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belgium archives








i had an idea about lightening a photo so the object itself almost disappeared in to the background as below.  nice to contrast this to the version above.


mannquin pis is a long time friend of funkypancake (i'd suggest you'd look in the categories archive, but they are rather deaded at the moment)

as usual people gathered to photograph the spectacle of a weeing statue


and there's a classic collection of mannequin pis related paraphenalia


but watch out for the camera security


not sure if you noticed, but the blog has been on auto for the last week as i've been off to brussels for a conference.  here's toby my work colleague on the eurostar on the way back.  expect plenty of belgiumy pics over the next few days (or months knowing my up to date-ness)


here's the new st pancras eurostar station which is nice



i've reported on the mannequin pis a number of times, but i can't remember him ever having a fancy window display showing a replica of himself all lit up next to him. he's just becoming so touristy.


this sign just about summed up my trip to brussels. i think the chap here is holding a big pile of chips. either that or his posterior has exploded.




the chap sitting next to me on the eurostar was about the same age as me (ie 400 months old tomorrow) and he put a giant pair of headphones on, plugged in his giant portable cd player and played load music. despite looking very uncool the music he was playing can only be described as 'light vocal'.

i did notice when he changed the CD that he was listening to two rick astley CDs, both of which were signed !


after checking in to my hotel i went out for a meal in a restaurant and the person next to me left her magazine behind. being on my own i decided to read it (it was in french). i managed to understand most of this article on hemorrhoids, and there was also an article on constipation, so all based were covered. haemorrhoids are the third most common belgian ailment you know ?


if you go to ghent you must go to the design museum. it's very good. they had an exhibition on the history of commercial aviation, flying in airplanes to you and me, which was very amusing.

there were quite a few things for kids to do, including looking for Playmobile people hidden in the exhibits. one playmobile chap was sitting in an ornate lampshade thing which was their pride and joy.

you don't get such frivolity and enjoyment in a National Trust property. or at least not deliberately.

the other museum you should go to is the mental one

It's the mannequin pis again

it rains a lot in belgium. i noticed that. even as an englishman. here's the view of a church from our hotel window


here's that church i took a picture of last week in Belgium.

i took this photo when i visited at the beginning of September.




photo taking in front of brussels' lucky statue is very popular:

see how it's been worn to a shiny smoothness:

just before i saw the glove i took a proper tourist picture. i like the bear bulb effect.


brussel's always seems to have something exciting going on in their grand-place when i come a visiting.

the whole of this month it's done up like a winter wonderland with some very eeery music and fancy light show.


here a dark little video containing the scarey soundtrack of kids giggling:
Download movie (480KB)

there was a life sized stable with real sheep in the middle of the square too:

here is a self portrait of me in the chapel in my beligish hotel a while back. it was set up for a wedding and looked mighty fine.


(you know what, this doesn't really look like me ! i set this to auto-update but i must have put the wrong photo in. never mind, this looks better than me. although the hotel chapel did look very pretty dressed up for the wedding)

more belgian gents facilities. it's great how they've all been painted to liven them up and make them standout.

this one had elvis on it:

this one had some strange animals going mad:

and how's this for a modern one in brussels ? i think it's only for blokes, but i guess ladies could use it too. just not quite as privately:

on my recent trip to Beligium i had one afternoon free to do the tourist thing. so i went to a mental asylum. for most of the time i was the only one there, except for some very strange man who was looking very suspicious (and acting even more so, but not in a way i can retell on this blog!).

anyroadupdown, it was a museum, but i think partially a working one. it's an amazing place and definately worth a visit. visit their website for more info

this was one of my favouritist exhibits. click for a big version. it's just so extreme !


the day i went to brussels was liberation day. the grande place was full of pretend GIs smoking cigars pretending to be Colonel Mustard from the A-team (might have got my reference wrong here).

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there were marching bands and a strange mix of old and new law enforcement:

this was a british band who seemed a bit worn out from all the blowing and marching they'd had to do in the name of liberation.

belgian is the country of cartoons so it was no surprise to see that this was the medium used to describe the serious process of smashing a window to escape from a bus in an emergency.



the famous belgian statue. nearby was one of those comedy tourist things where you can pop your head through for a comedy photo opportunity.

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a few streets away is the girl version. not quite as dignified as the small chap:



i'm back home now. i tried to change my eurostar ticket to come back 8 hours earlier but they wouldn't let me even though the 10am train was quite empty and my 6pm train was quite full. my fault for saving my company money by buying the cheapest ticket !

when i woke up this morning i decided i'd rather spend the day with my family than doing more sightseeing, but it wasn't to be. so, expect lots of photos of brussels (and a few more from Ghent) over the next few days.

i had my lunch this afternoon in a park in brussels. i very carefully ordered ham and chips from the menu. but ended up with papprika flavoured crisps and cheese on cocktail sticks. cheese is quite a challenge for a non milk consumer such as i myself am [was that a proper sentence ?].

i think this is what happens after 5 days with an average of 5 hours sleep/night. oh well.

best get to bed as in 7 hours time i need to get up for another week of work ... and the nights/mornings are getting dark. ho hum.


there's a music fair going on at the moment in ghent with all sorts of side entertainments. one group of entertainments had obviously finished work and had gone in to a bar leaving their instruments and heads in the street.


it seems shoes are the gloves of belgium.

click to inspect



Light bulbs and boxes of plasters:

and a baby statue:

did you know that ghent has its own version of manequin pis ? i didn't. but here he is. i'll go in search of the actual one on sunday for you.



before sunset:

and later on with a chap demonstrating fire:
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but look behind the food tables and what do we see ? all the music and the authentic medieval fine wine and modern lager. we weren't actually transported through time after all:

Ghent has canals all over the place so there's loads of lovely reflections everywhere. but here's a nice shadow.


Ghent has got loads of towers, three of which are in a row. i spotted two of them reflected in this traffic mirror with the other one in front.

and this one is just of the other one with the sun going down.

the conference organisers organised (!) a trip to Ghent city hall last night. this included a neat guided tour behind the scenes.

here is the city crest and a statue of someone wearing glasses

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and here is the royal 'thrown' in the thrown room. i guess the relevant dignatory wouldn't have used it with his subjects watching. but it was cunningly disguised as padded stool. it's a stool for stools:

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click for bigger


i'm staying in an old monastry. i thought it'd be all churchy, but the bit i'm in is a mid-70s annex so not quite as nice. however, it is a massive room with a ceiling higher than the room is wide.

and it's got its own kitchen. this is the first hotel i've stayed in where they give you a cooking hob, pans and washing up sink.

they also denied they had any Internet access, saying i needed to use the phone line. but then i had a wifi snoop and found this a free spot.

lucky us - that means fresh content for all !