Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scenes (and Chats) of Laeken

Went to Laeken yesterday to tour the cemetery (more on that later...).

Laeken is almost directly north of where we live in St-Gilles and come to find out it's where the Belgian royal family actually lives. (That Royal Palace of Brussels in the center is just a front!  Want to kick it with Fabiola?  Best leg it to Laeken.)

Besides the cemetery (yes, yes... more in a bit!), Laeken is also known for being the location of the royal greenhouses, which from the looks of the photos are probably worth another trip.

A first impression of Laeken was this little boy in a Batman t-shirt helping King Kong to escape from the zoo.  Much better than the painting of a swashbuckler we saw the other day.

Please mind the sign, my coated friend.

 Creepy overgrown statue/carport.

This is the Church of Our Lady of Laeken, which happened to be closed when we popped by.  Boo.  It's a shame because besides being where all of the Belgian monarchy is entombed (I'd like to shake my fist at the tomb of that naughty Leopold II) it was designed by Joseph Poelaert, the architect extraordinaire who also designed the incredible (and sorely ignored, as evidenced by it being "under renovation" since 2003) Palace of Justice in Brussels.

(You're welcome for the link-o-rama!  Bonus points for spotting Melinda in the photo above.)

 Calm down, people;  it's pronounced "fosh."

Sandwiches and frites to steel ourselves for the cemetery.

This couple is quite satisfied with their meal.

 This couple thinks ham sandwiches are funny.

And now, before I show you the beauty that is the cemetery of Laeken, I must introduce you to our feline tour guides, Fatty and Smally.

I'm sure you can figure which is which.

So these cats live in the cemetery and from the looks of Fatty are well-fed.  (We saw the feeding station [a box of "Juliet" brand cat food and crunchers dumped on the ground] by the entrance, but were dismayed to see that someone had also made a poo-poo at the same spot.  Apparently cemetery cats don't mind to shit where they eat.  A breed apart, they are.)  

These kitties are the putative tour guides of the cemetery;  they led us all around.  It made me so happy to wander around with them!  Though when we couldn't find The Thinker they weren't much help...  

 Fatty likes the lovies.

Hangin' out, part 1.

 Hangin' out, part 2.

My little nugget was very happy to spend quality time with Keegan when we got home.  She is very grateful not to have to spend her days in a snowy cemetery.