Sunday, Sep. 30, 2007 - BRUSSELS - Sunday Market, National Botanic Garden, Horta Museum

This would be quite a photogenic day in the city of Brussels.  Outdoor markets usually are ablaze with patterns, colors and interesting views.  This large Sunday market is a favorite of Karen and Patrick and is located around Brussels' Midi-Zuid Train Station.  Patrick would next spend several pleasant hours showing us around a large beautiful botanical park area known as Belgium's National Botanic Garden and located in the Brussels suburb of Meise, north of the centre of Brussels outside of the Outer Ring Road.  This interesting day's touring would end by a visit to the Horta Museum located in the St. Gilles neighborhood.


At the beginning edge of the market (for us) Patrick finds a waffle stand for his mother.  Yumm! These could get habit forming.

Wow! Enough olives to put Corning to shame.  Corning is Keith's hometown and considered an "olive capital" in northern California.

The fruits are too perfect.  This is not a farmer's market but a produce buyer's outlet of sorts.  Household grocery shopping would be different in Brussels. Those used to an everyday supermarket could have the same treat on specific days.

Keith peeks between two gorgeous Middle Eastern chai (tea) kettles.  We had some with some way-too sweet baklava while the guys reminisced about their Beirut trip in 2002

This is a family-run food booth.  We see these folks again in Gent a week later.  They have quite an amazing system and the young man on the right makes some outstanding custom-made wraps.  

The traditional obligatory fish market photo in this case is neither.  But I loved the swordfish head with the speared greenery.  The mouthful was a nice touch too.

This is just one of probably a dozen such areas where plants were available.

How do you decide?  Incredible selection for a fall day.  Where does all this come from? The Bangkok night flower market perhaps? 

I decide on some cut white tulips for Karen altho I am told the grandcat Rufus likes to eat tulips.  Kirk has chosen a yellow orchid plant.

For a change of scenery from the Metro, we were lucky to find this charming tram just outside the market.  It brought us almost to our doorstep.

We begin our time at the National Botanic Garden of Belgium  in the afternoon which rather adds a glow to the already autumn colors that abound.

Entering the spacious park-like grounds from the southerly main entrance, we are quite enamored with the romantic looking castle complete with a spacious moat (or is it a lake?).

Apparently it is rented out for events.  Can you imagine a fairy tale wedding here? Or a required business meeting?

Not your average Cinderella, Keith gets his photo taken anyway. This is Kasteel (Castle) Van Bouchout  & was the home of Queen Charlotte, widow of Emperor Maximillian of Mexico & sister of Leopold II of Belgium for the last 60 years or so of her life.

Peg pauses for this northerly shot of the castle and the castle pond. There were quite a lot of waterfowl this day.

Father and son on a autumn colored walk.

Another red blaze of autumn.

Ok, enough of this taking photos of people taking photos.

We pass through a gate into a walled garden & find this really fun baby plant nursery.  It was mostly sedums -- quite a lot actually & numerous other herbal looking specimens.   

We met this friendly little guy on the (surprise!) butterfly plant.  Or perhaps it was just a plain old purple flower.  Nice color contrast tho - yes?

The Orangery was a great place that invited at least a beer break.  Then there was pie and coffee after that.  

Ok, so we're still (TPOPTP) taking pictures of people taking pictures.  Wonder what it was.

Yet another TPOPTP is Patrick capturing this metal fence on wood -- or is it a wooden fence in metal (the wooden part seemed to be rotting away). 

We approach the glass Plant Palace from the lawn. Thirteen large greenhouses surround twenty-two small collection houses in a complex of 1 hectare.  It was built in 1958 and opened in 1965. 

This is a fun photo of the lily pads as it captures the reflection of the ceiling tracery.

Patrick and Keith across the pond.

And Peg from the other side.

Keith takes a break from the traipsing and finds he's in good company with the bleeding heart plant.

Hmmm a (TPOPTP).  This is a nod to our kiwi daughter-in-law as it is a frond of a fern tree -- something of a national treasure of her home country.

Then there is the tropical timber bamboo. Keith gives a knock. 

This little lady contributed to a nice contemplative place for a bench break.

The cactus room was warm and dry.  Is that a (TPOPTP)?

What?! another (TPOPTP)?  This Dry House has quite a broad collection of cacti and succulents.

Wow!  Here is a gorgeous Ceiba tree from Central America.  The Honduran town, La Ceiba, where we stayed in 2005 was named after this interesting botanical specimen. Keith, having tested them, can vouch that the spikes are super sharp!

Voctor Horta, (1861-1947) Brussels' famed Art Nouveau architect, is featured in the  Horta Museum which is housed in the building that was once his home.

The Art Nouveau style broke with mechanistic industrial styles of the time and created flowing, curvilinear designs of botanical motifs.

The marriage of glass with steel was a mark of Horta's genius.  The period lasted a relatively short time. (1880-1914) & he had moved out of this house by 1919.  

Details such as door hinges and this handle accent the thematic art form.  The museum features the lifestyle of the family rather than focusing on the various works of his career which dot the city and Belgium as a whole.

This light-filled stairwell of the 4 story home was used by the family.  There was separate one for the servants.  The art-nouveau star burned brightly for some dozen years before giving way to art deco. Art Nouveau is particularly well represented in Brussels.

Back to Europe 2007 Index Page

Hit Counter