Thursday, September 27, 2007


I had a wonderful walk at the beach today. It was really windy; good for re-freshening the head! And also the body of those who dared to swim...

I had never seen the water coming as high as it did today. The wind and waves cleared the whole beach of all foot-prints giving it a new beginning.

There were some kite-surfers enjoying the wind and waves. They made some awesome jumps (unfortunately too far away for my camera). These guys must have enjoyed their day to the fullest.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Car-free Sunday in Brussels

The annual car-free Sunday took place this past weekend. It's really good to see how well the rule of no engine vehicles allowed to the city - actually inside the ring! - is respected. All the entrances from the ring highway were closed; no one without a special permit, was allowed in.

The pedestrians, roller-skaters and bikers took over the city. Even during the Xmas shopping time there are not so many people in the streets as there were on Sunday. I took these photos in the center of the city.

We had walk around the Basilique of Kokoelberg, where there is a big Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, and the center of the city. There was a lot going on; in streets corners soft drink companies were distributing cans to everyone who passed by, some chocolate shops were distributing little chocolates, glass bottles with coloured paper messages inside were also given to everyone who cared to carry one (that was done by Passa Porte), a ship with pirattes was lost in the middle of the crowds, TV crews and police men were wandering with the crowds,... it was quite surrealist.

There were many little places to eat and drink. We had some Spanish tapas in Place Ste Catherine and a coffee in one little café. I found this café so nice that I was thinking to come back this week; unfortunately it was 'open' only this weekend, as many other little 'un-official' cafés.

I was thinking of starting roller-skating in order to be ready for next year's car-free Sunday...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Afternoon at the Tervuren park

We spent a wonderful afternoon today in the Tervuren park near the Africa museum. The sun was shining, the trees had started to turn into the autumn colours (already!) and a grey heron was fishing in the little pond. Yes, very idyllic!

...wish it was more often like this in Belgium!...

The above is the famous Africa museum near Brussels. The building itself is magnificient. I've visited the museum many years ago; I should do it again one of these days.

The photo above is the three African warriors looking over the museum and the park.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Praha - Prague

We spent a wonderful weekend in Prague. The city is full of beautiful buildings, lively pubs & restaurants, art, crystals, statues, music,... simply very lively city with a lot of things to do and see.

This book-reading door was very nice. There were many little surprises like this; you just need to keep your eyes open to notice them!

On Saturday night we went to the Opera to see Tosca which was a wonderful experience. Just to be in the opera house was an event. Floria Tosca was played by Anda-Louise Bogza whose voice filled the whole opera hall with such a intense feeling of her pain. Marvellous!

After the opera we went to this famous Kampa Park restaurant to have a dinner. The location (just next to the Charles' bridge!), service and food were perfect! The food is regarded as haut cuisine. The starters we selected were kind of fusion cooking: mix of Japanese sashimi and European flavors. The main dishes were recipes of a 3-star Michelin restaurant. Of course the deserts took our tongues with them... Simply wonderful!

We went up to the Prague TV tower to see the how the city looked from above. There were these baby statues that were crawling up and down along the pillars of the tower. They gave kind of surreal feeling of the whole set-up.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Naginata World Championships 2007

The 4th Naginata World Championships were held yesterday in Brussels. It was quite surprising to see all the different types of competition they have: rhythm naginata, engi and shiai. Naginata is still very young in terms of international competitions: only 12 countries participated in the Championships!

The most different form of naginata was the rhythm naginata. The teams had created their own choreography based on the naginata movements. The jury gave points for musicianship, construction, artistry, content and technique. I took a little video of Japan's performance; they were the 2nd.

Japan took the 1st and 2nd places in the engi competition, as well as in the women's individual competition. Belgium did very well: they won the rhythm naginata and got the 3rd and 4th places in the engi and the 3rd place in women's competition. Congratulations to all!

We couldn't follow the whole day and therefore don't know what happened in the men's individual and team competitions.