November 29, 2012

Facades in Leuven

The white house with the boat on top is the "Schippershuis" and the one to the right of it ''t Oude Woud"  (Old Forest)

wonderful terraces for people watching, relaxing and enjoying a Belgian beer or something equally delicious
"Het Moorinnenken" houses a cafe and restaurant

this building used to be the post office, 
now it is home to the  store " 't Kruidvat"

November 26, 2012

Walking on water

At the Embarcadero in Brussels' Bois de la Cambre, a man in uniform navigates a wooden ferry to bring  customers to the other side of the lake where they can enjoy drinks and dinner at Chalet Robinson.
I thought his picture would look pretty cool on This is Belgium and started chatting with him,  hoping he would approve being photographed as he did.
Suddenly,  two people showed up carrying big white letters J and C.   They had come to illustrate,  in a as literal way as possible,  the Biblical story of Jesus walking on water.

November 24, 2012

Le Coq / De Haan (part 2 of 2)

Second part of my short tour of  the beautiful seaside town Le Coq / De Haan with in picture one the tram station, designed in 1902 by architect G Dhaeyer.

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Day

Saying grace before carving a turkey at Thanksgiving dinner, Pennsylvania, U.S., 1942
Observed by United States
 Puerto Rico
 Norfolk Island
TypeNational, cultural
2012 date
October 8, 2012 (Canada);
November 1, 2012 (Liberia);
November 28, 2012 (Norfolk Island);
November 22, 2012 (USA)

I like to wish the many visitors from overseas who are celebrating today and everyone else who has something to be thankful for, a very  happy thanksgiving!

November 19, 2012

De Haan / Le Coq (1)

Le Coq / De Haan  (meaning rooster) is one of the prettiest towns at the Belgian coast with gorgeous villas all over the place, in the center,  near the board walk and dunes. 
What makes this town special, apart from the fact that Albert Einstein lived there in 1933 and is still honored today as its most famous visitor? Unlike in other Belgian beach towns, here the coastline has retained low-rise architecture and the Belle Epoque style houses are just absolutely stunning. The pink building shown is the town hall. 
More tomorrow, i a the picturesque tram station 
If you like to read more:

November 18, 2012

That time of the year already?

Saint Nicolas/ Sinterklaas is celebrated on December 6 but as the holy man arrived by boat in Antwerp yesterday and as the shop windows display the chocolate version, here he is in plenty of time for everyone to get ready.
"Sinterklaas is an old, good-natured bearded man dressed in a bishop's uniform. He lives in Spain most of the year, but traditionally arrives in the Lower Countries by steam boat....He is accompanied by several black helpers who are all called "Black Pete" ("Zwarte Piet").And then, on Sinterklaas Eve (December 5), children traditionally put their shoes next to the chimney and sing carols. That night, Sinterklaas climbs through every chimney and puts presents next to or in the children's shoes.
In morerecent politically correct times, "Black Pete" has caused a lot of confusion and controversy with foreign tourists unfamiliar with the tradition. Nobody in Belgium or the Netherlands would ever see Zwarte Piet as an African stereotype, but nowadays his dark skin is sometimes explained to children as being a result of the chimney dirt. Thus Zwarte Piet isn't an actual black man, just a person who should wash more often. His threatening image has been downplayed as well. He is no longer a Scary Black Man who wants to punish kids, but a jolly, playful manchild who provides comic relief to the audience".

November 17, 2012

November 15

                                   photos Daniel Ritière
Photographer Daniel Ritière's facebook page lead me this morning to Belgian November 15 celebrations in Lima, Peru. Belgian embassies all over the world celebrate with goodies from home. In Lima,  Belgian chocolates are tastefully spread out over tricolor drapings. 
What exactly is this all about?
"Since 1866 the day has been marked by celebrations in honour of the Belgian monarch. 15 November is the feast of Saint Leopold in the German liturgical calendar, while it is the feast of Saint Albert in the Roman Catholic calendar.Belgium’s first two kings and the country’s fourth King were called Leopold. The third King of the Belgians was called Albert as is the current king. Both Karel Count of Flanders, who took over as Regent at the end of the German occupation in 1944, and the late King Boudewijn kept up the tradition of royal celebrations on 15 November.Initially, it was called 'Day of the Dynasty' or 'Feast of the Dynasty'. However, an official circular issued in 1953 decreed that the correct name for the festivities is 'King’s Day'.Although 15 November is a holiday for civil servants, it isn’t an official public holiday.
15 November is also the annual day of celebration for Belgium’s 70,000-strong German language community."

November 16, 2012

The coast in November

This is what people do in November,  beach- or boardwalk walking, talk, cuistax (derived from the French word "cuisse" meaning thigh,  i.o.w.  a tricycle or quadricycle) , bike .. 
It was not until I got home and looked at the pictures of the day that I recognized the figures in picture 2.

November 14, 2012

In the park, a month and a half later

Not every year on November 14  in Brussels do people enjoy sunshine, biking and ice cream in the Bois de la Cambre.  The couple from October 1, who received so many inspirational comments from all of you, was there again... another bench,  same clothes, sunglasses instead of an umbrella.

November 11, 2012

City bikes

                                         last photo by Chris
City legs  and city birds, lead me today to "city bikes". 
Somehow, in student town Leuven (Louvain), bikes sometimes just happen to end up in the river Dijle. 
I have always known about it but was never able to actually see or photograph the phenomenon until this year because of exceptionally low tide, a consequence of riverbank works.
They must be either stolen bikes, thrown in the river after a short ride by the thief, or the result of student activity... students who might or who might not have had a bit too much Belgian beer.
The environment organization cleans up the river in Leuven twice a year and on the average they come up with 300-500 bikes.

November 08, 2012

November 05, 2012

November 02, 2012

Antwerp as seen by Nuria

with thanks to Nuria Bellido for allowing me to show her photos of  what I believe must be her favorite city in Belgium.

November 01, 2012

All Saints Day

All Saints Day has been celebrated for centuries. It is originally a Roman Catholic tradition and people attended church, walked from the church to the cemetery with the priest saying prayers and blessing the graves. Today  most people still decorate the graves of the loved ones and bring flowers to the cemetery. They also enjoy a family holiday and are happy to have a day off from work or school.