Day 6- The one with all the art

I took the morning to explore the Kathedral here in Brussels. As it was still early for tourists, I had the whole place to myself for about 20 minutes. It was amazing as I had the time to pray, meditate and just be. Unlike the Antwerp cathedral, which was focused on paintings, this one mainly had art in the form of statues and stone carvings.

I then made my way to the Museum of Contemporary Art (which was having a Kandinsky exhibition) and the attached Magritte Museum. I waited with the local student groups for the museum to open and then grabbed my audio guides and made my way down. Just like the cathedral, having the Kandinsky museum (which I went to first) all to myself was quite nice. Focusing on Kandinsky’s Russian period, got to see his beginnings and early influences as well as his first abstract painting.

There is just something about modern art (which for me is from Impressionism on) that just resonates with me. On this trip, I’ve been fortunate enough to see the early works so many early painters that I enjoy: Van Gogh, Picasso, Miro, Magritte and Kandinsky. People who don’t “get” modern art usually try to pass off their ignorance as opinion by saying things like “Even I could do that”. Really? Then please try!

I wish I had the inspiration and vision to paint like these guys did. And seeing their early work shows how they started off just like anyone else, copying pictures they saw, using local influences and learning theories of colour and perspective. While viewing work of masters like Rembrandt and Rubens, I appreciate the scale and technical mastery they bring to the canvas. When looking at a Van Gogh, I marvel at the emotion it evokes.

I finally get into Luxembourg. This has been the first place on my travels so far where I’ve needed to use one of my second languages (in Belgium, I did speak French but rarely needed to as people switched to English pretty quickly). Here I got to tell the taxi driver where I needed to go and a little bit about life in Canada as well as discussed the weather. Pretty happy with my basic linguistic ability so far.

I’m very impressed with this hostel. The steepness of the roads- not so much. But it does give way to some spectacular views. Which really is a metaphor for life. We rarely get to see exciting sights without taking the trouble to climb, stretch, yearn for something higher.

And unlike my metaphor, I’m not disappointed when I do climb the hill, in search of what lies in the other side as well as food. I finish the day with some reading and an early night.

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