Disembarkment and Brussels

We left the cruising world today. It was an easy exit. Our transportation to the Brussels airport was at 11:30 am, our kind of scheduling. We took the local train from the airport to Brussels and then a taxi to the hotel. The Central Train station was surrounded by a huge bazaar which seemed to be populated by hundreds of Arabs. Brussels is the capital of the European Union, and as such, as a very cosmopolitan atmosphere. But beyond politics it is also where Surrealism and Art Nouveau took root. Unknown to me, the city worships comic strips. Because we arrived on a Sunday, plan to leave on Tuesday, and nearly all the museums are closed on Monday, we immediately hit the road for the Royal Museums of Fine Art. The Museum is a complex that combines the Modern Art Museum and the Ancient Art Museum. Not knowing if we would have a chance to return, and having only about 3 hours before closing, we chose the Ancient collection. We knew there were Bruegels and Boschs there. And, of course a lot of Rubens, favorite son of Belgium. The Rubens room was a Wow experience. I’m not a huge fan but this room was impressive. The paintings were a good 30′ high. The color was high, the movement dynamic. The biggest surprise came on our way out (the closing announcement was being broadcast) when we scooted through some side galleries and stumbled upon David’s The Death of Marat. Oh, and a striking Lucas Cranach’s Adam and Eve. Just a magnificent museum. I’m so glad we rushed over.
We found a restaurant recommended on the NY Times site, Au Vieux Brussels, famous for its mussels. It was in a little old fashioned corner building and packed with locals. We knew it would be good. And it was. Mussels in a cream sauce with lard (bacon) and leaks. Add to that a bottle of Pinot Gris and a bowl of chips for a perfect Brussels evening.

Royal Museum of Fine Arts

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