December 31, 2012

Bye 2012

Hey everyone, I am a bit you have exciting plans for this very last day of the year ?
In closing 2012,  allow me to take you back  -turning our back- to the colorful Binche carnival from February.
Careful on the roads and with the fireworks tonight!
I see all of you next year.

December 30, 2012


                                        pictures by Graham
If you would like to get out of the city, away from the Christmas stress, the shopping madness or the hectic city days, and are looking for a quiet secluded area to spend new years eve or new years day, I know of no better place to go than the "Demerbroeken". A nature reserve, located about 60 kms to the East of Brussels, the Demerbroeken is in the Scherpenheuvel-Zichem area, along the river "Demer" which flows through the province of Brabant, its source being in Limburg, near Tongeren. 
You will more than likely be all by yourselves, as my local reporter Graham was the other day. His photos hopefully reveal the peace and quiet that I'm talking about. (soundtrack)

December 29, 2012

Christmas in the country

A walk in the country reveals different ways to celebrate Christmas

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas everyone

Wishing all of you the merriest and happiest of Christmases! 

December 21, 2012

Traveling with Tintin

Although I have been by here thousands of times, it was not until last week that I - and not for any particular reason - captured it for This is Belgium.  The fresco has been put up in 2007  at the occasion of the centenary celebrations of Herge's birthday. It decorates the walls of Brussels Midi Train station. " The drawing is derived from  (the comic strip album) Tintin in America, first published in 1932".

December 18, 2012

Opera Ghent

So much Christmas blogging going on these days.. 
It makes me want to show something totally different. After all, we have a whole week to go. 
"In the first half of the 19th century, rich Ghent industrialists initiated the building of a new and luxurious opera house. It was meant to be the showcase for their newly acquired wealth and no expense was spared. In the splendid, horseshoeshaped theatre, being seen was just as important as seeing. The impressive chandelier is an attraction in itself, as are the three salons, in all 90 m long".

December 16, 2012

Antwerp and Brabo, last night

                                       photos by Graham

The seasons' spirit also made it to Antwerp. The first two pictures show the town hall and the good observer notices the statue of Brabo right next to the Christmas tree. Even though the word "Antwerp" is said to be derived from " aan de werpe"  (translated as "at the throw")  referring to where the river throws its sand, the Brabo story tells it differently: "More than 2,000 years ago, when Antwerp was just a small settlement in the Roman empire, Druoon Antigoon - a giant from Russian descent - built a large castle along the river Scheldt. He exacted a toll from every passing ship sailing down the river. The giant cut off the hands of sailors who were unable or unwilling to hand over half of their cargo, and threw their hands in the river.One day, the Roman soldier Brabo sailed along the giant's castle. He refused to pay the toll and challenged Antigoon to a duel. Brabo managed to defeat the giant, cut off his head and hand and threw it in the river. According to popular etymology the city's name - Antwerpen - is derived from the act of Brabo throwing the hand ('handwerpen' in Flemish). The hand symbolizes the free waterway, which was vital for the city's survival. The hand also became a symbol of Antwerp and appeared on city seals as early as in the 13th century.Even today it is prominently visible in the city: the hand is displayed on the city's coat of arms and a local delicacy, known as 'handje' is shaped like a hand"

December 15, 2012

Seasons' decorations

So many gorgeous shop decorations this year... the three shown here are located on or just off Place Brugmann in Brussels.

December 13, 2012

Wouters Hendrix jewelry

Looking at this window filled with glass vases, jars and candle holders, would you ever guess that this is all about jewelry? I live close to this store and since I like their special season's decoration, I wanted to show you once more. Indeed,  I wrote about Wouters & Hendrix more than a year ago, here: 
Katrin Wouters and Karen Hendrix graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, section goldsmithing, in their native town Antwerp. Best friends, they have designed jewelry together since 1984 and are now an important part of Antwerp's fashion scene. 
I would describe the jewelry as fine, delicate, special, unique and timeless.

December 12, 2012


                                              photo by Edouard
Liège, the third largest city in Belgium in terms of population after Brussels and Antwerp, is located on the Meuse river near Belgium's eastern borders with the Netherlands and Germany. Liège has an interesting history, it is the birthplace of Emperor Charlemagne. Also the writer Georges Simenon was born there. Today Liège is  the cultural center of Wallonia with an intense artistic life as well as an important architectural heritage.

December 08, 2012

Car-iphoneography #3

Lady guarding the National Bank.
Comic Strip trail.
Skatepark with in the background a view of the South station area in Brussels and Jesuit school, St Jan Berchmans.  

December 06, 2012

Paris-Bruxelles chocolates

Under normal circumstances I would have written a post about Saint Nicolas. But today is a not the usual December 6 festive day in our family. My husband's mother passed away, and we are saying goodbye to her today. She was an extraordinary and incredible lady, beautiful and very special. She loved all aspects of life, and Belgian chocolates were one of her many very favorite things.
Here are two window displays of Belgian Marcolini chocolates, one in rue Scribe in Paris, the other on Brussels' Sablon Square.

December 03, 2012

Berlinde de Bruyckere

                                 photo by Carinne
My friend Carine, who now lives in Nairobi, shared the above photograph of this major sculpture of one of Belgium's most interesting artists, Berlinde de Bruyckere. The lifesize representation of a horse is now on display in the residence of the Belgian Ambassador there.
Berlinde's work is shown together with a local artists expositon  Funika-Fufuka (Cover-Recover) curated by Gonda Geets, a Belgian artist who lives in Nairobi. Funika-Fufuka’s theme is what the catalogue calls the history of humanity, with all the nuances of pain and healing, vulnerability and violence that entails.

December 01, 2012

Car-iphoneography #2

My first car-iphoneography experiment a few months ago,  shown on, was fun. I had another try at it. 
All of these are taken in Brussels.
 1: rue du Bailly.
 2: the main cathedral in Brussels (St Michael and St Gudule). 
 3: street art, Monsieur Jean, the strip character of Dupuy and Berberian
 at the corner of rue du Midi.
More car-iphoneography  in Brussels coming up in next post.
If you're interested in "shooting" while on the go, you might enjoy looking at the photo's on, by Tim Sklyarov who while traveling to and from work in New York city every day on a bike, documented his daily trips and encounters in 2001. 

November 29, 2012

Facades in Leuven

The white house with the boat on top is the "Schippershuis" and the one to the right of it ''t Oude Woud"  (Old Forest)

wonderful terraces for people watching, relaxing and enjoying a Belgian beer or something equally delicious
"Het Moorinnenken" houses a cafe and restaurant

this building used to be the post office, 
now it is home to the  store " 't Kruidvat"

November 26, 2012

Walking on water

At the Embarcadero in Brussels' Bois de la Cambre, a man in uniform navigates a wooden ferry to bring  customers to the other side of the lake where they can enjoy drinks and dinner at Chalet Robinson.
I thought his picture would look pretty cool on This is Belgium and started chatting with him,  hoping he would approve being photographed as he did.
Suddenly,  two people showed up carrying big white letters J and C.   They had come to illustrate,  in a as literal way as possible,  the Biblical story of Jesus walking on water.

November 24, 2012

Le Coq / De Haan (part 2 of 2)

Second part of my short tour of  the beautiful seaside town Le Coq / De Haan with in picture one the tram station, designed in 1902 by architect G Dhaeyer.

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day

Saying grace before carving a turkey at Thanksgiving dinner, Pennsylvania, U.S., 1942
Observed by United States
 Puerto Rico
 Norfolk Island
TypeNational, cultural
2012 date
October 8, 2012 (Canada);
November 1, 2012 (Liberia);
November 28, 2012 (Norfolk Island);
November 22, 2012 (USA)

I like to wish the many visitors from overseas who are celebrating today and everyone else who has something to be thankful for, a very  happy thanksgiving!

November 19, 2012

De Haan / Le Coq (1)

Le Coq / De Haan  (meaning rooster) is one of the prettiest towns at the Belgian coast with gorgeous villas all over the place, in the center,  near the board walk and dunes. 
What makes this town special, apart from the fact that Albert Einstein lived there in 1933 and is still honored today as its most famous visitor? Unlike in other Belgian beach towns, here the coastline has retained low-rise architecture and the Belle Epoque style houses are just absolutely stunning. The pink building shown is the town hall. 
More tomorrow, i a the picturesque tram station 
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