Thursday, April 26, 2012

Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

The impressive Royal Greenhouses are situated on the beautiful Royal Property of Laeken in northern Brussels. The King and Queen of Belgium are kind enough to open their massive (270,000 sq ft) glass and iron greenhouses to the public for three weeks every year... perfect timing for my mom's recent visit! The complex was commissioned by King Leopold II, designed by Alphonse Balat (Victor Horta's teacher), and built between 1874 and 1895. Meandering along the mile-long path of beautifully landscaped gardens and colorful flora is also an excellent opportunity to admire early Art Nouveau architecture. My mom and I give the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken two (green) thumbs up!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

So Many Museums...

So many museums, so little time! There are over 100 museums in Brussels and, almost nine months in, I've barely made a dent. I should pat myself on the back because I've visited more museums (15 & counting) here than I have in the last 15 years anywhere else! So far, I've really enjoyed my neighborhood's Ixelles Museum, with its current La Belle Époque of Jules Chéret exhibit, and the MIM - Musical Instrument Museum (not to be confused with the MEM - Museum of Erotics & Mythology)! I'll pass on the Sewer Museum and even the Underpants Museum but I can't leave Brussels without visiting the Cocoa & Chocolate Museum or the Museum of the City of Brussels, where many of Manneken Pis' costumes are displayed. The more popular museums feature famous Belgian artists, Belgian history and Belgian beer but you can also find museums for medicinal plants, street lamps, trams, braille, and plastic. The longest titled museum would have to be the Big Royal Oath and Saint Georges of the Crossbowmen of Brussels Museum. There's also the Clockarium, the Experimentarium, the Parliamentarium, the Atomium, and the Aquarium. To impress my visitors, I could take them to the Museum of Fantastic Art and if we're walking down Rue de la Constitution and feeling spontaneous, we might pop into the Spontaneous Art Museum. Like I said... so many museums, so little time!

Ixelles Museum

MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) not to be confused with...

MEM (Museum of Erotics and Mythology)

Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History

Temporary exhibit at Saint-Géry Halls

Colorful wildlife at the Royal Museum for Central Africa

My favorite painting at my neighborhood museum

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Colorful Scarves

Winter, spring, summer, fall, rain, shine, male, female, young, old... everyone here wears scarves! I admit they add protection when it's cold outside but it appears scarves are so fashionably European that they're worn 365 days a year. I'm still getting the hang of this accessory. I've tried to casually drape one over my shoulder (it usually falls off) or around my neck (it looks like I can't breathe) plus it's either too time-consuming or I simply forget. Since scarves seem to be here for good and they're so photogenic, I've decided to dedicate a post to them... and even model a couple, thanks to the helpful video (below)!

Hermes scarf & bangles

My first-day-of-spring purchase

Thanks, Yves, for modeling your colorful scarf for us!

Close-up of "The Toss"

In a hurry? Pre-packaged scarves to go!