Monday, June 05, 2006


The music continues...
Old England is the site of Brussels' Museum of Musical Instruments. A very clever idea, nicely carried out.

When you pay your entrance fee, you get a set of these nifty headphones. Then there are different levels to the museum; for example, the first floor (second floor for Americans) is dedicated to folk instruments from around the world. I saw some of the instruments I played when I was in Japanese Gagaku Ensemble at UCLA! Very cool... but the coolest thing is that when you walk close to the instruments the music of that particular instrument automatically begins to play in the headphones. You had to stand in certain spots to get it really clear of static, but it was still really great.

Piano--the second floor (3rd in USA) was a display of Western instruments; the next floor was strings and keys (piano type things).

Some of the exhibited items are probably priceless, one-of-a kind items, like this piano--a real work of art. And apparently needing two people to play it??

I don't know...Accordion?? Harpsichord? It's beautiful either way.

REALLY gorgeous guitars!! Made me want to go to Spain or something--right away!

On the top floor of the building is a restaurant where I was able to give the headphones a rest...
have a lovely meal....
and enjoy this view. =) Hmmmm...

When I first arrived, I knew right away I had picked a good hotel. The right one for me and my tastes anyway. =)
And this is my neighborhood (around the corner).

Notre Dame-like Cathedral. It's right next to the square, above.

Another cathedral I saw as I toured around the city.

Pissing boy

Pissing girl

What's the obsession with the peeing??? Something to do with all the beer they make in Belgium?? But that's not for little boys and girls, so...anyway, everybody comes to have a look at these statues--including me!

Delirium Tremors--a pub with 2500 different beers!! They don't always have them all (difficult logistics) but they promise to always--ALWAYS-- have at least 2004 beers available. I had one. One glass of one beer; it was an apple one. I meant to try a chocolate one, but I forgot, paid for my beer, and left. Oh well, maybe next time. Something to save for later--chocolate beer!!

Atomium--built for a World Expo and left afterward, mush like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Y shirt--THIS was pretty cool. One of the Servas members I met in Brussels is a fashion designer. I passed by her shop as I was out walking and met her. Aleksandra. She's originally from Poland, but Brussels is now her home. Anyway, she designed a new kind of shirt. Instead of a T-Shirt, it is a Y-Shirt. It's a happy t-shirt, arms up in celebration and triumph. This particular package contains a shirt for a mother and a child ( a girl, I suppose?). It is a celebration of solo parenting. She got the idea--the inspiration--when thinking about all of her friends who divorced. Why, she wondered, is a divorce not an occasion as well as a wedding (or a birthday, etc.)? Why do people go through divorce alone? With a little attitude shift, it could be an occasion for gathering as well as anything else--or even an occasion for celebrating. In any case, it is nothing shameful that has to be "suffered" through alone. At the very least, people probably need the support. I like people who think "outside the box." It was a nifty idea. I bought myself a shirt--just a grownup one. They come individually as well. =)

Europarl--In case you didn't know, Brussels is the "capital" of Europe. It's the headquarters of the European Union (EU). This is the EU Parliament building.

A sign in a window. There are a lot of cool EU signs around Brussels. I believe they are very proud to be the home of the EU. Go Brussels!

Comic statue. OK, so I decided to go and visit the Comic Museum, and I was looking at the map, trying to figure out which street to turn on. HERE was this big statue of a cartoon-type figure. Do you think I turned here??? Noooooooo. Did I see it as a clue??? Noooooo. I swear! I had the hardest time with the map in Brussels! I got turned around (temporarily) more times than I EVER have in ANY city. I really don't get it. But anyway I made it to the museum...Apparently, Belgium is a comic leader in the world.

Did you know that the Smurfs are a Belgian creation?

And Tintin? I must admit that i don't know much about Tintin. I had heard of it, but never read it or watched it really. It was kind of hard for me to "get into" this museum. I have never read more than a few comic books in my life. Have always preferred regular books, I guess. And inside...since it is in's all in French or Dutch (Flemish). I couldn't read anything. And would I have if I could have?? They gave me some kind of book...I don't remember what was in it. =)

But they had some nice ice cream in the cafeteria! =)

Fountain man. Some people say Brussels is boring, but it could be that they are projecting. I found the center to be bustling with energy--as much as any other city I have visited in Europe (except maybe London). It was cute, charming. The beer is flowing, the food is good...if you go with some fun friends, I don't see why you couldn't have a blast here. It was somewhat daunting to be doing everything on my own, but that's the same everywhere. I quite liked Brussels. I would come again.



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