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Culture, blisters, more culture and more blisters –  The Brussels Museum Marathon
By Safya Rashwan

After a vibrant night discovering the Brussels jazz scene, I woke up early to meet my fellow bloggers in front of the Museum of the City of Brussels. It was the kick off of a very cultural day.

Sarah Strange showed us two of the masterpieces that the museum held. One of which were the many Manneken-pis statues representing different countries. She closed her tour with a statement that might represent a Brusselaar (or a so called sprout) more than I could imagine. ‘We don’t take life very serious but we take Manneken-pis very serious’.  The tone was set.

Our next stop was the Comic Art Museum. The building, designed by Victor Horta (a name that we would encounter many more times during the marathon), was a masterpiece an sich. Also the art nouveau interior of the museum, was breathtaking. The masterpiece, was a page from the comic book Johan & Pirlouit, “The Magic Flute” drawn by Peyo. What made this page special? It was the very great, but small, Papa Smurf who made his first entrance in the world of comics.
Victor Horta showed up once again when entering Bozar. Already amazed by the beautiful Bozar logo, the building, that held the Centre of Fine Arts, was magnificent. Thus I wasn’t surprised when our five minute grand tour took place in the great hall of the building. The hall reflected Horta’s amazing architecture. The bright daylight that shined through the glass ceiling, made the white hall with its giant columns, marble floor, wide stairs, but modern interior, look very majestic. Sad that there wasn’t more time to explore, we moved on to our next stop.

safya2When entering the Royal Museum of Fine Arts the building was once again very grand and luminous. And walking towards the masterpieces, I noticed the big diversity of the museum. Whereas on the one hand it holds beautiful classic artwork but at the same time exhibits controversial modern pieces. One of which was the collection of cardboards that were used by homeless people of New York to beg for money. The funny and cynical text that was written on the cardboards, held a sad message of poverty. Even though the artwork by Andres Serrano wasn’t a masterpiece, it was one of the cool discoveries that we came upon during the marathon.

After a grand lunch and a little foot massage (I wish!), my physical fitness was put to the test by a long, very long, walk. But the reward was well worth it. We entered the Cinquantenaire Museum, and the few minutes we could spend in this museum were a real teaser. The objects in the Cinquantenaire Museum were mesmerising. Such as the amazing eastern Island statue, and the huge totem pole. Our tour ended with Jérôme dragging me out of a beautiful room that exhibited feather costumes. The sneak preview was very nice and I really need to go back.

I must say that I was a little skeptical when we entered the Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History, since I’m not so interested in “warstuff”. But even bigger was the surprise when we walked into the gigantic hall that was used for the world exhibition in 1958 and was now part of the museum. Airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, name it, they had it. Their masterpiece was a, build in 1912, forty horsepower triplane that was designed by the famous Battaille. The plane, and the surroundings were very impressing. And I felt lucky the marathon led me to this museum. A Must!

Our last stop was the Museum of Ixelles. That holds the Théo Van Rysselberghe masterpiece. The pointillism artwork, put strength to the ‘last but not least’ saying. And so after the quick tour and the ‘thank you’ speeches, we finished our nine-hour marathon with a well deserved glass of wine. The marathon could’ve not ended more perfectly.

All together the marathon was a great succes. It served its purpose by giving me a teaser of all the great Masterpieces that Brussels holds. So if you ever wonder about those beautiful Victor Horta architecture, the Art Nouveau style and the mighty gold and Marble buildings that characterises the Brussels atmosphere so much. Then please just go inside because you will be even more amazed.

I know that I will definitely come back!