Channel tunnel. Easy. Who knew?
We were going acrosss to Bruges to pick up a piece of art we had seen in an expo in Beaugency. Got there, found that we'd arrived on Belgium's national day and everyone was celebrating at a free gig in the main square. Safe to say the night floated away on a sea of beer and music...
Next day we met the artist. He actually lives in the South of France, and promptly invited us to go spend time there with him, so we may well do that sometime. The piece itself is bigger and heavier than either of us recall, so we agreed to leave it in the Belfry until it was time to go. It's called the Faun Venetiane, and is a carved piece of wood with a bronze mask attached, and two old antelope horns given to the artist by his father long ago. Venice and masks and fairies and Africa... It is like a sculpture of our story. Is it beautiful? I think so, in a very Pans Labyrinth sort of way. I am expecting my cleaner to hand in her notice the moment she sees it, because there is no denying it could be seen as sinister to such a Christian soul (she received good news while at my house earlier in the week, and sank to her knees thanking god, full of joy. I wish I believed in anything so passionately) Anyway, the sculpture is still wrapped up because it's mainly wood and until we have a plinth/case/some way of keeping cats off, we need to keep their claws away.
In Bruges we also saw the Dali expo, with many of his sketches and designs...Hmm. In my considered opinion, he wanted more sex than he got. Dali's spurting sketches and floating sky vulvas seem a little desperate and dated - but then they would now, I guess. It never was about him being ahead of his time; he was his own time, and all there was in it. I respect that, though little of the work on display stayed with me.
The city was the star, with more holy iconography adorning walls than I've seen anywhere except the street shrines of Katmandu. Most corners held a statue on the upper walls, modern Maries, classic Maries, renaissance Maries, medieval Maries... On streets named after saints they might get a look in, but Marias were everywhere. There were also many depictions of workers and guilds. I know there is a story there in the little cobbled streets and alleys. Some call it the Venice of the North - then again some say that of Ghent, or Amsterdam - but no, it is not beautiful the way Venice is beautiful. You can still feel the village heart of it and a kind of wit too. Bruges has great prettiness, with maybe a few surprises of its own. Seems to be the way with water cities.