Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Flanders Field: Battlefields, World War I. Ieper

Ypres (Ieper) Belgium, relief map, salient, WWI

A "salient" juts into enemy territory, making it particularly vulnerable - see the large poking area on the map here. Nearly surrounded. See :// See also //

Here is the relief map of the Salient, the front formed by the British, Canadian, French and Belgian forces, at Ypres, or Ieper, Belgium. It is spelled Ieper on modern maps. Photos and history; and later post here. Photos of the Salient - ttp://

Years of warfare in one place. There were three battles at Ypres - resulting in the town's total destruction. First in 1914, defending against the German push to the sea. Second in 1915, where trenches and gas were used. The area is flat, making trenches imperative. Third in 1917, known as the battle of Passchendaele. In 1918, the Germans were finally pushed back by an offensive at that time.

Newspaper yesterday: young people are not learning the history of the world wars, for lack of school hours and setting other priorities. Teach your own. Find Flanders at

Friday, September 14, 2007

Antwerp: Best Docks Restaurant and Hosts -The "Pan-Earth, All Cuisines"

Bonaparte Dock, Antwerp, Belgium. Pan Earth All Cuisines Host

Art! Food! Conversation! Fufu if you want it! Any culinary tradition, you get it. Feel right at home.

Antwerp, Belgium. Pan Earth All Cuisines Art and Host

A must. The Pan-Earth All Cuisines restaurant. Down by the docks (Bonaparte dok). It is set up to serve the world's merchant marine, read about the world-wide maritime (tanker, and other commercial freight?) fleets and the countries at // Here are the water transportation occupational information: No job security, one voyage at a time, several months each, 4-12 hour shifts. Long time away from family, no healthcare? About 1/2 unionized? See site.

The chef and owner of this fine jewel of a restaurant says he wants to give a taste of home, a little warmth, to the sailors and merchant seamen. The food is not just for the merchant mariners, though. We recommend it to everyone.

The Seamen's Institute is nearby. Here is the work of the Institute in New York, but it appears to be virtually world-wide in offering services and training to seafarers, including those settling in an area. See Search also for the Institute in Newport, RI and Philadelphia. Wikipedia has it starting in Hong Kong. See //'s_Institute.

I was sure I wrote down his name, but I can't find it. He said he can prepare any cuisine worldwide, as requested, from anywhere. Dan ordered steak and mango, and I had African (Congo chicken).

Docks, Antwerp, Belgium. Pan Earth All Cuisines Restaurant, Diners and Hostess. Bonapartedok.

Should have ordered fufu or asked for pounded yam but was too slow to think of it. Rice received and excellent. He said to order the piccadillo next time. Everybody got in the pictures.

He is a fine chef, and the portrait was done by an admiring patron when he opened this restaurant. Go there. Enjoy.

But, remember that the port area has lots of other recreational offerings going on, so expect what you see. People earning a living. We stopped in one place first, then chose to move on. Not that it was not friendly - the people were. But they didn't serve dinner. Fine.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Antwerp: The Water View Floatel. Diamond Princess Flotel.

Where to spend the night, when the cute, smaller places near the old town are full: Try a floatel. A fine vintage one is the Diamond Princess, Bonapartedok, Antwerp. A flotel.

 full size image

Fair use thumbnail from

We stayed in a cabin on a converted Norwegian cruise liner now permanently moored in the docks area, called Bonaparte dok (after Napoleon - looking up what he did here). See the docks area at This may be becoming a museum dock. The ship is the Diamond Princess and it dates from the 1950's. See it at // Breakfast restaurant included. Excellent choice. See

Plan to spend more time in Antwerp than in Brussels. Commercial, like Brussels, and cosmopolitan, but also more walkable, and with active navigation and big castles. Much destroyed in WWII, but also much reconstructed. See Antwerp overview at; and its history at Trabel means travel, if you do a search on that.

Antwerp: Art - Rubens; Medieval Architecture - the Butcher's Hall

Rubens at Antwerp, Belgium1.

Antwerp art: Peter Paul Rubens, painting, see I believe this one was from Antwerp. He of the robust ladies. Do an images search on Rubens. Diets, begone. Far more healthy to balance enjoyment of life's calories, against fashion.

Butcher's Hall, Medieval. Antwerp, Belgium

2. Medieval structures. These . can be huge - and not just the castles. Here is the new Butcher's Hall from 1515 - built then to enlarge the old Butcher's Hall, from the 1200's, both for the Guilds. Each end of the building has a different facade? I do not believe there are two separate halls, just different angles of the one building? See The striping effect of the stone plus the size - Antwerp's glory century.

Antwerp Legends: Brabo and the Flung Hand; Langewapper at Steen

Town Hall, Antwerp, Belgium

1. Antwerp's Stories: Brabo. Here is Town Hall, in the main square or Grote Markt. Look at the left - the statue on one foot like a baseball pitcher. That represents Brabo and the Legend of the Hand.

The fellow is a Roman soldier, Brabo, who saved the day. He chopped off the hand of the giant of those times who was exacting a high priced toll from all comers. The soldier chopped off and flung the hand in the river - and the town adopted the hand as its symbol after that. See Brabo statue write-up at

Langewapper, Steen Castle, Antwerp, Belgium. Clerically abbreviated. Lange Wapper to be imagined.

2. Now meet the Lange Wapper, or Langewapper, the statue in front of Steen Castle - steen meaning stone. The Steen is all that remains of an old citadel, see,_Belgium. What are those people... oh, for heaven's sake! Gone!

One explanation is that Antwerp's 16th Century Jesuits, see site on Jesuits at, objected to the attention given to this gentleman's attributes and ordered the lop. Leaving fertility seekers at a loss. Tut. See The statue is so prominent that anyone would ask. FN1

Many other tourist websites give no whiff of this anatomical background of the statue, pointing only to the quality of the shapeshifter, including from giant to small, or trickster as at See more stories at
Others offer both angles: here is a site supporting the endowment element, as well as the demon or shapeshifter:

See stories about Langewapper at FN 2.
FN 1
Etymology. Wikipedia wants to know the origin of the word "twerp." See

Perhaps Antwerp's clerical cultural bleeping here, as to the hapless partless Langewapper, triggered the pejorative "twerps" as to the censors. For other brilliant speculations about twerps, see; and more on derivations at Following the thought here, perhaps Antwerp's Exuberance Restoration Committee could hold a referendum to reverse the dismemberment after these 400-500 years. Members only. The Mannequin Pis survives in Brussels, after all. See Age discrimination; overzealous culture reframing, leading to dull. See

FN 2
Here is one of the Langewapper stories: it supports the trickster theory, not the accoutrement. It is in Dutch. See See translation, below, from To get your own translation, copy and past it to any other translation service on the net.
This is the fair use translation Babelfish result:

"On a beautiful spring evening were the children still lets play on the stone square, then a visible rich lord came there aanwandelen. He had a large pocket which put full snoep,* all sweet heerlijkheden* which you could consider also but. He distributed them with generous hand to the children, but at the same time walked away he continuously more of the stone square, of keel. He started how longer how more rapidly to run and it was crazy thereby that he distributed more and more snoep. The screaming children continued keep track of him. Eventually were themselves they without them at, already a complete end on the Boomsesteenweg* and suddenly that generous Mr had disappeared, as solved in air. They could hear only spotlach* still its and then knew them that them flies long had followed."

aanwendelen: not found yet
snoep: nibble. See
heerlijkheden: not found yet
Boomsesteenweg: not found yet
spotlach: not found yet
Other Langewapper info - do your own translation of this - is it a story or a comment? I have not done this translation. //

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Antwerp, Diamonds, and Jewish history: Brussels, Antwerp, Other in Belgium

The diamond district is modern, and people look very intent. 

Jewish history in Belgium. The diamond cutters in Antwerp at the outset of WWII were 80% Jewish, leaving the industry decimated and the professionals fleeing to "Cuba, England, Palestine, and the USA." See History of Gem Cutting at They took about 90% of the diamonds with them, to keep them from the Germans.

Short history of the diamond trade. Antwerp was a center since the 1500's, then it deflected to Amsterdam when the Spanish took over Antwerp, then it recouped. See Antwerp was incorporated into the Netherlands in 1815, after the Napoleonic wars. Germans occupied the city during WWI, until 1918.

Any serious visit to Europe, and visiting the sites so meaningful to WWI and WWII, means close contact with Jewish history - Jewish quarters in the towns, many now assimilated into general residence areas for different people, others preserved, some vacant; and the graveyards dating back so far, and with the stones of remembrance on the headstones, frost-heaved ground, old, old trees. For "Belgian Jewish Heritage," see the Belgian Tourist Office site at

In any town, if you do not see it right away, ask for the old Jewish quarter. There is a list of the major museums and synagogues. For non-Jews, there is so much history laid out at the Jewish history sites that it is a good place to start for any overview.
More blogs about Belgium Road Ways.

Belgium - Brussels in the middle of partition discussions. Snails.

Escargots cart, Brussels, Belgium

Have some escargots - snails - from a street vendor in the main square in Brussels. Brussels is an anomaly - located in a Flemish area, but with French speakers. The escargots come in big paper cups with lots of broth and a little plastic fork.

Belgium in the news. Hartford Courant 9/12/07 at A8. About like seeking like. In Belgium, as with other countries gravitating into different corners (the Czech Republic 15 years ago separated from Slovakia; Yugoslavia separated into components Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia), here comes Belgium.

Its language-culture divides into Flanders with the Flemish speakers in the Northern section, bordering with the Netherlands and some of France; and Wallonia with the French-speakers in the Southern section, bordering with a great deal of France, some of Luxembourg, some of Germany and a little of The Netherlands. Brussels, the capital, is in Flanders but is French-speaking.

Belgium is considering options. At least, it is on some tables. Maybe more areas of self-rule will result. The North is more prosperous than the South - some interest in moving health issues, transportation and the justice system out of Brussels and more into each section. Brussels is a thorny issue. Everybody wants snails.

Brussels - Michael Jackson and a great concert venue

Michael Jackson stage set, Brusssels, Belgium. Main square. Concert pending.

A concert with Michael Jackson was pending - lots of construction and scaffolding going up in the square. The relationship has not been all friendly. Michael Jackson was held to have plagiarized a song, written by Belgian twins, in a court case and ruling by a Belgian Court, 9/11/07. See//

Monday, September 10, 2007

Orientation sites, Languages, Cultures

Getting to know Belgium: This describes the languages: ://
  • Dutch, and local variant known as Flemish, is spoken in the north; some 60%
  • German in some eastern areas, 
  • French in the south. // 
  • Walloon - a variant of  French, spoken by Celtic originating people, Protestants, see ://
  • Luxembourgish - some 1%
Walloons were exiled because of their beliefs in the 17th Century, and settled at New Netherlands - now New York, Manhattan, and other places.  See