It is O’s birthday today and even though he is not too keen on birthday celebrations, I decided to plan for a small birthday lunch with his friends. As our current place is so small the plan was to meet for lunch at the museum BELvue* next to the Palais Royal in town. O and I had discovered this museum in April when we went for a walk in the royal area (Parc Royal (also known as Parc de Bruxelles) and Palais Royal) and since then had been talking about going to the café for lunch and to visit the exhibitions. I had reserved a table for ten in the café Green Kitchen which has a nice terrace in the backyard of the old palace.
Yesterday was a lovely sunny day in Brussels with 26 degrees, unfortunately we woke up to grey skies and rain this morning. One of us was in desperate need for clean clothes… so the birthday boy had to go and do laundry while I tidied up in the flat. Laundry always seems to take longer than expected (as you know we have to go to a laundromat as there is no washing machine in the flat) so we were already late when leaving the house. On the way I said to O that hopefully at least we wouldn’t have any problem finding parking since it was an ugly day and it probably wasn’t very popular to go to the park…
Little did I know that the wide street between the royal park and palace was closed off for a BD (bandes dessinées or comics, that are very popular in Belgium) festival going on right where we were planning to park! While we were desperately trying to find parking in the neighbourhood French S called to tell us that she had a migraine, and her Y had just arrived from Greece an hour before so they had decided to cancel (together with her mother who was visiting from Normandy). Then Indian T called to explain that he and his English wife might not be able to make it as their wallets, phones and keys had been stolen at the gym and they needed to go to the police station. Oh, and Spanish R already rang yesterday to say that he would show up late since his mother was celebrating her birthday today as well.
Fortunately our Irish friends did not cancel and were already waiting for us, at the big table for ten, in an almost empty restaurant… I am sure that if the weather had been better the place would have been full, both indoors and on the terrace! Anyway, the four of us had a nice lunch – the café has a big salad buffet and a few warm options.
Afterwards O and I visited the “Facing Brussels” exhibition with photographs of Brussels and its residents – I loved to see our city from the perspective of 11 different photographers. The rest of the museum we left for another day to see, and we also checked out another museum in the area that we would like to visit soon – the new and very popular Magritte Museum (it was sold-out today)! I think that we will wait though for my sister and her boyfriend to come to visit us as she really likes Magritte’s “Empire of light”. She actually bought that picture as a poster when she and I visited the Brussels Beaux-Arts museum a looong time ago (2003?).
Side entrance to the Musée des Beaux-Arts (the Fine Arts museum) – of course in an Art Nouveau style so popular in Brussels
L’ancien palais du Coudenberg
Speaking of BD / comics, all over Brussels you can find murals painted on the walls of buildings – most of them are taken from famous Belgian comic books. Unfortunately I don’t know where this picture is taken from?
I love how Brussels is such a diverse city! This was a particularly spectacular outfit – the shoes were matching the clothes and the little boy was dressed in a white suit with pointy white shoes!
I can never resist taking photos of deserted alleys in the city, especially when against the light…
Poster for the Belgian EU Presidency. Too bad that the Belgians seem incapable of following the European ideal of unity…
Despite the lunch cancellations and the grey start to the day, the skies cleared up during the afternoon and we enjoyed our walk in the museum district of the city. I don’t think we ever visited any museums in Brussels together before moving to Puerto Rico, but now we have lots of ideas for cultural activities on weekends. And it is perfect if we can combine it with lunch or a coffee in the museum cafés. It’s funny how you sometimes have to leave a place to get inspiration to re-discover it.
*) The title of the post refers to my favourite Agatha Christie book which [nowadays] is called “And then there were none“. The story is that 10 persons are invited to a secluded island and one by one they are killed off by somebody… A classic “who-dunnit” mystery and I have probably read the book 3-4 times and never remember who is the murderer!!
**) The name of the museum is a wordplay of the old name of the palace, l’Hôtel Belle-vue and what it is dedicated to – all things BEL-gian 😉