Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Days! And Indoor Fun.

It has been neat seeing everyone's East Coast photos of fun in the snow. Not to be left out, I wanted to include our's too. It has snowed every single day for the past 10 days in Brussels. This weather is pretty unusual for the heart of the big city. We are all shivering, yet still smiling. We are still going about business as usual. This day we took the bus out to the Women's Club in the cold. It is a long journey via public transportation, but we were tough and thick-skinned waiting for the bus. The beautiful snow-laden trees were a treat.To stay warm and avoid cabin-fever, we have been on the hunt for good indoor activities in Brussels. We bundled up and briskly walked to the Tours & Taxis building one day to check out the JFK exhibit.We made it there and thawed out at the info desk. That is where we learned someone spontaneously decided to change the exhibit hours to open only after 2 PM. And to not publish it on the website. How very Belgian! The silver lining is we had a blast playing at the Tours & Taxis building. It is a gorgeous, historic civic center of sorts. This way we saved the 10 euros for the JFK ticket (since it was closed) but got to play around for free.What a majestic, magical building! The architect deserves an award for this Tours & Taxis recreation. We were thankful our efforts marching through below freezing temperatures were not in vain! We were successful in seeing the "Son of Heaven" Exhibit at the BOZAR museum in honor of the Europalia China series. Thankfully this one was open at 10 AM.We discovered a lot about China's emperors - their history and culture. While we didn't take the time to read everything with my jumping bean bouncing from place to place, it was a beautiful, thoughtful exhibit rich in tradition, arts, and lore.Our favorite parts were this ancient burial costume (above) made completely of! And then several sculptures of figures doing the "dance of the long sleeves" - as the name implies their sleeves were knee length and they were twirling. There was Chinese music piped into the exhibit so Connor and I broke out into our own "dance of the long sleeves" right there in the gallery, humming along and recreating our own version with our sleeves yanked over our hands. We definitely got some chuckles.

The third new museum discovery we made was the former Coudenburg Palace ruins. They are an enormous maze of underground tunnels right where I have walked daily for over a year. And I never knew they were there! These remains of Charles V's Palace of Brussels are directly underneath the Rue Royale, right near the St. Jacques church and the Museum of Musical Instruments. You enter through the Belvue Museum. We crept into the tunnels and peeked around one corner after another after another. Simply amazing!Here are two historic photos showing the Palace of Brussels as it once was. Funny, I can now make out the pieces that remain above ground today with the Musee des Beaux Arts, Royal Parc, the BIP, and the existing palace.
We have discovered the Scientastic Museum in the Bourse metro station, the Kid's Factory near the Gare de l'Ouest, and the brand new McDonald's playground which resembles a hamster's habitrail. Thank you Brussels for no shortage of indoor activities, but maybe just maybe we could try now for one day of sun and no snow?!? To give us a smidge of hope that Spring will one day come again.

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