Friday, November 23, 2007

Performance Art in Brussels (11-23-07)

On my last evening in Brussels, I witnessed one of the most chilling art performances ever: women of all ages wearing wedding dresses, dancing on the Grand' Place in front of the Brussels City Hall.

It was eery; ghostlike figures moving about, some quickly, some dragging their feet, in turn grotesque or gracious...
The Interpretation of Marriage
I approached to get a better view of what they were doing. They were miming various tasks and the impact marriage had on the condition of women, ranging from exaggerated bliss to extreme suffering.

Then the doors to the City Hall were open, and the group went upstairs, followed by the crowd that had been watching their performance.

The interesting thing about the Brussels City Hall is that the room where weddings take place is never open to the public outside of an actual such event, and so this was an exceptional opportunity to see it. Good grief! Gorgeous! And as spectacular as the outside...

The women put on another performance, this time, to beautiful, sad music. It was enchanting.
Inside the Brussels City Hal
Women Faces
With only a few hours before my flight back to the United States, I already felt very homesick for Belgium, even though I was still there.

I reluctantly left after 10 PM, looked once again at the market place, now dark, deserted, and went my way, full of regrets unexpressed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Older Post: Trip to Europe (09-18-07)

Our trip to Europe in a nutshell: it was super-expensive (but fun).
We were limited by time and very strapped for money; it was stressful at times (I ran out of cash after one week, and had to use my credit card for the rest of the trip).
I did much window shopping, since I couldn't afford to buy anything, but I still bought a few good books and some food treats (which have all been eaten...)
We enjoyed the best summer, sunny weather.
We went to see the Grand-Place in Bruxelles. It's still as gloriously luminous as ever.
We went up to the top of the cathedral in Köln (Cologne). I wrote my name in tiny letters over someone else's graffito way up at the top of the tower.
We saw a comic play by Molière in a medieval castle.
We ate well, but got bored at my godmother's.
We had fun at my brother's and sister-in-law's. We drove to a lot of places at breakneck speeds.
We had a family reunion at my aunt's and uncle's. We forgot to take a photo with everyone.
We went to my grand-parents' village, and Valérie saw her great-great-great-grand-parents' tombstone.
Once again, I saw the little staircase my grand-father and I climbed on when we went for a walk to the forest when I was five years old.
I looked in through the windows of the big, gloomy house where I lived when I was eight. It still had the same wallpaper in the entryway as it did back then.
We ate the best french fries in the world, and Valérie rappelled down a cable from the top of the cathedral in Malmédy, Belgium.
We went four days/three nights to Paris, and it wasn't long enough.
I love Paris. Every time I go, there is something new about it.
We walked all over Paris, looking for lavender ice cream, but didn't find any. But we found some pretty good places for gelato.
We went up the towers of Notre-Dame and touched the gargoyles.
Valérie wanted to see the catacombs and the sewers, so we did. It was sad and smelly, in that order.
We went to see Monet's garden in Giverny. Much adventures ensued, including an arduous 45 minute-long walk along a busy highway, in the Normandy countryside under a hot blazing sun...
We almost missed our train out of Paris, because we went to the wrong train station (Gare du Nord), and had to run with our bags all the way to the right station (Gare de l'Est), and barely made it.
We went on the TGV from Paris to Luxembourg.
On the way back, we experienced long, unexplained delays at airports, poor service from rude Continental airlines employees, etc. We waited in endless lines for hours, got stranded in Newark for one night, and had to drag our luggage from airport to hotel and back again. (What a drag to get home under these circumstances...)