Sunday, March 11, 2007

Brussels and Amsterdam; The Highlights

1) Buying chocolates in Brussels. The woman wore white gloves as I directed her to the little truffles I wanted. She gently packed each one into a big gold box, placing gold squares of tissue between each layer of perfect, smooth, gorgeous pralines.
2) Ogling Pieter Bruegel's "La chute des anges rebelles". A wierder, more fantastic painting, I've never seen. It is filled with bizarre demons and angels with butterfly wings and fish parts, scaley tails, spears and rat tails. Give me a Bruegel nightmare over a Dali "dreamscape" any day of the week.
3) Drinking beer here there and everywhere. Orval still gets our vote for best beer ever. (Eric says it gives him a nice tingly sensation in his toes...that's as good as three Michelin stars in my book.) Plus, you can buy it in the good ol U.S of A.
4) The Headress collection at the Belgian African Museum. There was an amazing crown made all from dog's teeth. They looked like perfect little beads, all facing the same direction, but the jewel was a lone cheetah tooth, jutting out at the very top in a curt little hook.
5)Fried Potato Heaven...Don't dare call them French Fries. The best we've had so far were in Amsterdam and came with little wooden forks. There were a lot of pigeons waiting to swoop if someone was careless enough to drop one. This put a bit of a damper on our enjoyment as I am completely terrified of those little winged rats. But mayonaise quickly helps one get over such trivial phobias.
6) "The Impressario" performed with great skill at the Amsterdam Marrionette Theatre. It was in Dutch, so we missed a lot of the details, but the puppeteering was incredible and the costumes were gorgeous. Lots of silk and embroidery and feathers.
7) Anne Frank's little red plaid diary.
8) Visiting Rembrandt's earliest self portrait at the Rikjs Museum in Amsterdam. It is quite tiny, no more than 8x10 but it demonstrates that playfullness that he never lost, despite all the sucesses and trials of his life.
9) Vermeer's "The Milk Maid" was there too. So incredibly luminous and quiet. It was a pleasure to see it.
10) We saw "The Prestige" and it was terrific. This little movie re-invented the "twist" just when I was totally over it. Plus, its fun to think back on my schoolgirl crush on Christian Bale who sang his heart out in "Newsies". Ah, how far he's come. My crush hasn't really dissipated though. Also, there is lots of cool magic in it. It made me want to read biographies of Houdini and Tesla.

And tommorow...Geneva! Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear miss b,
Had to respond to your post about bruegel. I too,
prefer his fantastic flying daemons and angels to
dali. He seems to be recording something real as
opposed to dali which feels more composed, imagined. I
sense Dali straining a little for material against
bruegel's wealth of figures, writhing, flying,
laughing, biting in a giant orgy of good and evil.
Must be overwhelming in person. I hope to see it
myself some day!
I have part of a wonderful little set of paperbacks
from Rizzoli called Every Painting. Vermeer happens to
be one of those I have, so I looked up the milkmaid
and went through the rest. He loves women, or at least
loves painting their faces. He also loves pearls and I
wonder who owned those HUGE egg shaped pearl drops
that appear over and over.. The color and pattern are
so intense it's better than real life, every square
inch is interesting and necessary. And of course that
wonderful natural "Dutchness" you wrote about comes
through even across the years.
Hope your travel is safe and can't wait to see you at

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