Saturday, March 29, 2014

Obama watch

Pic of the week

Photo by John Weaver

Belgium was buzzing this week with the visit of Barack Obama, his first visit to the E.U. capital since becoming President. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What’s in a name?

Quirky Belgium

You don't see this every day…

The Travelled Monkey - what's in a name?
Les Noirauds, or Darkies, have been collecting money for children in need since 1876. Photo by John Weaver

Politically correct? No, but that’s not their thing. For more than 130 years, Les Noirauds, or Darkies, have been collecting money for disadvantaged children and children with special needs.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Celebrating Iranian new year in Belgium

Quirky Belgium

The Nowruz, or Persian New Year, festival includes jumping over fire while singing the traditional song Zardi-ye man az to, sorkhi-ye to az man, which literally translates to "My yellowness is yours, your redness is mine," with the figurative message "My pain/sickness for you (the fire), your strength (health) for me." The fire is believed to burn out all the fear (yellowness) in their spirit in preparation for the new year. Photos by John Weaver

Around the world, here in the Northern hemisphere at least, we celebrate the start of spring this week. And with spring comes optimism, or at least a looking forward to warmer, greener, longer days.

But for Iranians it’s even more than that – it’s Nowruz, the Persian New Year. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

St. Catherine juggle

Pic of the week

The Travelled Monkey - St. Catherine juggle
Place St. Catherine, Brussels Photo by John Weaver

It's been a record setting week, with the warmest days on record for mid-March registered in Belgium. Hard to image that a year ago at this time we were sloshing through a foot of snow.

Yesterday (Friday) evening I came across a group of young guys juggling a soccer ball in front of the St. Catherine cathedral. They were cool enough to let me take some pictures and join in on their juggle circle for a bit.


Atheism: a non-prophet organization

Thursday, March 13, 2014

29 classic Flemish expressions

Quirky Belgium

By the Belgian painter Constant Permeke

For the past couple of weeks I've been sitting on my friends' heads, asking them to come up with their favorite expressions in Flemish. The monkey is coming out the sleeve now, as here is what I've compiled.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Double decker

Pic of the week

The Travelled Monkey - Double decker
Old-time double decker bus, London  Photo by John Weaver

I was in London on Thursday for work. It was beautiful outside, but unfortunately I spent most of the day underground in a conference room. I did manage to get out briefly though and snapped this shot on my walk back to St. Pancras station to get the Eurostar.

That's my story. See if you can get the below trivia question…

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Haverwerf, Mechelen

Quirky Belgium

The Travelled Monkey - Haverwerf, Mechelen
Haverwerf, Mechelen  Photo by John Weaver

Mechelen was once a hub for the grain trade in Flanders. These three beautiful houses from the 1500’s and 1600’s sit on the Haverwerf (Oat Yard), where boats carrying grain on the Dijle river tied up when they arrived in Mechelen. 

About the houses...