FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Brussels unpacked

Posted in Belgium, Brussels by folkestonejack on November 27, 2011

My long weekend in Brussels is now all but done. I had vastly underestimated the number of museums in the city and we only managed to see a fraction but this was still quite sufficient to induce information overload after three days. Our trip had taken in the archaeological site of the Coudenberg Palace, BelVUE, the comic strip museum, the Magritte museum, the museum of musical instruments, the Halleport and the museum in the Maison du Roi.

Added to this, we stumbled across a number of monuments and historic buildings that we hadn’t planned to see but couldn’t ignore. The Anglo-Belgian Memorial was one of these – a sight instantly recognisable as the work of Charles Sargeant Jagger and as striking as the other monuments that he designed (such as the GWR war memorial at Paddington, the British Memorial at Nieuwpoort and the Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner). The monument stands in recognition of the support given by the Belgians to British Prisoners of War during the First World War. The nearby monument to the Belgian Infantry outside the Palace of Justice was also quite stunning, though none of the photographs I took in the miserable weather really captured this.

If I had to pick a favourite museum it would be tough. I particularly enjoyed walking around the archaeological site of the Coudenberg Palace as we had the place to ourselves and it was amazing to see the extent of the cellars and sealed off streets that were hidden away beneath the Place Royale. I also loved the art nouveau interior of the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée (Belgian comic strip centre) which was incredibly once just a warehouse. I think it is one of those rare occasions where a building’s new use is actually a better showcase for its splendour than the original purpose.

It wasn’t much of a gastronomic adventure, but I would have to recommend the Horta Brasserie at the Belgian Comic Strip Centre for a tasty lunch and great beer in an amazing setting.

Anyway, all of that is now behind me… a swift return journey on the Eurostar should get me back into London in time for a sunday roast and a return to reality.

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