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BELGIUM


Location - Western Europe; Capital - Brussels; Population - 11 million; Currency - Euro MORE BELGIUM

After a brief stop in Paris I continued on to Bruges by train - May 2010. I've also included the Bruges ice sculpture exhibition of December 2015.
I've updated the Brussels photos from several trips over the years, the last being where I caught the sound-and-light show in the Grand Place. Plus there's some quality street art and Tintin murals dotted around the capital - May 2010 to December 2015.

 

euroBelgium is in the Euro zone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium562In December every year an ice sculpture festival takes place outside the train station in Bruges

 

belgium569Ice Magic hosts a different theme every year and in 2015 it was WanaGoGo. No, I've no idea either! But the sculptures were very cartoonish - Bruges

 

belgium579What look like stairs is actually an ice slide (clear ice blocks are laid on top of the steps). Apparently because I was wearing jeans I 'slid' down in a very unfluid, staccato-like action - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium576A view of the ice bar and Christmas tree from the top of the slide - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium580Various sculptors from around the world come to carve the ice, with intricate designs and a flowing imagination - Bruges

 

belgium596A clever sculpture of a fish trapped in a dolphin's mouth - Bruges

 

belgium606Presumably these are WanaGoGo characters - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium610I love the dog - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium591Check it out if you're in Bruges in the winter, but for the real McCoy get yourself to the incredible, amazing Snow & Ice festival in Harbin, China - Bruges

 

belgium468Passing through Bruges on my way to Damme in July 2013

 

belgium468aThe Belfort (belfry) dominates the Markt, the main square in Bruges

 

belg17The current version of the Belfort dates back to 1822 - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg18A hot air balloon floats past the Belfort - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg27Climb lots and lots of steps for views of Bruges from the Belfort

 

belgium468bGabled buildings, mostly restaurants, line the north side of the Markt - Bruges

 

belg29The historic area of Bruges is a World Heritage Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg40There's loads of chocolate shops in Bruges, several of which produce the confectionery on-site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg52Sculptures made entirely of chocolate, at the Chocolate Museum - Bruges

 

belg45A short walk from the Markt is the Burg, another square in the heart of Bruges. The Stadhuis (Town Hall) is on the left. To the right is the Basilica of the Holy Blood, named after the phial of Jesus' blood that you can lay your hands on inside. Of course it's real!

 

belg44The Burg hosted a cultural musical concert, shown here with the Stadhuis as a backdrop - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg49This bar displays all of Belgium's '780 beers' past and present - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg53Canals weave through most of central Bruges

 

belg58The Belfort rises above the canalside buildings - Bruges

 

belg66There's an endless supply of boats cruising the Bruges canals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg57The canals look very atmospheric at night - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg69Though Bruges became a wealthy commercial outpost over the 12th-15th centuries, most of the buildings in Bruges date to only the 19th and 20th centuries

 

belg68Bruges historic centre

 

belg37The Begijnhof, founded in the 13th century, was home to a community of Catholic women. They are now home to Benedictine nuns - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium471Take a bike ride along the canals and you'll pass several windmills - Bruges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium472None of these windmills were in operation, though maybe they get cranked up at some point in the year - Bruges

 

belg72A canal just across the road from the train station - Bruges

 

belgium998For some reason the Manneken Pis statue is very famous and obligatory on the tourist itinerary - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium997The original is in the Brussels City Museum at Maison du Roi on the Grand Place along with 800 of his costumes. Can't remember which one though! Think it's the one on the right - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium993The Grand Place is surrounded by grandiose buildings. Here the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) is on the left with the guildhalls on the right, on a lovely winter's day - Brussels

 

belg82The ornate guildhalls on the Grand Place, the ground floors of which are now restaurants - Brussels

 

belgium985The 15th century Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) on the Grand Place - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium989At Christmas time the Grand Place is the centre of an excellent sound-and-light show - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium991The focus is the Hotel de Ville but look around and you'll see the show surrounds you - Brussels

 

belgium992From green to blue to red to white, all with accompanying violins - Brussels

 

brussels2The guildhalls of the Grand Place - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg84The Maison du Roi (King's House) is also known as the Breadhouse - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg97Guess the subject of this opera - Brussels

 

belg98St Michael & St Gudula Cathedral, or Brussels Cathedral as I like to call it - Brussels

 

belg99The Parc de Bruxelles is further east of the Grand Place - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belg101The National Palace stands behind the Parc de Bruxelles - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium984Just off the Grand Place is the restaurant-filled Rue des Bouchers - Brussels

 

belgium981Rue des Bouchers opens out into Galeries St Hubert, an arcade of chic (read expensive) shops - Brussels

 

belgium979Like it! Outside a bar opposite the Galeries St Hubert - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium1001One of the most popular bars, for tourists anyway, is the Delirium Bar just off Rue des Bouchers. It has a crazy number of beers from Belgium and around the world - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium999The Manneken Pis is world famous, but this is the lesser known - and more recent - female version, Jeanneke Pis, opposite the Delirium Bar - Brussels

 

brussels35The Atomium is synonymous with Brussels and Belgium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brussels31It was built for the 1958 World Fair and represents an iron molecule expanded 165 billion times - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brussels44It consists of nine spheres, several of which detail the story of Expo'58 - Brussels

 

brussels36The Belgian flag flies above the top sphere, which is linked to the ground floor by a central lift - Brussels

 

brussels52Go to the top sphere for views of the city. And dine in the restaurant while you're at it - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brussels54Escalators link the spheres - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brussels53Looking down from the top sphere of the Atomium - Brussels

 

belgium982The 19th century Palais de Justice law courts was once the world's largest building - Brussels

 

belgium953 To many, Belgium is synonymous with chocolate, beer and Tintin. Plus Jean-Claude van Damme of course - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium946 I can't say I know the comic books but I love street art and murals. This impressive mural is inside Stockel metro station - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium948It features 140 Tintin characters in two murals created by Studio Hergé, stretching 135m each - Brussels

 

belgium954Hergé is the pen-name of cartoonist and Tintin creator, Georges Remi (Hergé are his initials reversed, RG). See his tag here on the Peeping Policeman mural on Rue Haute. See that the wall is now just a facade as the building behind has been demolished. Luckily the mural must be protected! Brussels

 

belgium957 A few metres from the policeman, on Rue des Capucins, 'Life Scene' is one of the murals that comprise the capital's Comic Strip Walk - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium959 ..Plus this one on the same road, with the dome of the Palais de Justice behind - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium960Place du Jeu-de-Balle holds a flea market selling all sorts of useful, and useless, second-hand items - Brussels

 

belgium962Sleeping Pigs is an excellent piece of street art somewhere on/near Rue de Marche au Charbon. It's tagged by Roa who also has a few works in London - Brussels

 

belgium965 Another Hergé mural is on Rue de l'Etuve featuring Tintin, Snowy the dog and Captain Haddock - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium969 'Tibet & Duchateau' is a clever and entertaining mural on Rue de Bon Secours - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium966Sexy mural or just a shop shutter? I typed in the website name and nothing comes back but cool advertising anyway (or it would be if the website worked!) - Brussels

 

belgium973Christmas stalls, complete with ferris wheel , line Place Ste Catherine - Brussels

 

belgium978Scary monster time, or the Funny Christmas Ice Monster to give it its full name - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

belgium974 The last of my street art photos is of 'Manneken Pis Displaced' on Rue de Flandre, near Place Ste Catherine - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brussels13Tervuren, a 20 minute tram ride from Brussels, is home to the Royal Museum for Central Africa. It's built from the proceeds of King Leopold II's personal possession of the time, the Congo Free State, now the DR Congo (and Zaire before that).

 

brussels15King Leopold II caused millions to die in the Congo, in his quest for wealth gained from rubber and ivory - Tervuren

 

brussels17The Arcade du Cinquantenaire was also built by Leopold II using money gained from the Congo - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brussels27The European Parliament is a few minutes walk from the Parc du Cinquantenaire - Brussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brussels28Not sure what this says (joke!). A very long-winded sign at the European Parliament - Brussels

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2016 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

www.visitbelgium.com - the Belgium tourist office

www.visitflanders.com

www.brusselsinternational.be - info on Brussels

www.brussels151.com

www.eurostar.com - Eurostar train from London to Paris, Brussels and more

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 
 
   
 
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