buford's barber shop offers unique photo opportunities. I had a great chat with the barber and his one client at that time. It was very obvious that they were wondering how someone with a funny accent ended up in Thomasville, AL showing a genuine interest in life there and taking pictures of their picturesque barber shop.

In Mississippi, in a city called Meridian,  I was impressed that the local sheriff did not object to having his photo taken. To the contrary, he was happy to be photographed and did not ask where his picture would end up.
I also wanted to show the colorful fiberglass carousel horses, painted by local artists that are on permanent display with plaques that designate the artist and the sponsor of each horse. The idea behind this open air expo is that art is continuously available to all.

February 21, 2012

Binche carnival

Last Sunday afternoon I drove to Binche, located about an hour south of Brussels, looking for the illustrious Gilles who make the carnival there so very special.  Was I disappointed not to find them anywhere! I learned that they appear mostly on Tuesday, the actual mardi gras,  or maybe Sunday late at night.
I photographed a poster in a window in Binche to show you what a Gille looks like with his colorful outfit, wax mask and hat that stretches high up in the air with white ostrich plumes. The Gilles carry baskets of oranges they throw to the public as they march. Local businesses and residents protect their doors and windows because the orange throwing can get rather vigorous at times.  The inhabitants of Binche also dress in costumes and dance relentlessly around the town to what seems to be a never ending beating of drums in a special Binche rhythm.  You have to be there to fully appreciate it.

February 20, 2012

Carnival - Mardi Gras

Stay tuned for pictures of how the people from Binche celebrate carnival.

February 18, 2012

Trip (part 1 of 2)

Last week's trip took me to the United Sates. I promised a short report for which I am trying to demonstrate a link with Belgium or at least with the phenomenon of blogging.  
I had the pleasure of visiting Washington, DC.
I made a photo not only of  the obvious, the Belgian Embassy on Garfield Street,  but also of another of the most photographed buildings in the world.
I then went to Alabama,  the state where my husband grew up, and had a great time visiting family.
While there I met fellow blogger Virginia, with whom I share a few interests, such as photography,  blogging and a dear love of Paris.  She also invited Janet to our get-together.  Both of them had been in touch through blogging but had never actually met.  The three of us met in Janet's home city of Selma, whose bridge over the Alabama River shown above became world famous in 1965. 
We had lunch in Selma (thank you Jenna for taking the picture of Virginia and Janet and thank you, Janet and Virginia, for allowing me to share it) and then went for a shoot in the beautiful and very old cemetery where the Spanish moss just took my breath away.
Distances in Alabama not being what they are in the tiny Belgium, I did not make it on this trip to the southern most city of Alabama and very much regret not having had the opportunity to meet Genie from Mobile.

Janet is blogger of Selma, Ala. Daily Photo
Virginia's blogs are http://birminghamalabamadailyphoto.blogspot.com 
and http://paristhroughmylens.blogspot.com
Paris and Beyond is Genie's blog. 

After just this short trip I now have enough photos to start a blog about the South. Inspired by the name of Genie's blog,  what would you say if I'd call mine "Belgium and Beyond"?
In the same spirit as Genie and Virginia who travel regularly to Paris to capture pictures for their blogs, which they write from Alabama, I could do the opposite. 
For the time being, I will close the chapter on this trip with only one more post coming soon, because I really want to introduce you to some other people I met.

February 16, 2012

Hotel Metropole Brussels

I have been on a short holiday and have to catch up on things. I will prepare a short posting on my trip and introduce you to two great women bloggers I met non-virtually. A whole lot of fun.  
For today a copy/paste article on hotel Metropole built in 1895 and the only 19th century hotel in Brussels still in operation today (the hotel has 298 rooms and 15 suites).
"In 1890, two brothers with a brewing company opened Café Metropole as a place in the city to sell their beer. The café was a huge success and the Weilemans-Ceuppens family then purchased the building next-door, a former bank, which would become the Hotel Metropole, inaugurated in 1895. Today, the hotel’s reception desk is easily recognizable as the desk of the former bank, a significant historical and heritage glimpse of the past.
The brothers commissioned French architect Alban Chambon to be the chief designer of the hotel. Today, Chambon’s design of modern comfort and luxury is still a prominent feature of the heritage hotel, which is considered an important historical landmark in the city.
Not only was Hotel Metropole one of the first luxury hotels, it was also the first to have electricity and central heating, and is now the only existing 19th century hotel in Brussels. In fact, many heritage tours of Brussels visit the Hotel Metropole to look upon its facades and design.
The hotel’s reception, lobby, and lounge are overtly ornate with Corinthian columns, rich furnishings, gilded details, and glittering chandeliers – all which can still be seen and experienced today at the hotel. Similarly, the meetings and conference rooms of the hotel are decorated in a Renaissance style.
The Metropole is famous for having hosted the first Solvay Conference in 1911. Moreover, it is the birthplace of the Black Russian cocktail, which was created in 1949 by barman Gustave Tops for the United States ambassador to LuxembourgPerle Mesta."

February 14, 2012


February 14, wonderful occasion or perfect excuse to capture a special moment?

February 12, 2012

Location location

Not much progress has been made here. This is a prime real estate location in uptown Brussels, surrounded by exclusive shops.  It has looked like the middle picture for some time now and is quite an eye sore - not to mention a major blemish on the face of a city not exactly noted for wise urban development decisions. The third picture shows what is about to happen to this prime piece of real estate, but who knows how long that will take. I will keep an eye on this and keep you posted.

February 09, 2012


Portrait of Jeanne in her apartment in Ostend at the Belgian coast, not long before handsome little Sam's birth

February 06, 2012

Food for thought

The many early markets in Brussels and elsewhere seem to have become more and more a place for socializing. The traditional visitors are still there while coffee drinking has become part of the thing to do when visiting the market.

February 03, 2012

La Hulpe castle, church and sportscar

I took these pictures in La Hulpe, located south of Brussels.  It was chilly and raining making this otherwise lovely and appealing area look gray and unattractive. I wanted to photograph the Solvay castle but did not feel like making the walk through the rain to get close enough.  The grounds around it are magnificent (especially in better weather). In the center of town an  open uncovered sports car looked rather out of place in front of the church when it started pouring down rain.  I am surprised to see that the rain doesn't show up in the photos!  Did I imagine it?  No, this is Belgium after all.
The small Saint Nicholas church was built in the 12th century on the instructions of the Duke of Brabant. I have never been inside but the church is  said to have wonderful acoustics and classical music concerts are regularly held there.