La superbe travail de Hergé!
A simple and fastidious ride on the trains here in Belgium will take you everywhere. They are quiet, clean, and I have found them always on time. We rode to Louvain-La-Neuve where the train stops at UCL – the home of the Musée Hergé – an amazing museum in tribute to an extraordinary artist (one of the greatest of the 20th Century any Belgian will tell you) and one whose oeuvre makes them very proud. The architecture of the building and grounds alone will leave you breathless. Once inside the labyrinthine display areas complete with Beatlejuice-esque, non-adjacent walls and ceilings (see the virtual tour here) you find an extremely detailed showcase of the work of a man whose most popular series “Les Aventures de Tintin” were but one part of the total work output in the life of this fascinating cartoonist. Georges Prosper Remi (Hergé his pen name) was born in May of 1907 in Etterbeek, Belgium. (An interesting aside for me, this is also the train station where I have been taking trains and a few buses all over Brussels and to some outlying areas as it is 4 blocks from where I am staying!)
Today, Hugh and I rode the train 40 minutes outside of Brussels to the lovely city of Ghent where we are staying in one of the many AirBnB residences offered here. As it turns out, there are choices for AirBnB stays all over Belgium and throughout Europe. We had to kill some time to wait for our host whose work day did not end until 5:30, so we were able to stash our overnight luggage in a locker at the train station to walk about some. Once out of the station, we stopped in an instant to notice bicycles everywhere that were lined up next to one another for as far as the eye could see, wrapped around trees and metal bike stands, parked and locked. Everyone is in pretty excellent shape here because they RIDE everywhere. We found ourselves strolling through a huge park right outside the station that was quite lovely, but not before stopping first for some refreshment. The pace in Ghent provides a more suitable vacation vibe; everyone seems to be in a rush-rush in Brussels – not so here. Alas, it’s time to go out again to walk about and look at the lovely Historic City Centre at the confluence of two rivers.
all photos c.2015 Hugh Lovell