Sunday, 9 November 2014

Belgium: Tattie holidays holiday x

Thankfully we no longer have to pick tatties during our Tattie holiday time in Scotland, a two week holiday in October which historically served to ensure a labour force for picking potatoes....

Instead we went on holiday to Belgium to visit Malika's godparents, Pammy and Rob.  They recently moved to the city of Gent to head up a brilliant new wood-fired bakery and restaurant called De Suprette. 

This was our first time to Belgium so we decided to spend a night in Brussels and for old-times sake we stayed at the Scandic Hotel, Brussels, the Scandinavian chain which we often stayed during our time in Finland.

The location was fantastic - just a few minutes walk from the Grand Place and the Central Station but more importantly only a five minute walk from the Belgium Comic Strip Centre which was absolutely awesome!

Belgium of course is the land of Smurfs and Tintin, and the comic centre has a range of permanent exhibitions, illustrated with original artwork and unique objects. Simultaneously, there are also several temporary exhibitions. 
Located in the heart of Brussels, in a majestic Art Nouveau building, created by Victor Horta in 1906, the Belgian Comic Strip Center opened its doors to the public on October 6th 1989. In no time this impressive museum became one of the main attractions of Brussels. Every year more than 200.000 visitors come here to explore  4.200 m² of permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Malika and Ameenah LOVED this place and we could have spent the whole day there drawing, hanging out in the brilliant reading room, playing in the Smurf replica house....and much more
I would come back to Belgium just to visit this comic centre and I can not recommend it highly enough! xx
Portrait of the artist....

And the adjoining restaurant was great...
So much inspiration in the wonderful Art-Deco building x
Simply have to draw...
Would love to have seen more of the 100 years in the Balkans exhibition but the Smurfs won out!
And wow what a drawing of Brussels in the snow...
Smurf Kingdom
 The reading room containing a selection of over 3,000 comics is open to the general public during all opening hours. Here you will also find comics translated into over 36 languages
And then we headed to Gent to see Pammy and Rob...we took the train which was a nightmare....lots of steps to navigate with a buggy is challenging!
And here is Pammy in the kitchen where she spends a LOT of time serving amazing food....Belgium of course is famed for frites and mayonnaise and chocolate but here we ate a lot of incredible sourdough pizza and hazelnut croissants - YUM!

Ultimate Godmother - Pammy!
 I always like to sit outside with the girls.....and I always bring blank drawing pads and pens to keep them entertained x
We loved this mural outside the restaurant!
We spent a morning in the rather odd but quite charming De Site community allotments ...
De Site, Community Allotments, Gent

But my favourite place was the Museum Dr. Guislain, which is a  History of Psychiatry and outsider art museum.
A fascinating museum about the history of psychiatry and mental healthcare. It's an oasis north of the historical center in Belgium's oldest psychiatric hospital (1857). The collections of outsider art or art brut are famous and their temporary exhibitions are intruiging. Easy accessible by tram no four to Rabot.
Wow - this place was great.  Although we didn't actually see the history of psychiatry section as the lady behind the desk told me her children were frightened (and they were older than my girls), there are plenty of other things to see....The grounds alone are fabulous and well worth a visit as is the café with its giant, obscure statues.....and the outsider art section is amazing. 
 I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Drawing, running, chaos
Beautiful building and Belgium's oldest psychiatric clinic

The café is so charming and odd!

And finally.....the streets near Pammy and Rob's apartment and restaurant....I loved the old tiled so beautiful

The Godmother at work....

And Ameenah enjoying a juice break on a brilliant Tattie week trip to Belgium....I would recommend this country to everyone ...charming, odd and full of quirky places to visit off the tourist trail.....hopefully Pammy and Rob will stay a while longer so we can visit again soon! xx

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