I am just having a realization. Now I know why I am not a tiny little woman, but a quite big, stout one. Do you want to know my secret? Sure you do :-) It is because of all the things I gather while traveling. Well, not only while traveling actually, it is of all the things I gather while living life.
Like in Brussels. I gathered travel tales on every corner. I gathered information about the city, about its people, its food, its art, its tradition.......... like the loadful of legends about the cute little bronze statue Manneken Pis (little man peeing)
There are many tales about this little boy, all of them includes how his peeing saves the world around him. The Manneken Pis statue is situated in the center of the town, not far from the Grote Markt, the market place. It is in a side street, quite small, but easy to find because of all the tourists gathered around the 61cm high statue
Poor little guy. Stading there peeing all day to satisfy a million Japanese tourists, half a million Americans and a stout woman from little Norway.
By the way, the whole area was filled with chocolate shops, many of them with little Manneken Pis in chocolate.
I bought none.
I did buy a lot of other chocolate though, and took a thousand chocolate window photos. Which I will show you another day ;-)
"This is a combi ticket" the female guard told me. "You can use it for all four museums and must start with musée magritte". "But I don´t want to visit musée magritte, I want to see the Bruegel paintings" "Then you have payed too much for your ticket. Go back to the counter and tell them to give you money back" "Well, the price was not too bad, I don´t have much time and I want to see the Bruegel paintings, I don´t need to get money back" "You will of course see the paintings, but go back to the counter and ask them to give you money back" "But........." I looked at the woman and knew I was defeated. I walked back to the counter.
"Sir, I am here to see the Bruegel paintings and the woman over there told me I had payed too much for my ticket and that I should come back here to get a cheaper one" "You have a combi ticket, it is for all four museums" "I know I have a combi tickets, but I have no time for all four museums. I am here to see the Bruegel paintings" "Of course you want to see all four museums. They are too good to be missed" "I am sure they are, but I have time for only this one, I want to see the Bruegel paintings and the woman over there told me that with this combi ticket I had to start with musée magritte" "Give me your ticket. Look, I am writing OK here which indicates that you can start with this museum first and then continue with the others afterwards" "Sir, I don´t have time for the other museums, only this one, and the woman over there told me I can get a cheaper ticket to do that and that you are to give me money back" "Of course you want to see all four museums. After you have finished this one you will want to continue" "But, sir......." I looked at the man behind the desk and knew I was defeated again.
Still, I wanted to see the Bruegel paintings, and knew I could do so with my expensive combi ticket. I left the counter, I walked fast and determined past the female guard and climed the stairs up to the Bruegel section.
There I could finally immerse myself in The Census at Bethlehem. First the orininal painting made by father Pieter painted in 1566. Then the copy made by son Pieter 40 years later.
And after a long while I even had time for some of the other Bruegel paintings.
Then I left the museum with an almost unused combi ticket and a mind filled with amazing art.
The first thing I did after I knew I was going to Brussels was to buy a guidebook. The second thinng I did was to flip through the book to check if I could find something about a botanical garden. And there, on page 49 in Eyewitness Travel, I found it;
In 1797, the city of Brussels created a botanical garden in the grounds of the Palais de Lorraine as a source of reference for botany students. The garden closed in 1826, and the new gardens were relocated in Meise, 13 km (9 miles) from Brussels. A grand glass-and-iron rotunda was designed at the center of the gardens by the French architect Gineste. Third iron glasshouse still stands, as does much of the 19th century statuary by Constantin Meunier......
I have been in Brussel for a few days for work, visiting Eurodiaconia. We´ve had long days with meetings, but yesterday, before flying home, I finally had some time off. And of course went to serch for my botanical garden. Or actually the remnants of it.
Squeezed in between skyscrapers and busy traficc, the garden was surprisingly calm and silent.
The iron- and glassrotunda is still there, today a concert- and art center. I walked around, trying to imagine when it must have looked like through its golden days.
On my way to La Botanique I had stopped at Musées des Beaux-Arts to learn more about Peter Bruegel and his village scenes paintings. With them in mind, my camera kept looking for scenes in the garden.
They were easy to find :-)
By the way, I hope to write more about Bruegel another day.
All texts and photos by Britt-Arnhild Wigum Lindland
I am living in a red house surrounded by a blue garden near Trondheim, Norway. I love everydays and post about my steps through life. Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods is open to everybody. Welcome over!