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-Siècle 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. 

1 comment:

  1. • At the time, it felt like we waited outside that church FOREVERRRRRR waiting for it to open. But it was probably only like five minutes or something.
    • Your church photos are always so lovely and detailed and thoughtful. I feel like I try to take nice photos in the first, oh, ten or so churches that we visit on any given trip, but in the final 50 I'm just like *okay here's my obligatory photo down the center aisle annnnnnd I'm DONE, time to wander aimlessly and/or sit*. AND I ALWAYS REGRET IT LATER when I'm looking at your photos and wondering why I have nothing comparable, LOL. But yet I never learn...
    • Like Photo No. 9, for example. Why don't I have a version of that?!
    • I remember literally nothing about that statue story. Was that in Rick Steves?? In fact, I don't even remember seeing that carving (is it a carving?) of Mary in the boat.
    • That sculpture garden was the most underwhelming, crappy sculpture garden of all time. The water was so stagnant and disgusting, LOL.
    • Sorry that I had a meltdown in the art museum because I was raging at those people who wouldn't move from in front of the Bosch painting to allow me to get a perfectly symmetrical photo because I am insane. Why do you travel with me again? I'm legit the worst.
    • "The Dejected Lady" is #mood literally 100% of the time these days. And James Ensor was that young genius artist who went insane and painted all of that weird disturbing stuff like the two skulls fighting over a piece of herring, which I notice did NOT make the cut for this post, haha. Of course, those were my faves!
    • We did NOT go in the Magritte section of the museum (which was GIGANTIC and cavernous) because I'd already melted down, we were 100% museum-ed out, and we still had a whole daytrip ahead of us. So we basically fled.
    • This fancy glove shop detour was another inefficiency in our route...
    • ...but we did get that fancy hot chocolate we'd been ogling...
    • ...which was definitely not as tasty as the hot chocolate in Bruges, but then let's be real, all hot chocolate for the rest of my life will be a giant disappointment in comparison. At least it was picturesque.
    • When I think about our daytrip to Leuven, the overriding memory is THE RAIN. It literally never stopped raining. It would have been such a cute little town to wander through otherwise. I guess the weather adds ~atmosphere~ to the photos.
    • There was that one cool building though! The main reason that I dragged you there!
    • LOL at our lunch. You had parsley soup and a small salad. I had a GIGANTIC BOWL OF PASTA (but with that fancy asparagus!). And did we not get dessert?!?!? How unlike us (by "us" I mean "me"). Although I guess we had recently indulged in hot chocolate and macarons, but that never stopped us before (and by "us" I again mean "me").
    • Pretty photos of the begijnhof!
    • That walk back to the train station in that GIGANTIC DOWNPOUR experience.
    • Oooh, I really like your evening photos from the shopping gallery place! I don't think I took any nighttime ones. Boo.
    • I'm trying to see what I ordered for dinner in the background of your photo. It's hard to tell, but it looks quiche-y, maybe.
    • I love tonight's series of Grand Place photos. The purply sky turned out really nice.
    • I know it's weird that I remember this given that we went in 10000 different chocolate shops, but I think the shop in Photo No. 99 is where they gave us those free chocolates with the peach filling. I just had a very vivid chocolate flashback, haha.


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