18.2.16

Brussels: trains, trams and Magritte, part 2

Day 3 Saturday 6 February: After breakfast at the Train Hostel (the egg could have done with a bit longer), I packed my things and took the 92 tram to Bailli and checked in at the Four Points by Sheraton, a very swanky hotel off the Avenue Louise. I'd been allocated the hotel by lastminute.com top secret deal, and it worked out even cheaper than the hostel! I was on the ground floor in 125.

Magritte's house in Jette
Magritte's flat
 Now, there are two Magritte museums in Brussels and today I was to seek out the one in the suburb of Jette, and luckily the 93 tram went all the way. First I thought I'd walk to the Horta museum nearby, but when I got there late morning I found it didn't open until 2pm! So, I bought a croissant and took the tram to Cimetière de Jette and followed the sign to the Musée René Magritte at 135 Rue Esseghemstraat, arriving as a Spanish couple were outside ringing the doorbell. This house, or rather flat, is where Magritte lived and worked from 1930 to 1954. Coincidentally be died in Schaerbeek!

Magritte's bedroom
Magritte's bedroom
After paying €7.50, we were guided round the ground floor of best front room (very Northern), bedroom and dining room, where he painted every morning then cleared away his things for teatime. There is also a smarter studio (Studio Dongo) in the garden where he did his commercial work. The guide pointed out all the features that appear time and time again in his paintings - the fireplace, the windows, the floorboards, the furniture. After donning overshoes, we were led upstairs to wander round two storeys of fascinating ephemera, minor works and recreated 'lost' paintings (his first London show was bombed!).

Magritte's living room, for best
Magritte's front room, note the 'loco' coming out of the fireplace

Then it was a tram, metro and tram back to the hotel. I fancied some moules frites for supper so wandered over to La Chou de Bruxelles, early to get a seat. It wasn't open yet, so had a beer in a rough pub nearby until 7pm then wandered back to find it was fully booked, and closed on Sunday and Monday! The only eating place I could find on Avenue Louise was Sushi Factory, so I made do with cold sushi and warm miso soup! The chips here are apparently cooked in beef or horse fat anyway! Back at the hotel I had a beer in the bar - Leffe Brune at €4.50 - and retired to watch Casualty.

More photos on Flickr.

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