September 3, 2007

Brussels and Back

27th August – A Bank Holiday in the U.K. – Almost everyone had planned to go on a holiday and last minute plans saw me walking out of the Brussels railway station. Brussels for those who aren’t aware is the Capital of Belgium. It took me a 2 and a half highly boring journey by the Euro rail from London's Waterloo to Brussels’s Midi station. Tintin comics and the famous statue of Mannekin Piss is what comes to mind when one talks about Brussels. The Mannekin piss is a small fountain sculpture depicting a little boy peeing. – Do not ask me why it became so famous.

There is nothing great or overwhelming about Brussels despite it’s much talked about heritage architect. But, interestingly what catches one eye are the comic strips painted across the city walls of the main street which is now the capital of the European commission. From the Belgian ReporterTintin to Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus to many more unknown characters are flashed on the huge walls of the city welcoming tourists.

The Comic Strips play an important role in the cultural history of this city and simultaneously Brussels as a city plays a relevant part in many of these strip cartoons. I was told by the information centre that based on an idea of Michel Van Roye Alderman; responsible for public areas and the environment of the City of Brussels in 1991, the 'strip cartoon’ route was devised by the Belgian Strip Cartoon Centre and the ‘Art Mural’ Association which is responsible for producing and positioning frescoes based on an original drawing by the authors.

There are currently 24 frescoes around the region, as well as a number of statues relating to the world of the strip cartoon. If we add to this the museums, birthplaces of the leading authors and places that have inspired settings, I had the most fascinating walk through the city in quest of ‘bubble’ emotions.

If you are a die hard fan of Tintin then the comic strip museum is worth a visit - which I eventually missed as the museum is closed for the public on Monday. However to my good fortune, the gate keeper was kind enough to let me in and have a quick glance and I took the opportunity to capture some moments of this famous comic within my camera.

Oh and I did not miss the opportunity of getting myself photographed infront of the Mannekin piss. So Alls wells that ends well! Quite a trip it was to the fantasy world and back!

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