Picture of the Week

2 February 2014

Week 05: Brussels

Filed under: — Administrator @ 21:10

I spent most of the week in Brussels, and even though it was a busy week in terms of work, I was out and about every evening, so there are quite a few photos this time. This week, the images are presented chronologically.

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Sunday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours taking infrared pictures on the beach in El Campello (see them here) and afterwards, I sat down with a pint and enjoyed the sunshine. So did these three little girls:
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5_2
This couple were also enjoying the January weather:
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The garbage strike in Alicante ended at midnight Saturday night, but it took several days to clean up the backlog. As of Tuesday morning, things still looked like this in our neighbourhood:
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On Tuesday evening I flew to Brussels, and Wednesday was spent in meetings from 9 to 17. But afterwards, I had a few hours to walk around before meeting up for dinner with my colleagues. This is the new building of the European Council under construction. For scale, note the welder in the lower right corner:
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5_5
While walking from my last meeting at the Commission to Ixelles, I happened on the street where the Spanish embassy is located. This is the sight that greeted me, and of course I had to investigate. It turned out to be a demonstration against the new, very restrictive abortion law proposed by Spain’s conservative government. They cannot fix the economy, so instead they choose to meddle with women’s bodies:
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I soon found myself in the middle of the crowd:
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This being Brussels, there were signs in Spanish, Dutch, French, German and English:
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Two Spanish ladies; I chatted with them briefly:
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5_9
Torch distribution:
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Pretty face in the crowd:
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5_11
The Cardinal:
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The Anarchist:
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I continued my walk towards Matongé, a largely African neighbourhood in Ixelles which is one of my favourite parts of Brussels:
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A new mural since my last visit to this street in November, honouring the late Nelson Mandela:
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5_15
Window shopping at Campion Photo, the number one used camera shop in Brussels:
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Window shopping at a nearby shop selling various nicknacks:
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An old-style bookshop, Librairie Hankard, on Rue de la Paix. I used to stop in there and buy something from time to time when I lived in Brussels from 1995 to 2000, and I am very happy that it is still around:
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After buying a couple of books and studying them over a beer in a nearby bar, I continued my walk towards the area where I was meeting my colleagues. I crossed the inner ring at Porte de Namur:
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Classy mural on an apartment building near the royal palace:
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I continued towards Place de la Beurse, stopping to enjoy the view from the Jardin du Mont des Arts, with the city hall on Grand Place in the distance:
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Statue, Jardin du Mont des Arts:
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5_22
The city hall as seen through one of the many narrow streets leading to Grand’ Place:
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Another narrow street, with a sign of one of my favourite beers:
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Near la Beurse, this shop shutter caught my eye:
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5_25
Thursday I had to go to Paris for some meetings at the OECD. The high speed train covers the 330 km between Brussels and Paris in 1 hour 20 minutes. I arrived at the Gare du Midi about half an hour before the 8:13 departure, so I had some time to hang around. I have photographed this mural of Belgian comics hero Tintin before, but I keep going back for more, always searching for a better angle or composition:
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This is another place inside the Gare du Midi that I keep going back to:
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5_27
My visit to Paris was all business, so the only pictures I took were a few snaps while walking from the metro station to the OECD headquarters. A restaurant employee (or owner, for all I know) arranging seafood outside:
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5_28
French president Francois Hollande is very unpopular these days, for a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with the poor state of the economy and his clumsy womanizing which is embarrassing even by French standards. A poster advertises a demonstration calling for his resignation:
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5_29
Food delivery truck:
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5_30
In late afternoon, back in Brussels. I stopped to photograph this flower stall just outside the Schuman metro station. The owner came towards me in a rather aggressive manner, asking why I was taking pictures; I explained that I take pictures everywhere I go, and all was fine:
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I continued to my hotel, changed into comfortable clothes, and walked to the apartment of my cousin Nicole, where I was going to have dinner that evening. The walk took me through the magnificent Parc Cinquantennaire:
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I took out my fisheye lens and took a couple of shots of the museum and the triumphal arc:
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Friday was another full day of meetings, but in the evening I was on my own and went back to the Grand’ Place area. I liked this grocery shop and its selection of basic foods:
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Souvenir shop near the Mannekin Pis:
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5_36
Tourists buying Belgian waffles, near the Mannekin Pis:
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5_37
I go to the Mannekin Pis area for two reasons; one of my favourite bars, the Poechenellekelder, is located directly across the street–and I always enjoy photographing the tourists in front of the little peeing boy:
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Quality control:
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5_39
After taking the preceding pictures, I entered the cozy surrounding of the Poechenellekelder and enjoyed a couple of beers. One of the reasons I like this bar are the quirky decorations:
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A couple at the neighbouring table were having an intense conversation:
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Afterwards, I walked to Grand’ Place. This is Brussels city hall, a sight I never tire of:
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Besides the city hall, Grand’ Place is surrounded by beautiful 17th century guild houses:
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Grand’ Place is considered to be the most beautiful square in Europe, and I find it difficult to disagree:
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I then descended to one of my favourite restaurants on Grand’ Place where one can enjoy traditional Belgian dishes such as stoemp and waterzooi:
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Saturday mid-day it was time to fly back home. While walking to the gate at Brussels airport, I whipped out my fisheye lens again, because I thought the departure hall lent itself to the perspective this lens:
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1 Comment »

  1. Hello Nathan! I hope you are doing well.
    Thanks for the recent pictures..they are superb, as always. I really enjoy your tours of Europe…
    And the Grand’ Place IS beautiful.
    Thanks again for posting.
    Best to you,
    Paul Beavin
    Suwanee GA USA

    Comment by Paul — 3 February 2014 @ 15:13

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