Friday, September 23, 2011

If its Tuesday this must be Belgium

I know there was a song by that name and a movie with a similar name but when we were there it was not Tuesday. While in Belgium we covered three places. Bruges, Brussels and Antwerp.

Staying at Antwerp we visited Bruges & Brussels.
But before I talk about these places let me tell you that we had an excellent host at Antwerp. We call him Phanee though that is not his official name. Not only did he see to it that we felt at home, he even cooked for us. The first day he made lovely chicken curry and the next day it was a special type of Andhra fish curry with the right amount of spices. I don’t think I ever had a fish curry like that even in India so I can safely make the statement that the “the best Indian fish curry that I had was in Belgium”
That’s Phanee in a relaxed mood with his lap top

A quick peep into the kitchen to give the final instructions

and with us before he was dashing off to office.

The place was  walking distance from the Antwerp station, the same station where 200 danced to the tune of Do Re Mi about 2 years ago. I loved that video.(can’t believe that they did it with just 2 rehearsals)

The same station was used in Agatha Christie’s movie  The Chocolate Box
Now coming to Bruges, I was not all that impressed with the chocolate factory (choco-story) , and the demonstration of chocolate making that was held there. I found it more interesting to observe the students (or was it a paid batch) trying out various items with chocolate.

There were many items made of chocolate

 and the latest addition was this !
Yes thats a statue of President Obama in chocolate.
I wonder if Obama would head for the chocolate factory or Madam Tussand’s museum (if he was given a choice)

Some lighter moments at the factory.

The best part that we liked in Bruges was the Belgian Navy Band that performed there at the city square on that day. What a treat. I did get a lot of footage of it mainly on video. I have complied one and uploaded on YouTube.

A special mention should be made about Kapelmeester Bjorn Verschoore. (Kapelmeester = Conductor)

He did a wonderful job of not only producing good music with his band, but also made the audience participate and enjoy the whole show.

These pictures show how the audience loved it.

While shooting, wifey wanted to tell me something, not realizing that it was getting captured in the audio part of it. I had to slowly tell her to keep quiet and that too got captured !!

I could have erased it or superimposed the music over it, but then what is the fun if everything is perfect, so I let it remain for posterity. You can hear it at 4.00 mts

I captured this from various spots but the best vantage point was from the back of the stage where I could capture the guy on the drum set (and the Kapelmeester) in full action.

Those of you who want to enjoy it, here it is : 


Christine H. said...

Another lively and colorful post. As always, your posts make me feel as if I had been along for the trip. I am only sad that I didn't get to taste that curry. Your posts are also a very good reminder to me to stop just taking pictures of buildings. The human element is often so much more interesting. Thanks for the armchair adventure.

Harman said...

A very lively post..captured very well
its fun to visit all these places for sure But to share with us all the details are the best of it..
sharing is Caring..
God bless you!

Daisy said...

I enjoyed seeing the places and people that you visited. Great pictures and video! This must have been a fun place to travel to.

Phani said...

There is a book by the name 'Brida ' by Paul Coelho , read it if you can , as most of the avid readers know Coelho writes on subjects that are themes steeped in mysticism, discipleship, and a quest for fulfillment—that are incandescently woven into the fabric of most of his fiction. Why I say the above is I have a strong belief that meeting people is not by sheer accident ,it happens because we are destined to ,or that there is a mystical aspect that pulls people with certain ideas together through c forces that are not as yet defined . Brida is a novel that touches upon this aspect .I always feel that there is a little something of the same material shared by me with my friends. Joe & Marie could be living on planet Venus before coming here ,that's how remotely we knew each other ! Now having grazed the outer circumference of their life orbit I feel that I know them for long . Through them I know that fine lady who lived in Spain till a couple of months back ,now she continues to live in our collective memories , I might even plan to go round to that quaint village in Spain( the same magnetic force I mentioned above might pull me there ).

To welcome wholeheartedly is all I had done ,when my friend and colleague Jacob enquired whether I can play host to the visiting couple from India , I just didn't hesitate for a moment, as if it was just waiting to happen, some appointment that was anyway fixed . Dear Joe & Marie, I hope to rig up many such quickie chicken /fish curries sometime in future . I visualize that there could be some quite place by a river side where I would be doing this , name of the river-could be even 'Schelde' ....Phanee

Indrani said...

Oh! Those chocolate creations are awesome... how can anybody ever eat them?! My eyes were glued there. :)
Great person your friend, I read his comment. I too believe there is a mystical power that pulls people together.

P.N. Subramanian said...

Enjoyed going through your post and pictures. The video too was amusing.

shooting star said...

some nice snapshots of your journey..i likes!!!

Jyoti Mishra said...

looks like u having loads of fun !!

Parthabrata Biswas said...

What a fabulous post! The author's Antwep host is indeed a household name in a limited Indian community in Antwerp, not only for making Andhra Fish Curry but also Chicken Biriyani of the highest order, in the true Hyderabadi tradition. And, of course, to him multitasking comes easy - whether it is in office or at home!

Sovina said...

those monuments are great..seems like you are having a really great time!

Gattina said...

All well known places to me ! I live in Brussels (Waterloo) since 56 years ! Of course I have been often in Antwerp and Bruges you can see if you want on my travel blog here (links in the sidebar)

Jacob said...

A beautiful set of photos...and nice to have someone in town who can cook! I was in the U.S. Navy and remember the band! And the shot of Champs Elysees was great!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joe...lovely post...lovelier pics...and I so agree with your friend and host in Antwerp "Phanee" that there is a mystical force that brings people together whom we have never met before and when we do it seems like it was meant to be....cheers...hug and kiss to Jessie

Jessie Lobo said...

Hi Joe...lovely post...lovelier pics...and I so agree with your friend and host in Antwerp "Phanee" that there is a mystical force that brings people together whom we have never met before and when we do it seems like it was meant to be....cheers...hug and kiss to Jessie

Jackie said...

Hi, thanks for stopping by to look at the trains and castle, apart from the diesels, most trains at Pickering are the old steam engines and carriages, lovingly restored.

I love crepes too, used to have them dusted with confectioners sugar and with a Brandy based liqueur sprinkled over, followed by a big cup of hot chocolate when skating at an open air ice rink in Switzerland years ago.

You both seem to be enjoying your tour of Europe, that looked like a nice comfortable train carriage.

How did you come to choose Haddock as your blog name? That is my favourite fish when eating fish and chips!

Elizabeth said...

Hope you did eat some famous belgium praline bonbons. Have no idea what they are called in english but if you have eaten them you know the divine taste of them!!!!

The video with the music is great, have seen that one already a couple of times.

Anonymous said...

Belgium, and particularly Antwerp, is a very special place and I stayed there for many Tuesdays :-) Antwerp is a city where you can gain weight easily (if you don't ride your bicycle!!) as a result of the great variety of delicious, international restaurants as well as the standard Belgian snack "French fries", although "Belgian fries" is more appropriate, and last but not least the awesome Belgian waffles and chocolates.

I also liked the tasty Belgian beer, all the unique pubs and jazz clubs, the art museums, the diamond district (unfortunately I forgot to bring a bucket and a shovel, lol), and the Antwerp train station, which is one of the most amazing and fascinating railway stations I've ever seen.

BTW, did you also visit the Middelheim Sculpture Garden?