Friday, 27 May 2011

Brussels - More from the Grote Markt

 As promised - here we are again in the Grote Markt, the centre of old Brussels.

Lillian : In the last post we concentrated on the Town Hall which is on the Southern side of the square - directly opposite is La Maison du Roi (King's House) aka Het Broodhuis (the Breadhouse).
Audrey : It is between Rue Chair et Pain (street of flesh & bread) & Rue des Harengs (street of herrings) ... sandwich anyone?
Lillian : Perhaps some salade d'harengs - our stylist ate lots of that!   Well here is a photo, The Breadhouse is the pretty grey building ...

Audrey : Yes it is very fancy - there are copper statues along the top and all sorts of stuff.

Lillian : It now houses the Museum of the City of Brussels - well worth a visit.

Audrey : They have all the Manneken-Pis' costumes there.  He is such a Wude Little Boy but he has a lot of clothes.

Lillian : Yes, even Louis XV of France gave the Manneken a suit & gloves in 1698
Audrey : Lillian, those gwoves are a far too big!

Lillian : The rude boy is rather difficult to find and he is quite small, so back to the quite large Grand Square. The Eastern end is all restaurants and bars now - but they were Guild Halls ...

... the one with the gold equestrian statue is called L'Arbe d'Or, it was built by the Brasseurs (brewers).  With the Rounded Roof, Le Cygne, belonged to the Butchers' Guild and both were built in 1698.


Audrey : Le Cygne does have a nice Swan ...

Lillian : More Guild Halls at the other end of the Square -
Audrey :Why is it called a square Lillian?  It is weally more like a wectangle.

Lillian : The sky-line is fabulous  - even at twilight with the sky gone almost white.
Audrey : What are those buildings called?
Lillian : Well, there is a listing of all these buildings on this web site.  The 2nd from the left is called Le Cornet or Den Horen, it was built by Les Bateliers or boatmen.

Audrey : I thought it was Les Fat Lions.
Lillian : Yes, but look at all the other stuff - zoom in - there are men in work clothes ...
Audrey : Ooo the one on the left looks quite handsome.
Lillian : ... and putti blowing - being the wind for the sailing ships ...
Audrey : You mean those babies vomiting gold!
Lillian : and below the balcony - that is all very "marine" ...
Audrey : Oh! those are mer-horses!  Even their front feet are sort of fins.
Lillian : Now look at the gilded things beside the windows - there are ropes, oars, anchors ...
Audrey : You have to look closely at these old buildings.  Bit hard at the time though - they are quite over-whelming!

Lillian : The building to the left of that was our photographer's favourite - it was built by the drapers' guild.
Audrey :  Ooo!  fabric and nice things ...
Lillian :Yes, we've lots of photos of it -

Lillian : On the old buildings in Europe you see lots of half people holding up balconies but the gilded fox over the main door was a surprise.
Audrey : He is why they call this building Le Renard ... here he is with his lovely fluffy tail and behind him a refwecktion - is that the gold man-on-horsey on top of the Bwewer's building?

Lillian : I think so - he is over the other side of the Grote Markt.  Above the fox is a bas relief panel of putti being very industrious.
Audrey : Lots of buildings in Bwussels had hard-working babies on them, I don't think that babies should have to work!
Lillian : It is just decoration Audrey - they are rather cute.
Audrey : And fat!  There were more of those panels of working babies on the drapers' building.

I think these babies are selling / buying nice things like gloves & beads & tassels.

Audrey : But what is going on there Lillian - it looks violent!
Lillian : I think they are fulling - the process of felting up woolen fabric slightly to make it thicker, warmer & shower-proof.
See, the putti on the right is boiling the cloth - then one has twisted some fabric which the other one is ...
Audrey : He is going to hit the baby!

Lillian : Well this panel is non-violent -
Audrey :  Looks like they are busy unfolding all the fabric and making a mess.  Babies like making a mess.

Audrey : Have we told them ALL about the Grote Markt now?  Because I was quite tired after all of those buildings.
Lillian : And hungry ...
Audrey : Oooo I remember now - that ENORMOUS waffle!  And you are always saying that ...

"You should never eat anything larger than your head!"

Monday, 23 May 2011

Brussels - the Grote Markt

Lillian : Here we are in the middle of the Grote Markt in Brussels - I'm sitting down because my feet were very sore.
Audrey : All those Cobbles !  Do you wemember the zebwra crossings?  the white stripes were marble cobbles!!
Lillian : Oh yes - amazing wasn't it.

Lillian : It's sad but our photographer lost all the photos from the 1st five days of our journey -

Audrey : Yes!  A digital thingie happened - and her camera ATE all those photos !  
Lillian : Very sad.  We've no photos of the day-trip to Brugge - such a pretty pretty place ...
Audrey : Bwugge looks just like the pictures in a book of fairy-tales.
Lillian : Well, we spent the last day in Brussels rushing about to get more photos from our favourite places.  Like the Grand Square, or Grote Markt
Audrey : that's a funny name !
Lillian : It is big - or Grand
Audrey : or Grote !
Lillian : Audrey, shhh!    there are very ornamented "wedding cake" buildings all around.  Here we are in front of The Town Hall

Audrey : Parts of the Town Hall were built in the early 1400s - amazing isn't it?
Lillian :  Yes, dates like that are amazing to Australian dolls like us.   Our photographer really liked this building
Audrey :  There were lots of funny people like these, all in a line ...

Lillian :  And Lions by the main entrance.
Audrey : You were very bwave Lillian.
Lillian :  tee hee, I don't think he noticed me, he was very busy holding up that board thing.
Audrey : We got to play at being Sentries - but we didn't have the nice uniforms with lots of gold braid and buttons

Lillian : Maybe next time, we'll have to ask our stylist to make us some uniforms.  I liked these ladies' outfits, especially that amazing head-dress.

Lillian : The Craft Guilds of Brussels built many of the other buildings about the Grote Markt - and I wonder if the Chair-makers paid for this capital ?

Audrey :  And did you notice the chap above all those chairs is playing an early form of 'cello?
Lillian :  Perhaps a viol d'amore?   Like the ones in the wonderful museum of Musical Instruments.  We went there and it was great.  It is in a wonderful Art Nouveau building and they give you head-phones so that when you stand in front of an instrument, you can hear it being played.
Audrey : Yes, that was a gweat place, wonderful to be able to hear all the instwuments - not just look at them.  But, back to the Grote Place Lillian ...

Lillian :  OK.  Our photographer has a bit of a 'thing' for gargoyles
Audrey : Yes I know, have you met her husband?
Lillian : Don't be naughty Audrey.  Gargoyles traditionally serve as rain water-spouts ... like this one on that Town Hall

Audrey :  Well I think he drank far too much black Belgium beer and has a bad hang-over!

This guy is much nicer to look at  - ain't he cute!

Lillian : Oh yes, that's round the corner from the Town Hall, it is a memorial to Karel Buls, he was a Mayor of Brussels.

Lillian : Well, let's leave you with some more photos of The Town Hall - and we'll save the photos of the rest of the buildings in the Grote Markt for our next post.

This is the spire of the Town Hall - with St Michael & Demon on the top.

And a night-time photo.