Monday, June 29, 2020

Day 13--Art & Leuven

We stayed in Brussels in the morning, walking to upper town.


We made our way to the church Notre Dame du Sablon (which was closed yesterday).  We were some of the first in the church, and had to wait for the doors to be unlocked.

There were a couple of images of Mary in a boat, based on a story involving a statue in this church (of course, I failed to get a pictures of that statue).  A woman was given a vision to steal this statue from Antwerp to bring to Brussels (via boat).  When the people noticed it was gone, they gave chase, and Mary in statue form froze them.

We took a quick look in the sculpture garden,

Next up to the big museum, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, which is actually three museums in one. We really blitzed through it (I'll admit, by this point I was really art-ed out). 

We started with the Old Masters Museum.

(Triptych of the Temptations of St. Anthony, c. 1501, Hieronymus Bosch)

(St. Anthony being haunted by demons.  Some of which are fish)

(De Val Van Opstandige Engelen, c.1562, Pieter Bruegel I)

(The Census at Bethlehem, c. 1566, Pieter Bruegel I)

It included a room full of Rubens (and pigs).

(The Death of Marat, c. 1793, Jacques-Louis David)

Next to the Fin-de-Siรจcle Museum, with Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Realists, and Symbolists, and Art Nouveau.

(Portrait of Jenny Montigny, c. 1902, Emile Claus)

(The Dejected Lady, c. 1881, James Ensor)

(The Seine at la Grande-Jatte, c. 1888, Georges Seurat)

(Scenery for the Ballet "La Gamme d'amour", Second Scene: the Market, c. 1912, James Ensor)

(Psyche's Wedding, c.1895, Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones)

(It is pre-Raphaelite, which I love, and was excited to see)

(this was interesting paper cutting)

(Dancing Nymphs, c. 1898, Constant Montald) 

(Acrasia:  The Faerie Queen, c. 1892, Fernand Khnopff)

There was one final museum, Magritte Museum, with modern art, but I don't think we went in there (or I was in an art coma at that point).  It was definitely a worthwhile museum, and it was a bit of a shame I just wasn't in a good place to really appreciate it.  

We headed back down, 

 and walked down to an old glove shop specializing in leather Katherine was excited about in the fancy 19th century gallery we saw yesterday (unfortunately it was closed when we went through yesterday).

While there we figured we would get a snack from one of the chocolate shops of fancy hot chocolate 

and macarons for our trip to Leuven.


Roughly a half-an hour later, we were in Leuven.  It started to shower as we walked up to the Grote Markt (the main square). 

 On the square was the very ornate gothic Town Hall. 

 We also went in the church on the square, although it was undergoing renovation. 

Soon, we were back out, and the weather had let up a little bit.

After lunch on the square 

(I had parsley soup and a small salad) 

we walked down (passing the old market square),

to this town's Groot Begijnhof (founded in the 13th century).

As in the Netherlands, these were places single women lived lay religious lives. This one was like a town in a town, complete with its own church, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist (Church of Sint-Jan de Doper).

The Groot Begijnhof is today owned by the local college, which was our next stop.  

 The university. was burned down by the Germans in world war 1 to much outcry. They received a lot of help to rebuild the building and collection, especially by Americans (led by Herbert Hoover). 

 Sadly, it burnt down again in 1940(ish) and was rebuilt again. 

We went to see the main reading room, which was pretty cool.

Back outside to try and take a couple pictures of the front.

At this point it started pouring, and we walked the long trek back to the station.  Despite the weather, I really enjoyed Leuven.  It was a laidback visit where we mostly just wandered to see the town (and ate of course).  I think I got some interesting pictures because of the wet pavement and ultra-cloudy skies.


One train ride later, we were back in Brussels. After a rest in our hotel to dry out, we went back to that shopping gallery from the 1800s to eat. 

I had vou au vont, a chicken, meatball, mushroom stew in a white butter sauce served in a pastry, with, you guessed it, fries. 

The stew was good! I tried lambic rasberry beer tonight. Not as good as the kriek (cherry lambic beer) from yesterday. I don't think I mentioned it, but lambic beers are a Belgium beer made in and near Brussels.  One type of lambic beer is a fruit lambic beer, which is what i put on my "to try" list for when i got to Brussels.  So far so good (as far as beer goes). 

We went back to the Grand Place for chocolates, and found it more lit up than yesterday.



Every night it has gotten more magical.