Day 2: Surrealism and posh shops
My most vivid memory of today was of the teeth chattering cold. It was -8 degrees celsius, and I’m not too proud to say that it was almost unbearable. Today also happened to be the day that I decided to wear tights. Try to imagine how it feels to have just a tiny sliver of fabric separating your legs (or any part of your body, for that matter) from -8 degree cold. It wasn’t pleasant, I can say that much.
When we really couldn’t stand another moment in the frosty air, we ducked into the Avenue Louise arcade in the Upper Town. This lovely little shopping centre had an array of designer names under its belt (Gucci, Versace and so on). It was also, thankfully, nice and warm.
After getting lost attempting to find the Quartier Royale, we eventually found our bearings and stumbled across the Royal Palace and the Parc de Bruxelles (both of which were very regal and lovely). Unfortunately it was so cold that we weren’t willing to stand around and admire the view for that long.
Thankfully, the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique were nearby so we didn’t have to rely on another shopping arcade (or waffle house) for warmth. Brussels has such a huge collection of art that it has a grand total of three museums dedicated to it; together, these museums make up the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique.
After a bit of humming and harring we plumped for the Musée Magritte. Having forgotten to read the bit in the guide book about this particular museum, I wasn’t sure what we were letting ourselves in for.
The museum turned out to be quite interesting. Art’s not really my thing, but I could appreciate (and have a giggle at) the more bizarre paintings Magritte had to offer. My lasting memory of the museum, however, was the way we got there.
We were led into a lift by a guide who told us to turn our attention to a tall, column shaped gap in the wall. When we started moving, a painting of a woman’s feet came into view. The next painting was of her calves, and then there was one of her thighs. As a painting of a giant muff came into view, it took all the willpower in the world not to snigger. There was a painfully trendy French couple on the other side of the lift who clearly weren’t amused.
Of course, we also paid a visit to the Musee de Bande Desinee. Mostly this museum was dedicated to Belgian’s spunky blonde comic book hero, Tintin. There was, however, a whole host of other attractions including a room full of comic strips that had never quite made it to the shelves. One (see right) appeared to be about a killer dolphin named Clint.