December 31, 2013

Happy, happy 2014!!

I am ready for the celebrations tonight. I decided to go with the bubbly of Madame Carol Duval-Leroy, the Belgian CEO of a great champagne company.
I wish all of you TiB readers an exquisite and sparkling New Year!

December 24, 2013


My Christmas menu took me to Stonemanor, the British store in Everberg,  about 15 km outside of Brussels. It is a great shop with an abundant choice but I admit that had I know the crowds I was going to face, I would have changed my menu and gone for a traditional Belgian feast.
Stonemanor saw the light in 1982 when Roger George founded a business dedicated to the import of British product in order to serve the expat community in the Brussels area.

December 23, 2013

Street treasures

Delighted you enjoyed the treasures of the Louvain town hall in the previous post. However, as you see here,  it is not necessary to climb a narrow staircase to an attic to find and discover them. In Belgium, as you see,  treasures are all over the place. 

December 19, 2013

Treasures in the attic

 Would you believe me if i told you that I took advantage of the inviting open door to sneak into Louvain's town hall? High up in the attic I discovered this treasure of a zillions statutes which must have adorned the facade at one time or other.

December 16, 2013

Decorations at the designers shops

A look at how the big Antwerp fashion names attract the end of year shopper. 
Above, Dries van Noten, Modepaleis, Antwerp.

December 12, 2013

Jesuit Church, Brussels


The Gesù church, constructed in 1860 by Jesuit Priests, is located across the street from the Botanique, one of Brussels' great cultural temples.  In recent years the church itself was used for cultural events, exhibitions and concerts. A few weeks ago, it made the news; a group of homeless people were driven away by police.  I just noticed driving by there yesterday a man's pleading for a more suitable and permanent solution for the city's homeless.

December 07, 2013

Spreading the Cheer, from Belgium to Texas

The Texas Bar Journal in Recess published an article " Spreading the cheer, how an Austin solo attorney brought good (read: Belgian)  beer to town in the late 1970s and continues to help the local brewing industry thrive".
Jim Houchins' special relationship with Belgium began in 1976 when, after finishing law school at the University of Texas, he spent a year studying International Law in Brussels. The rest of the story you can read in the article above. 
Unfortunately because of the size of Blogger's template, I did not succeed in getting the whole article reproduced here in one go, hence the copy/paste of screenshots and a link to the original text below.
Jim has been back in Belgium on business many times and I have done some reporting on one of his previous visits here:

December 06, 2013

Celebrating St Nicholas with Dauwe and Bries

Dauwe and Bries, sons of my friend Katleen, have found a splendid way around controversy regarding Saint Nicholas' helpers. 
According to the legends, the good old man sends his helpers from the roof tops down the chimneys at night to deliver presents right into the good children's homes. These manoevers explain of course the helpers' faces.  There are many other versions. 
Suffice it to say that December 6 is a fun day for the kids in Belgium who all wake up earlier than usual,  curious to see what the Saint had brought them. 
I wish all of them a very happy Sinterklaas/Saint Nicolas!
I have written about the Saint Nic celebrations on December 6 before

December 05, 2013

Grandiose Interior

I was so much in awe with the stunning Art Nouveau interior at the Buca di Bacco restaurant in Schaerbeek (Brussels) that I forgot to take photographs of the food. 
Honestly, the restaurant is relatively small and it offers food for all one's senses.

December 04, 2013

Bozar, the public


 I confess that I could not resist taking a few people's shot at the Bartoli concert in Bozar.

December 01, 2013

La Bartoli at Bozar in Brussels

"Bozar" refers to several artistic departments of the Beaux Arts museums in Brussels.  It is home to the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Société Philharmonique/Philharmonische Vereniging which invites the world's major orchestras and performers to appear in the Le Boeuf Hall, with its oval shape and interesting architecture.  The pictures were taken on the occasion of Cecilia Bartoli's concert a week ago.

November 27, 2013

How about Thanksgiving in Belgium?

I really like the idea of celebrating "Thanksgiving" and have always wanted to introduce this wonderful tradition in Belgium. Tomorrow I have invited friends to a typical meal of  turkey with all the trimmings (stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, pecan pie and ... maybe Belgian beer and chocolates?).  The celebration is about giving thanks and enjoying family and friendship.   George Washington issued the Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789 and Abraham Lincoln turned this special day into a national holiday in 1863. Do you agree that it is worth giving it a try over here too ? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have another day off in Belgium also, just to say 'thanks' ? I wish you visitors who are celebrating tomorrow a very happy Thanksgiving.

November 24, 2013

People of Belgium

The sight of this charming woman, who had a special poise and presence about her, showing up in a Snack Express Bar in Brussels, spontaneously made me think of the hugely popular Humans of New York blog. 
I asked her if she would agree for me to take her photo and she asked me: "Why and what for?"  My answer - "not particularly sure and not a very specific reason" - made her smile as you can see.  On the way out, I did give her a little piece of sandwich wrapping paper on which I had written down the references to TiB. Since then I've followed the recommendation I've received from a number of you and printed TiB cards that I can give out on occasions such as this one.  Great tip!

November 21, 2013

David Claerbout


Not much time is left to go see Belgian artist David Claerbout in Paris. He is showing 3 videos and a series of preparatory drawings, storyboards of his films, in Galery Yvon Lambert, rue Vieille du Temple is Paris' Marais. 
Mr Claerbout, born in Kortrijk in 1969, studied in Antwerp and Berlin, he lives and works in both cities.

November 18, 2013

Guest blogger: "Mijn Nikon en ik, Photography a way to live" on Michiel Coxcie

details from two paintings

I am delighted to introduce you to Joke's blog "My Nikon and I" and her absolutely wonderful entry today on Michiel Coxcie, whose work in shown in M -  Museum in Leuven.  Check out what Joke has to say about this exhibit and make sure you also take a moment to admire Joke's wonderful nature photographs.

November 14, 2013

"Bleu de toi" Jewelry

Belgium has a large Filipino community and I like to put a special lady in the spotlight today. 
I have known this cute store in Brussels' Galerie Louise for many, many years and somehow - maybe because I am an earrings person? - it became a habit every time I walk by there, to stop and say hi to the lady who runs "Bleu de Toi". 
Originally from the Philippines, Belgium has been home to her for years now. Her daughter has the same age as my son, so we, moms, always have something to chat about and over the years, it became fun to compare notes.
I wish her well and hope her family and friends are safe.

Bleu De Toi (bijouterie)
113 Galerie Louise
1050 Ixelles / Brussels  +32 2 5138177

November 12, 2013

How to help the Philippines Typhoon Victims

                                                                photo de

Médecins Sans Frontières/ 
Artsen zonder Grenzen BE73 0000 0000 6060 84 0000 0001 5659 met vermelding ‘Noodhulpfonds Filipijnen’

Unicef,  BE31 0000 0000 5555 

Plan Belgique/ Plan België BE84 0000 0001 5659

Croix Rouge BE72 000-0000016-16
Rode Kruis  BE53 0000 0000 5353