September 29, 2011

On way to Walhain festival

Pictures taken a week ago on the way to Jyva'Zik festival near the old castle of Walhain. Pictures of the festival and the castle coming up in the next posting.

September 26, 2011

la Bruxelloise and women jogging to benefit Bordet

The day was perfect, yesterday, September 25, for the Urban Women Jogging, organized by la Bruxelloise in Ixelles (Brussels) in and around its Place Flagey (pic 2) and its magnifcent ponds.
Madame A Cambier (pic 6 in pink), president of the "Friends of Bordet" explained that the event event benefits the Jules Bordet Cancer Institute (pic 5) of Brussels which celebrates this year the 25th anniversary of the Breast Clinic. 
Local dignitaries, mayor Willy Decourty and cabinet members Dominique Dufourny (pic 6) and Nathalie Gilson (pic 7) encouraged the runners, walkers, nordic walkers and strollers from the podium. 
Lots of sun at this end of September day, lots of participants, lots of enthusiasm, tons of photographers..and an interested public along the way. The Sunday morning fishermen (pic 10)  did not mind being disturbed in their weekly quiet time at the pond.. complaints yesterday. 

September 23, 2011

The little red caboose at the Leuven fair

(photos taken by i-phone)

My blogger friend Genie author of fascinating "Paris and Beyond",  challenged me with her comment on my previous "color purple" posting.  This is what Genie said : " you have had a colorful week so far... yellow and now purple. I can't wait to see what is next!"
I feel like I have no choice but to come up with something "red". 
In one of my very favorite Belgian towns - Leuven, known for its ancient university and modern student population,  now totally uprooted by city works, I found a red caboose. 
Leuven has a magnificent town hall, built between 1448 and 1469. I will certainly be back with one or more separate postings on the subject.
Every year in September, Leuven becomes home to a fair or kermesse in French and kermis in Dutch,  to the delight of the large youthful segment of the population,  especially since the new school year starts with a day off in honor of the fair.
The fair has bumper cars, a ghost palace, frites (french fries), waffles and smoutebollen (a rather greasy doughnut type of food which one eats in a paper bag like fries), all kinds of noisy rides,...
I was thrilled when I saw the  little red caboose which made me think of Genie but also reminded me of a children's book which I must have read a zillion times to my kids because it was their all time favorite. The book by Marian Potter tells the story of a little red caboose at the back of the train and its aspiration to become as strong as the engine at the front. 

September 21, 2011

The color purple

The purple girl was spotted and "shot" in the photographic sense, near the Grand'Place in Brussels. I regret that I did not talk to her to find out what her "thing" with purple is. All I can say now is, whether a tourist or a local,  she did not mind being photographed. 

September 19, 2011

Anyone lost this yellow machine?

Today I decided to use "This is Belgium" and do something a bit different.. I am calling out for help. 
My neighbor across the street is very upset because this motorcycle has been sitting in front of her apartment building in Brussels for 3 months now. The moto is parked in front of HER building and next to HER parking spot.  She is upset because she is afraid to hit and damage it when she opens the door of her car. She is upset because no one is interested in it or knows who the owner is. She is upset because the police does not come after it,  because it has no license plate,  because the owner is untraceable.. and because, at the same time, it  has a very heavy chain. 
So, anyone who can help my neighbor, please comment !

September 17, 2011


I have not often seen wedding ceremonies at the Church of Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg. On July 21, 1831, on the front steps of this church, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha took the oath that made him  the first King of the Belgians,. 
Also shown is the equestrian statue of Godfrey of Bouillon, the leader of the first crusade in 1096. I will devote a separate post to him, his adventures and the statue.
The last photograph shows the Magritte museum - the building with the two windows showing blue skies, and in the far distance is the spire of Brussels Grand'Place.

September 16, 2011


My quest abroad for things and persons connected or related to Belgium was rewarded in the Paris’ metro where you can not miss the Milow posters. Milow might be less known to some than Amélie Nothomb whose books I found exposed in Avignon and in Paris (see posting of September 3), the October concert of Milow receives a fair amount of publicity. Milow or Jonathan Vandenbroeck is a Belgian guitarist and singer. He won the best international newcomer reward in 2009. His story can be found on;

September 14, 2011

Street comfort or art?

Some benches have been put there on purpose and are meant to be in a permanent spot, like the first one at the coast in Duinbergen. Others are left there accidentally because its owner did not feel like going  through the trouble of taking it to the dump. A clever street artist got his/her hand on it and turned it into something that grabs the attention.
What do you think, I wonder, pro or against this type of street "art"?

September 12, 2011

Breughel festivities in Brussels

Every year in September, folklore festivities organized by the merchants and associations of traders take place in the Brueghel quarters of Brussels.The giants lead the way and are pulling a procession consisting of dancers, the Breugel band, les Breughelliennes, artists etc. The last Giant is portraying Philip the Good (1396 – 1467) duke of Burgundy known also for his patronage of Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck. 
Yesterday's rain could not keep the people at home, and... the french fries are never very far away.

September 11, 2011

New York, 10 years later
New York City's blogger Urban Muser agreed to let me use her picture of the City in commemoration of 9/11

September 09, 2011

Art deco

Although Brussels is more known as an Art Nouveau city because of the works and houses by big names, such as Victor Horta, Henry van de Velde and Paul Hankar, there are many art deco treasures to be found in the city.
The term art deco found its origin in the 1925 Paris "Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes".

I particularly like this shop in Saint-Gilles with the finest light fixtures, chandeliers, lamps.  Owner Anne Bastin is an Art Deco lover and specialist.

September 08, 2011

No time to waste

On way to birthday party

September 07, 2011

The chairs are still out

Whether as decoration, as a means of attracting customers to the shop, as a necessary commodity for the public before or after festivals and events.... the chairs bring color to the city. As long as they are outside, it seems to me that summer is not quite over yet, even if people have to wear coats to enjoy the chairs!

September 06, 2011

Jeff de Bruges, chocolates of course

When traveling, I am always delighted when - without looking for anything in particular- I just happen to stumble upon what I consider a photo op for This is Belgium.  Jeff de Bruges is one example. I do not recall ever having seen Jeff's chocolates in Belgium. This shot was taken in rue Daguerre, Paris, a favorite street in the 14th Arrondissement. 

Explanation by Jeff  himself on

Question : "How was Jeff de Bruges started ?"

Philippe Jambon: " With passion, as, from a very young age running around in the chocolate makers' workshops, I was able to observe the magical effect of chocolate. Since then, when creating Jeff de Bruges, I have relentlessly imagined a thousand and one ways of turning our stores into uniques places, gourmets' worlds, where fine and delicious chocolate could also be accessible and fun to bring pleasure and quality to all "

Question: "You are French and have created a Belgium chocolate brand, isn't that surprising ?"
PJ: " Even though I have French roots, I have been immersed in both French and Belgian chocolate culture;  I feel close to this country and I found it dynamic but also different to associate these two types of knowledge. "

Question: "Why did you choose the name « Jeff de Bruges » ?"
PJ: " When your name is "Jambon" (ham in English) and you want to sell chocolate, you have to be practical and realise you will not be able to give your own name to the brand. In fact, it all started in Bruges, as the first chocolate factory was installed in that town. Furthermore, choosing as a symbol the town also know as the "Northen Venice" seemed appropriate for a chocolate brand. My passion for Jacques Brel and the song entilted "Jef" did the rest and I imagined the name "Jeff de Bruges".

September 03, 2011

Amélie Nothomb

I love books and bookstores and I hope that in this day and age of digitalization there will always be a place for both. 
When abroad,  one of my very favorite things to do is to make a trip to the bookstore to explore and see what is on the shelves.  A few weeks ago, at the end of a Provence vacation, I walked into a bookstore in the magnificent city of Avignon and found Belgian star author Amélie Nothomb's new book advertised as the main "attraction".
Amélie Nothomb is a very accomplished and famous writer. Her first novel was published in 1992, and she has published many books since at the rate of about one novel per year. 
In the "top 10" section of this book store in the Gare du Nord in Paris,  Amélie's newest book is # 2.