Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Market, Bruges

Fruits and Vegetables are some of my favourite things to photographs. My camera always captures natural colours best.  I was thrilled to find a market set up right in the centre of Bruges (on a wednesday!) selling cheese, meats and every delicious pre-spring fruit. This is also the place to indulge in the infamous French Freedom Belgian Fries. You can buy other foods for a fraction of the price the restaurants make you pay in the centre. 
My goal is to take photographs that look so good, that it makes you want to reach out and grab the fruit :) not sure if I've reached there yet. But I'm trying.

In Bruges!

Let's rewind (again) to the beginning of the month when I was in Belgium for the winter holidays. Bruges is about an hour away from Brussels. The weather was terrible during the week A. Ruiz and I spent in Belgium. However there was one day when the sun came out and that was on the day we spent in Bruges. We stayed at St. Christopher Bauhaus which is a great (and reasonable) hotel situated very close to the centre.
Bruges is really my kind of place. It has really old architecture, great cafés, bookstores, antique stores and there is nothing disturbingly modern about it. We didn't know much about the city and so we spent our one night and two days wandering about the quaint neighbourhoods and taking pictures of the Bruges' treasures, big, small, edible, non edible, sensible, non sensible, etc.
In Bruges, you love the little iron lamps and iron birds on doors.
In Bruges, you love the criss crossed buildings and the town square.
You of course love the castle and the canals, the houses by the canals, the windows on the houses by the canals. In Bruges. 
In Bruges, you can sit in a café and enjoy a Viennese chocolate, you can find French books in old bookstores. You can buy cream filled delights and eat them over "Le Rouge et Le Noir" by one of your favourite authors, Stendhal 

Horses! That's one of the main reason you fell in love with Bruges. Horses that are friendly, horses that are busy, horses that are tired, horses that couldn't care less about you. But handsome horses all the same. In Bruges.

In Bruges' shops, you will find the nicest of things. A curious dog, an antique weighing machine, a hundred jars of tea and your favourite antique, a chandelier!

Ah yes, the colour Red! Your favourite colour to see. You love to see it on the doors, windows and post boxes in Bruges.

Door knobs, keyholes, knockers, lamps, shadows, wreaths and all the little marvels that go unnoticed. But not in Bruges.

I still think about the city. In the remote corners of my minds, I still dream about horse carriages, castles, canals, narrow cobblestone streets and houses with scarlet or sea shade doors. And I know that place is not a dream. It's only a few hours away, safe and sound. Awaiting for me to return. Beautiful Bruges.

Street leading to the centre square.

Street lamps outside the town hall.

     The market place.

One of the many charming horse drawn carriages. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Parisian Dreams.

It takes nearly three hours from your house to Paris. Three hours before you can hug your chéri. Three hours before you can sip the hot cappuccino and bite into the macaron he's holding for you at the train station. Three hours before your world revolves around two people alone. You pass your time by taking in the beautiful sunrise in Normandy. You dream of what new adventure you will have in Paris today. You dream of the tender nothings he'll whisper. You dream of holding hands and walking down the same boulevards your favourite writers did.
You love the precious sunrises, you see them so rarely because you always wake up late. You see the sunrise only on the day you're heading to Paris. You love them. They hold all your Parisian Dreams. 
And indeed you meet another charming and elegant Parisian. 
He's not really easy going, he's classy. Oh those Parisians! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring has sprung!

As cliché as that sounds, Spring has indeed sprung. France is marvellous during Springtime. The weather is perfect, there are flowers everywhere and the French seem a tad happier too. Amen. I have one more month left in Saint Valéry before my work contract expires. I'm sad and happy at the same time. I know I will be devastated to leave my students and this charming place behind. But another part of me wants to move onto bigger and better things. My heart is convinced that Monsieur S is the man if my dreams. He does everything my fairytale prince used to do. Believe it or not, he is the first guy to ever buy me flowers. At 23, that's quite loser-ish to say but I'm thrilled that he's my first :) 
Our weekend was pretty low key. We spent the days exploring the town and were charmed by the flora coming to life all around us. There were so many hues of green and yellow, the entire coast seemed lit up!
We love taking pictures of the sheep in the distance and flowers and ferns whose names we will never know. 
I would love to live on a farm. Just to have a cute labrador, a funny looking goat and two fat horses. 
Yellow and black.
Yellow-ish Green.
Yellow and Black again.
Finally my favourite whites.

Happy Spring Everyone! 


We die. We become a song. 
Or we become a number.
Can we choose how to die?
What will be the perfect way to die ? 
The perfect day to die.
Should we die alone ? 
Should we die together ?
Maybe we can die for our children.
Maybe we can die for our dreams.
Maybe we can die for poetry.
Can we die for love ?
We shouldn’t die for things.
Things are cunning. Things don’t die. We do.
Should we die for religion, for our invisible Gods ?

God ! Should we die waiting for him?

You died. You died for no reason at all.
I’ve closed my eyes. I’m trying to feel your pain. I'm numb.
Does it help ?
Try again!
I’ve closed my eyes. Blocked out the world. Thrown away my cunning things. But I can’t feel enough. I simply can’t feel your pain.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Antwerp is hardly an hour away from Brussels. It's worth spending a day here since the city has so much to offer culturally. When I got off the train in Antwerp, I was blown away by the sheer magnificence of the Centraal Station. It is often called the "Railway Cathedral" and was even voted as Europe's most beautiful station. Undoubtedly, this is my most favourite place to miss a train.
The station was built between 1895 and 1905 by Bruges architect Delascencerie. The interiors of the old dome building are lavish and intricate. Twenty types of marble and stone were used during the construction of this marvel. One felt like a princess. At a train station. 
You will find a beautiful lamp post in front of the station. Take some time to admire the ironwork and lovely wood carvings. 
You will pass pretty nothings on your way to the city centre. Everything is worth a picture.
If you know me personally, you know I have a penchant for old world charm. And nothing is more synonymous with antique glamour than a chandelier. A chandelier can brighten my day without even being lit up.  
The city centre at last! Antwerp is a major shopping hub. People from the Netherlands and all over Belgium come to shop here as well. Don't forget to tilt your head upwards and admire the grandiose architectural framework that now houses every major clothing brand in the world. 
The Stadsfeestzaal: basically means Hall of Festivities. This luxurious Neo-classical monument was originally built in the beginning of the 20th century. After a fire destroyed the building in 2000, it was renovated and reopened in 2007. Today it serves as an upscale shopping center.

If you're a fan of the good life, this is the place to see and be seen. Check out the floating Laurent Perrier champagne bar, which stands in one corner of the structure! Pretty impressive to dine in a champagne glass I suppose!

  I enjoyed just getting lost in Antwerp and appreciating the intricate bells, grilles, wall clocks and frescoes that dress up the city.  

One can never tire of the over fed pigeons and the freckled kids who never tire feeding them. 

The force of Belgium! :D Strangely enough, I didn't try my first waffle in the capital city but right here in Antwerp. Très Délicieux. 

The buildings all over Belgium have one trait in common. They all have a criss crossed design on their façade. I asked my host in Ghent, what the reason was behind this and she said it was a very practical reason. It's meant to stand out but also to keep the snow from accumulating on the rooftop.

Another striking monument in Antwerp is the Cathedral of Our Lady. The cathedral contains many works of the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens. The cathedral charges a very small fee to enter and then you are free to admire these chefs-d'oeuvre for as long as you want. 
The interiors of the cathedral are stunning. Napoleon compared the cathedral to Mechlin lace (an intricate bobbin lace produced in the city of Mechelen, about 20 minutes from Antwerp).
The Cathedral exhibits Rubens' paintings frequently. We were lucky enough to visit when they displayed religious paintings of other Flemish painters alongside Rubens.


I miss beautiful Antwerp, it's compact historical center and losing myself in the medieval streets lined with a mosaic of doors, windows and other illusive charms. :)