January 30, 2012

General strike



The general strike is aimed at the austerity plan of the government and coincides with the summit of the European leaders held in Brussels today.
The photos show the unions  blocking the tram tracks to prevent them from riding out.

January 28, 2012

Sofi then and now

 Sofi is the daughter of friends and came by for a visit today. I dug into my archives because I remembered having taken a black and white picture of her with my old Canon a few years ago.

January 26, 2012

Sisisi bar

If you walk by this beautiful art deco café, you can not fail to be impressed by the huge frame with the text of  a law dating from 1938 called "Arrêté-Loi relatif à la répression de l'ivresse - Besluitwet tegen Openbare Dronkenschap - Loi contre l'Ivresse Publique", which translates as Law against Public Drunkenness. The cafe itself is beautiful, and it is unfortunate that it does not seem  to attract customers, at least that was the case when I passed by.

Chaussée de Charleroi

January 25, 2012


Proud that the Los Angeles Film Academy nominated Rundskop/Bullhead for the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language movie!

January 23, 2012

Red croco by Orlinski

Sculpture by young French artist Richard Orlinski on square d'Arezzo in Brussels.
His sculptures are "built around the concept of "Born Wild", reflecting core values ​​in a contemporary style, which never yields to the trash, to extravagance or ephemeral. .. The challenge of Richard Orlinski through the concept "Born Wild" © is to transform the negative impulses vital positive emotions, to move from the primordial instinct to emotion civilized.
Supporter of the arts accessible to all, Richard Orlinski draws on popular imagery of the icons that serve his purpose.
The man and the crocodile have in common the reptilian brain, one of three human brains, a brain without memory governed by innate reflexes, the seat of our violent impulses. The crocodile, a species dating from the Mesozoic era, also symbolizes the adaptability and survivability". 

January 21, 2012

Sounds Jazz Club - Fabrizio Graceffa Quartet

Those of you who are faithful viewers of  This is Belgium have met two of my three sons, Warren Dekko, the author of Appointment in Milano (http://whatisbelgium.blogspot.com/2011/11/meet-author-warren-dekko.html), and Graham the globetrotter (http://whatisbelgium.blogspot.com/2011/12/belgian-cowboys-in-colombia.html)
My youngest son Jason saw the Fabrizio Graceffa Quartet in the Ixelles jazz club "The Sounds", took this picture with his phone and sent it to me with the request to post it on this blog. Thanks, Jason!  
Fabrizio is a fantastic jazz guitarist and composer whose enthusiasm infected and inspired Jason, who has himself become a great guitar player and songwriter. 
What follows is an excerpt from the club's website: "You are not in Chicago or New Orleans, you are in Ixelles. But if you are under the impression of being somewhere else, that’s understandable : the atmosphere, the fragrance, the warmth and the music have the color of true, authentic jazz.And there is not only the music, but also the style, the cocktails (Sergio !), the delicious Italian dishes (Rosy !!) and the quality of an authentic Brussels venue.The « Sounds », run since 1986 by Sergio Duvalloni and Rosy Merlini, has had the best Belgian and international jazzmen on stage, and the numerous memorable concerts make it a ‘must’ for all jazz fans and lovers of good music in general."

January 20, 2012

Around the Ixelles ponds

The Ixelles ponds near Place Flagey are both an oasis of calm and a nature preserve right in the middle of the city.  This is one of my favorite areas, especially on Sunday mornings when you can combine a quiet stroll around the ponds with a visit to the open air market on Place Flagey, with perhaps also a visit to café Belga for an invigorating cup of coffee with a delicious pastry or a healthy yoghurt or salad. I need an excuse to return to Belga to make a "reportage" for you!

January 18, 2012

This is not a glass of wine

For Graham,
happy birthday  "à la Magritte"!
a very special wish for a very special person, 
my son, the globe-trotter (see http://dg.strobot.com/)

January 16, 2012

Tram stops

Brussels unfortunately has its share of graffiti and vandalism.  Here are a couple of examples: Van Eyck on Chaussée de Vleurgat and Janson on Chaussée de Charleroi. Janson experienced both.  Could it be that someone simply didn't like the advertisement?

January 14, 2012

Royal green

Looking at the Royal Palace in Brussels from the cafetaria of the Belvue Museum while waiting for a friend to meet me for lunch.  I will have to return to shoot the museum itself. It traces Belgium's history from its independence until today.  Before it became a museum it was home to the royal family and a hotel for dignitaries.
BELvue museum
Plaleizenplein 7 Place des Palais
1000 Brussels
Website: www.belvue.be

January 12, 2012

Once a girl, always a girl......on way to sales?

Mostly ladies on the tram that afternoon..
Wonder whether they were heading downtown for the sales... It is that time of the year.

January 10, 2012

Unique pieces

It is only the same name that makes me want to show these pictures,  the first one of a second hand clothes store in Brussels, the second of an art gallery in Paris.

January 09, 2012


Not far from Gallery Botier (previous posting) is Dotspot. It was not until after I got home and looked at the pictures on the computer that I noticed that the atoms of the Atomium were Brussels sprouts.
The Atomium  symbolizes an elementary crystal. It was the main pavilion and icon of the World Fair of Brussels (1958), known as Expo 58. 

rue de la Madeleine 31

January 06, 2012

Bortier Gallery

The Galerie Bortier in the center of Brussels is a covered shopping arcade constructed in 1847 - 1848 by the architect J.P. Cluysenaer. Initially it was part of a larger complex including the Madeleine market,  which today no longer exists. The gallery remains a beautiful example of the simultaneous use of cast iron and glass.  The narrow passageway built on two levels has a mainly Neo-Rennaissance style.  The gallery's entrance is located at Rue de la Madeleine and its facade incorporates part of an old town house, the former Van Gend transport company. 
Today the gallery mostly houses bookshops and art galleries.
From a comment by Frans, a blogger and expert on cameras and photography (http://thecameracollector.skynetblogs.be/), I just learned that this gallery also houses the antiquarian shop of Tristan Schwilden, a renowned Belgian author on XIX Century photography. Schwilden is the co-author of "The First Daguerreian Studios in Brussels," a survey of the development of photography in Brussels, beginning with the opening of the first studios in 1842, and including biographical details of the photographers concerned. 

January 05, 2012

Judy's blog: Life... Minute by Minute

Judy really surprised me today!
This is Belgium appeared on her blog.
Pretty cool... so, below is a copy/paste piece of Judy's posting.

"Compare Not

Have you ever compared yourself to someone and thought, "man, why can't I do that" or "their life is so perfect."?   I used to.  All the time.   Until I realized that there IS no comparison.    
When I first started blogging I was so intimidated because everyone - and I mean everyone - seemed to have so much more to say, and they all said it so eloquently and it seemed with such ease.  I imagined that everybody else just sat at the keyboard and their fingers just flew, as ideas whirled around in their minds.  Me, on the other hand - I get up every morning, scratch my head, and realize I have nothing to write about.   So, I sometimes say a little prayer that something would come to my mind.   Don't get me wrong . . . my posts are not necessarily answers to my prayers!    But I think I have learned not to compare myself with other bloggers.   We are all so different and I think it shows in our posts.  And that's what makes reading your blogs so much fun for me!  We all have something different to offer, or at least offering the same thing in a different way. 
For instance, if you want to want to travel the world, or at least to NYC or Belgium, check out the beautiful photos in Through My Eyes  and This is Belgium These blogs will take you away to another place  (unless, of course, you live in NYC or Belgium).  Or readMark's Work.  He'll take you to another world, too, although you may not understand some of his words!  Which, by the way, is a good way to broaden your vocabulary!    Read what Jewels has to say at Frazzled and Frumpy.  She will crack you up!    We seem to live parallel lives.   So many more . . . just check out my "I Love These" over there on the right . . . and you will find a gold mine of wonderful people who share their lives through their blogs.  No two alike.   Promise. 
And that's the point, I guess.  We are all different.  We all have something to offer.   No comparisons allowed!"

January 04, 2012

Trendy hair salon

When I saw this window from the distance I thought I was looking at a computer store or internet café. The second picture takes all doubt away.
Salon de coiffure, Place St-Catherine, Brussels

January 02, 2012

Resolution one for 2012

I was sorry that I only had my phone with me to capture this colorful group celebrating the beginning of a new year. One man wore the Belgian colors and a representative of Wallonia was dressed as a Walloon rooster.  
Resolution for the new year: never leave home without a camera.