Wed.-Thurs, Sep. 26-27, 2007 - BRUSSELS - Aviation section of Military Museum - Music Instrument Museum - Royal Museums of Fine Arts

After spending several days traveling in France, we needed some non-photo days to recover and do laundry & errands from our home base in Brussels. On Wednesday we walked to a new (for us) part of Etterbeek district to experience shopping in hardware and grocery stores. This giving us a little wider view of this part of the city. With those missions accomplished sans photos, Peg and Keith took some time late in the day to revisit the nearby Military Museum.  Keith's primary interests here were in the early aircraft of the 20th century, especially those maybe used in WWI, as his father served with US Naval Aviation in Brest, France, during that "war to end all wars."  The following day, Thursday, we would venture further out via the Metro underground to the center of Brussels to visit 2 other museums.  This would be more along Peg's cultural interests. 


Coming to the Park Cinquantenaire on Tues. afternoon, Keith is stopped by this lineup of classic cars in front of the Central Archway & between the Auto & Military museums. Wow 4 Buicks, an Olds, 2 Chryslers, & 2 Brits! But the Auto Museum would be delayed for a "boys only" day that never came.

The entrance to the Musée de l'Armée (or Royal Museum of the Armed Forces & Military History) where visitors are greeted by an outside collection of large cannons. Saffron robed monks would not attract our attention during our visits to Thailand, but here on a chilly day checking out cannons..??

We had visited this museum before (See Sep. 9 album), but had run short of time just as we discovered the huge display or aircraft in this huge room devoted to aviation. We would spend all available time in this part of the museum.

After looking over the less photogenic lighter than aircraft (balloons, etc.) section, we moved on to the displays of very well preserved, very antique aircraft. What happened to the rest of the fuselage here? Just too much weight in those early days of aviation.

Early in this visit, Keith discovered his favorite exhibit in an upper gallery corner, the superbly restored "Triplan Battaille." From the very early days of Belgian aviation, this tri-plane was built in 1911. CLICK HERE for our bonus photo of the large picture of this plane hung on the nearby wall.

The 3 wings are fabric covered, most of the fuselage covered with beautiful wood & the cooling radiator (clearly shown here) made of shiny copper. Please visit this Brussels Air Museum Restoration Society's English web page on the restoration of this aircraft.

Hanriot HD-1 (or HD-78?) biplane in foreground; silver Nieuport 23 C.1 in background. Two beautifully preserved early planes.   

A nicely restored Belgian Sopwith F1 Camel. It is said that this is one of only seven "authentic" Sopwith Camels left in the world.  

Of course a DC-3 "Goonie Bird" always catches Keith's eye, as does the Fairchild C-119 "Flying Boxcar" in the background here.

Reminding Keith of some sort of wasp-waisted insect, this Caudron G.III appears somewhat fragile. If interested in old &/or historic aircraft, we recommend the fun graphics & sound on the Brussels Air Museum Foundation (BAMRS) start page, however we were never able to find any additional English language pages. 

At the end our our visit, as staff tries to usher the last patrons out, Keith discovers a 1915 Schreck FBA Type H "flying boat." While not the same as the US planes of his father's experience, it is similar.

Among the last out of the Military Museum this date, we noticed this rather casual military exercise in the  courtyard just outside. Keith thought this must be some sort of student or volunteer group but was told later that this was probably THE Belgian Army.  If that's so, there is no need to fear a military coup anytime soon.

The next morning while reconnoitering a rail site at the Shuman underground metro station, we surfaced in this modern section of the city to determine where we were & saw this familiar donkey & his friend, Juan Valdez of Colombian coffee note. Keith can't resist taking a photo of tourists taking photos...but now on to the center of the city.

Located in what is called the "Upper Town," we return to this building we saw only briefly on our first visit to this area (see earlier photo). This Art Nouveau structure, designed by Belgian architect, Paul Saintenoy, houses the popular Music Instrument Museum (click on tabs for info, virtual tour, etc.). Infrared headphones enable visitors to hear samples of the music at practically all displays.

We were as entranced by the Art Nouveau details almost as much as the fantastic musical instrument collection (with accompanying sound). We found the whole experience very esthetic. In French, the museum is called Musée des Instruments de Musique.  [ Check out this BBC article on the MIM.]

This photo's for you, Kent.  This carved drum is similar to the one you made from a northern California log.  There was a recorded drumming sound accompanying the exhibit.  

Here in one of Europe's major cities, we find carved whistles from our favorite Mexican area -- Colima.  Small world! This is for Project Amigo friends Ted & Susan who live in the state of Colima.

This collection of varied fretted instruments is indicative of the breadth of the world instrument collection at this museum.  They are grouped by instrument type.

Ah yes, the Hardanger fiddle among other stringed instruments of the world.  This is an exquisite example with incredible detailing. The Norwegian ghost of Keith lurks behind.

We pause at the top floor since there is a very nice restaurant & it is lunch time.  This holy looking pose on Keith's part is apropos of nothing. The food & service quite good - A bit crowded at this lunch time, with touring students wandering through to get to the outside view.

On the rooftop, which in only slightly better weather would be a nice outdoor location for lunch or coffee, we can at least enjoy the view. Behind Peg is the Eglise St-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg Church, noted as one of Brussels "prettiest churches."

This view of the city below is framed by the exterior metal design features of our own building. (foreground.) Interesting iron work; interesting garden.

Similar design elements from this window frame an adjacent structure complete with several charming features of its own, including this garret .

This classic art nouveau staircase and lift decor are absolutely beautiful.

A nice view toward the lower town and the Grand Plas. The modern dark sculpture behind the yellow-topped bus rotates slowly with interesting affect.

Keith found this sculpture interesting -An arrangement of life-sized model musicians in the foyer of the Musée Instrumental.   

Peg managed a brief pilgrimage to the Les Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts (or Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium) and her favorite Pieter Bruegel's -- The Fall of Icarus.  

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