Monday, November 28, 2011

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words?

Napoleon Bonaparte once said "Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu'un long discours" or "A good sketch is better than a long speech". This is sometimes translated today as "A picture is worth a thousand words". My photos for The Colors of Brussels, taken with my handy dandy point & shoot Canon, may not be worth a thousand words but I imagine these, below, could certainly start a conversation:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Colorful Marolles

Les Marolles, or Marollen in Dutch, is indeed colorful... it's been said that this district has "welcomed many socially fragile inhabitants" beginning with lepers that were exiled there in the Middle Ages. Later it was situated between two city walls where the working class, mostly weavers and craftsmen, resided. The wall and steep drop between the wealthier Sablon district and Les Marolles didn't stop Ladies of the Night from greeting upper echelon "gentlemen" in the alleys between the two districts. Much of the area was gutted when the Palais de Justice was built in the 19th century. Residents were satisfied when the hated architect of the project, Joseph Poelaert, died in a mental institution in 1879, some say as a result of a curse from a Marolles witch. I recently went on a walking tour of this vibrant area and was struck by the expressive wall and door art, bustling flea market, antique/junk shops on every block, art galleries galore, and multicultural restaurants as well as over 30 city-run cafes where the homeless can have a warm place to eat a good meal.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fall Foliage

This week started with the grayest and gloomiest weather I've experienced since moving to Brussels. I've come to expect the sky to be gray but not the space between the ground and the sky! Yesterday the clouds parted and the bright blue sky made an appearance (along with higher temps)! Whatever the weather has in store, I love the beautiful, picturesque colors of fall. Some trees in my neighborhood are still green while many are brown, seemingly to have skipped the color changing process altogether. Here and there, I've found enormous poplars and maples showing off their bright yellow leaves, green bushes with bits of red peeking out, golden leaves covering the ground, trees with several colors on a single branch and my favorite, beautiful red maple trees!