Brussels – Le grand finale
After Antwerp, we went to Brussels for a few days. Whilst there we saw the main attractions: the Grand Place, Le Mannekin Pis and Le Palais de Justice. We walk a lot when we visit cities on holiday, but sometimes we take the touristy open-top bus tours; you get a view from a different perspective, sitting on the top deck – take suncream – there’s no shade up there! And following the tour, we now have a list of places to visit one day, hopefully soon.
Whilst Mr BK visited the Le Musee des Brasseurs Belges (Museum of the Belgium Brewers) I visited the Musee du Costume et de la Dentelle (Museum of Costume and Lace). The current exhibition, “Glamour, 30’s Fashion Expo” was really interesting, covering dresses for a variety of events. It was nice to see some knitwear included as well as children’s clothes. The lace collection was stunning and there was a display illustrating different techniques. Most of my photos were blurred (dim lighting and no flash) and my French was not up to the technical information, so I realising how little I knew about bobbin and needlelace, I bought myself a souvenir.
There is a lot of Art Nouveau architecture in Brussels, which we admired as we walked around.
Victor Horta was one of the leading Art Nouveau designers in Brussels and the Musee Horta, Musee Horta – his house and studio, is a delight to visit. Strictly, no photos, so cue another holiday souvenir!
Walking back we saw an art shop with an eye-catching display demonstrating the translucency and opaqueness of different pigments; my drawing tutor would love this!
Looking from above
The open-top bus in Brussels took us to the Atomium; this is 1950s modernist architecture, so very different from Art Nouveau. It was built for the World Fair in 1958 (similar to the Festival of Britain); some of the other pavilions are still standing. You can see these and as well as views right across the city and beyond from the top sphere. For someone who has a poor record of going up towers (having to come back down before the top is reached) the lift which took 20 seconds to go to the top (102 m) was wonderful.
There are exhibitions about the 1958 World Fair, the Atomium, and the 1950s in some of the other spheres (about three stories high). In another sphere, we were mesmerised by the light and sound installation.
The open-top bus also took us to the “European area” where we saw contemporary architecture. There were lots of buildings covered in glass, which gave rise to interesting reflections of other buildings.
This building caught my eye; I’m not sure if it’s finished or not, or its purpose, but the windows are unusual – who knows they might inspire a knitwear design!
We really enjoyed our time in Brussels and hopefully, we shall return one day to see more.