Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 3rd

Woke up early and lay in bed planning my day. Laura and her husband go to work so by 8:30 I had the apartment to myself. I took a shower, lots of hot water and got ready to leave. It is windy and cold out so I brought my gloves and hat and umbrella as it says it will rain today. I'm hoping for late afternoon or evening so I won't get wet.
The first thing I noticed when I left the apartment was the wall art on the building in the next block. I got dark early last night so I hadn't seen it then. I soon discovered as my pictures show that it is all over the city. Nice touch and the graffiti artists seem to respect it as none have been badly overwritten.
I took pictures today of several fountains around the city. These were attached to an underground system which supplied drinking water to the city.
Even Brussels isn't perfect did you notice the picture of the building in Broukere Square with the ugly Coca-Cola sign on it? I stopped for a coffee and a sweet roll. When I walked around the corner I discovered an archeological site from 1238 but it only open once a month, and of course that day is the day I leave Brussels. I took apicture anyway. There are lovely little lane ways and corridors that lead to courtyards that hold restaurants or other businesses. These have been around for hundreds of years and people just adapt then to their own use. The decorations around the doorways are delightful.
St. Nicholas church is righ in the middle of the pedestrian streets and has adapted as well. On the inside you notice that all the stained glass windows are very high. On the outside you notice that the church has a front but the sides are all store fronts. If you look up you see that the stained glass windows are on the second floor.
There are chocolate shops everywhere. You cannot move 15 feet without smelling chocolate, without being offered a sample or just finding another window display. On the small streets the doors and windows are open and they are selling hot chocolate in every variety. Hot milk and the give you a spoon with a wedge of chocolate on it. You melt it into the hot milk to get your hot chocolate.
I found an interesting ceiling in the bathroom (yes I hate calling it a toilet) in one of the buildings. It had led curly strings hanging from the ceiling. I don't know why, but it was interesting.
Off I went to find young Mannekin Pis. He is a few blocks away from the Grand Place. The fountain was part of the water system I talked about. There are about six different legends about the origin of the statue. The present one dates from 1617 but because it was stolen several times the one on display is a copy -the original is in the Brussels Museum which I will go to tomorrow as it isn't open on Mondays.
I discovered that there was a flea market several blocks away. I planned the route and headed out. I grabbed a sandwich on the way. I saw some beautiful houses with carved balconies and decorative woodwork along the way. When I arrive the market was in full swing and huge. There were tables of jewellery, knick-knacks, China, silverware, displays of furniture and paintings. There were also piles of clothing, curtains, rugs, bedding. Boxes of miscellany at every turn. I saw bicycles, children's toys, pottery, suitcases, books, CDs, records, vhs and DVDs and the players to play them on. I saw a rooster I would have liked but the man wanted too much and wouldn't budge so I walked away.
Across a narrow lane from the square was Sacred Heart Church. I love visiting churches because of the architecture. They are magnificent works of art before modern technology took a hand in building. The vaulted ceilings and domes are beautiful.
I walked about Brussels. It was starting to rain a little. I saw someone installing boring concrete tiles over the face of an ancient brick building being renovated. How sad.
I saw several more beautiful churches, a Belgian postman and some policemen on horseback. I found the dinosaur museum and the museum on Belgian art. I began to seriously rain so I took the bus back to the St. Hubert Gallery and had soup for supper. The roof of the Gallery is glass but some panes must be broken as we all had to move inside as we started getting wet.
After supper I took a route back toward the apartment going through buildings that were malls to keep dry. My umbrella blew inside out at one point and it got so windy that i couldn't trust it. When I was going through one of the buildings with a casino upstars I took pictures of the upper gallery changing colours as the lighting changed.
Got home a little wet but happy. Went to bed early. We will see what tomorrow brings.

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