Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Brussels, Ghent, and "The Glass Menagerie"

After a two-month hiatus, during which time I hosted visitors from Belgium, Brazil and Germany, I've traveled again.  Belgium was the first stop for a pleasant 10-day visit, characterized by great autumn weather (mostly sunny blue skies every day).

A day trip to Ghent proved very interesting and charming. Ghent was an important medieval city (the center, that is) with canals, beautifully restored buildings, including the Castle of the Counts. Ghent's new, virtually silent trams snake through the center of town, transporting the crowds to and from the numerous venues, and it's happy outdoor cafes, pubs and restaurants. In many ways, Ghent is more interesting and more appealing than the popular town of Bruges.

Here is the Ghent Castle of the Counts as photographed from the canal boat tour.

Here is the Ghent Castle of the Counts from its ramparts.

This is Ghent's monument to a war actually won by the Belgians !

This is Ghent's Belfry. Luckily there is an elevator to take you most of the way up.

This is one of Ghent's "gondolas," imported (the driver too) from Bangladesh! Yes, the canal water is a little murky.

Expensive dock-side cafes in the sun at the point where the canal tours begin and end.  You can order a tasty lunch for a mere 37 Euros !!

At Brussels, I've been to a couple of museums, walked the City Center numerous times, and especially enjoyed The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History.

The Aeronautic exhibit at the Armed Forces Museum was especially interesting. Here are a few photos of it. This exhibit compares favorably to the outstanding exhibit of airplanes at Seattle's Boeing Field.

One of the highlights of the 10 days in Brussels was attending the opening night of a performance by the ATC of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie."  This event was designed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mr. Williams' birth. It was held in the Studio Theater of the Palais des Beaux-Arts. The performance was excellent, leading to a standing ovation at the end for the 4 actors by the sell-out crowd of 200-300 patrons. An excellent evening it was, though if you know the play (set in St Louis at the end of the 1930's), you understand it is a bit downbeat, though terribly funny at times. It remains one of the finest examples of American play writing.  No photos available, sorry.

More later.

1 comment:

  1. Did you already apply for an EU visa... you are alway around here and, as history teaches, the best way to cope with enemies is to make them friends :-)

    Happy travelling