Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Brussels for a quick visit (and attempt to speak in French!)

Jacques Brel grafitti?
While it was a whirlwind, I did get a few days in Brussels in November!  
Justices Suzanne Baer and Brenda Hale at the wrap-up

I was there for a really excellent conference on gender and judging.  Marie-Claire and I did our presentation we did was in french.  Yikes!  If you end up really keen, or wanting to hear what happens when I try my french, you can listen to the podcast here: (you will get to hear the beginning where my mike for the translators was too close and all they could hear was my heavy breathing! :-))


Blue skies above Notre-Dame au Sablon
Like I said, a short visit... after two really full days of conference going, I had just one day to reconnect with memories of my year in Belgium!

the Musee des beaux-arts! (Magritte next door)
I got to wander past the Notre Dame au Sablon (where there is a regular flea market)... flashback to the 80s, when Bonnie and I arrived in Brussels, and it was the first thing we really saw.  

Was delighted that I got to see it during one of the very rare moments of blue sky during the visit.

Marie-Claire and I spent a fabulous hour in the Magritte Museum (attached to the Musee des Beaux-Arts.  

I don't remember the Magritte Museum being there back in the 80s...).

After that, we had the chance to catch up with Francoise Tulkens (amazing jurist, on the european court of human rights) and get a tour of the Royal Academy for Science and the Arts.

Our 'magritte-esque' contemplation of Magritte
After that, we were off to spend the better part of the evening with Sophie Moonen (Bonnie and Mary will remember hanging out with her that fabulous weekend in Chicago). 

It was fun getting to see her place post kitchen-reno (which is where she was during the last visit... the ill-fated christmas catastrophes visit! http://carter-johnson.blogspot.ca/2012/01/losing-it-in-belgium-or-real-truth-of.html)

Late night at the Grand Place
grand place
It was after 10pm when we got back to the hotel, but we charged forward nonetheless and wandered down to the grand place.  

RJ and MC resting our sore feet in the pub.
It was a double-duty visit.  I needed to simply walk into the square in order to affirm that I had indeed returned.  I was also under strict instruction to find a pub where I could locate a Stella or Jupiler glasses for Steve!  



  1. Hello,

    Yes, I listened to the broadcast in French, although I do not speak French. Well, I speak a little. I recognize many words, but not when they are strung together in a sentence with other words that I don't know. Just say, I listen and enjoy. The French I speak is mostly non and oui.

    Thanks for the link to the Christmas post of Christmas-Past. I went back to read that as well. Bonnie reminded me a couple of days ago that we are moving into the holiday season, a season well know for its highly stressful conditions. You certainly named them in the "Christmas of Losses" post.

    Thank you for the pictures in your blog. Thinking that I may never get back there (which is probably not true), I study the details of the images. Perhaps it is being thrown back to knowing that I have seen these places in real life? Maybe that is what makes me linger once more on them.

    Good work at bringing home presents to people -- things they really want! That is a hard one.

    Thanks as well for letting me see Sophie, Marie-Claire , you, the Grande Place ... get a flavour of the podium at the conference. Loved it all.

  2. Your post brings back such fond memories. We had some good times in Brussels. Remember how poor you were when you came to Brussels in 1985. Poor in cash but great in experience. Loved your pictures and your scarf.