Brussels, City of Comic Strips

Not only that it is the capital of Europe for being the seat of the European Union , it also prides itself as the capital of the Comics.  Not that there is a correlation between European policymakers and comic characters, but if you have been a fan of Tintin when you were a little boy (or girl), did you know that Belgium is the birthplace of your heroic reporter who was always trying to save the world?

Aside from Tintin, we can also count many generations of comic strip heroes that originated in Belgium and that’s why the country, particularly its capital, Brussels, is very proud of them that they made them visible to every passing locals and tourists.

Come, join me on a trip to the Comic Strip route of Brussels.

 

Adventures of Tintin

Adventures of Nero

L’Ange De Engel

 

Broussaile and Catherine

Victor Sackville and a friend

Blondin and Cirage’s Life Scene

And of course, our hero – Tintin and his dog, Spirou

Even the locals have developed a comical-mind attitude.

A Glimpse of Britain in a Day

From Calais in the north of France, we crossed the English Channel under the water..
Here shown are vehicles entering the Shuttle train of the Eurotunnel which will convey them to Dover, the south of England terminal.

In England, you can eat breakfast anytime of the day. Yes, including dinnertime!

Any visitor to the UK must try “The Full English” or more commonly called “English Breakfast”.
It comprises these basic components: tomatoes, bacon, egg, mushroom, baked beans and hash browns.

Period buildings converted into apartments

Terraced housing, a result of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century when people flocked to the cities
to look for work and somewhre to live, so housing were put up quickly and as many were built as was possible.

Traces of glorious pasts abound.

Tabloid headline display stands outside a newsagent’s shop.

Old churches turned into mixed-used development.
In Dover, this church tower and its facade is the only structure left after it was bombed in the first World War,
renovated and caught fire in 2007. The land where it stands is now turned into apartments and shops.

Red poppy crowns are common sight on War Memorials in Britain, Every village, town and city has a war memorial
honoring the dead soldiers of WW1 and 2

Omnipresent on the High Street are Charity Shops

An important part of British life is the PUB. This is where the rich and the poor can gather in one place
to drink, eat and socialize. Sadly, more and more traditional pubs are disappearing in favour of development.

Coming from the Mainland where weight is not much of a problem, in Britain, I always get shocked
seeing an alarming number of Obese people walking the streets..

The clocktower of an 18th century paper mill that became a success in its time.
It has closed down a long time ago and awaiting conversion into both residential and business use.

A very English scene: covered wooden gates leading into old churchyards. They are called Lych Gates.

Broken flint stones used in building walls. This is the 12th century Buckland Church of St Andrew in Dover.

Flint stones are found in chalk, such as this one we stumbled upon while walking atop the chalky White Cliffs of Dover

Long been associated with graveyards, the Yew Tree is a symbol of everlasting life and resurrection.
This is the 1,000 year old Buckland Yew that stands next to the Church of St Andrew

The red berries of the Buckland Yew, they may look harmless but the seed is poisonous

The Celtic cross used as gravestone marker is a common feature in old cemeteries

The delightfully fragrant honeysuckle is almost a permanent sight in English gardens

The iconic red telephone box… but they will be phased out soon so go to Britain now and photograph them while they are there

Castles: famous ones or forgotten ruins, occupied or haunted

The Port of Dover is Great Britain’s Gateway to Europe and is recognised as one of the busiest passenger ferry ports in the world.

The best-loved pastime of the British is walking in the countryside

To complement Britain’s love for countryside walking, STILES such as this wooden barrier are installed
in Right of Way easements to prevent farm animals from wandering away.

Wild blackberries are a common feature of British hedgerows and woodlands.

Blueberries is becoming the most popular soft fruit in Britain.

A British icon, the Mini

It is a country where names of streets are as weird as The Butts….Arguments Road…or simply The Street.

 

The British are patriotic, they display their flag design on practically everywhere.

A common sight is the flag of England waving on building facades.
The flag of England together with those of Scotland and Ireland, superimposed together,
form the Union Jack, the national flag of Great Britain.

And oh, another permanent building facade sight is a Security Alarm System (pointing arrow on the left).

The British have a love affair with caravans. It gives them the chance to go on holiday with their
movable home at the first available time off from school or from work.

It’s time to go home, and here is the true star, the White Cliffs of Dover.

A beautiful Sunset viewed from the English Channel to wrap up our trip.

One Summer Night near Cannes

 

Yesterday, we stopped over in Cannes-Mandelieu for the night and thought of going for a walk along the promenade to catch a bit of salty air. The night was so pleasant, everybody was out, tourists here and there, there was a festive atmosphere.

Ahhh.. it’s good to be reminded again how the French spend their summer nights on the beach.

 

Picnicking on the beach is a grand family and social affair for the French..

I thought it was a loo, but on closer look, it is a locker thingie for the swimmers’ valuables!

 

 

 

 

Nearby is a restaurant offering Dine and Dance Night

After one hour, we went back and noticed that the crowd was getting even more heated!

 

A five-star hotel along the promenade..

 

 

A night market was going on, too

 

 

a good opportunity to do some shopping for French Provencal (rustic) goods…

..and having your caricature reproduced on grand format

The warmer South of France is a very popular destination especially for those coming from colder countries.
This is a German-registered Car… “D” for Deutsch (Germany)

 

It was the 4th night after the Super Full Moon display….shame I didn’t have my zoom lens and tripod with me…

In Siracusa, Summer is……

Imagine the constant feeling of holidaying in our own place of residence!

We don’t need to travel far, we don’t have to spend a fortune, a simple drink or even a glorious meal becomes much more enjoyable because it doesn’t cost so much. And the people are just the nicest we have ever met in all our travels. They all have interesting stories to tell! They just love life to the fullest! And it is darn infectious!

We live in paradise…

…the time when pleasure boats are put in the water..

….when the authorities build swimming platforms for the locals to enjoy

..this is another swimming platform we tried yesterday. It’s next to the harbour.

– Are there a lot of fish?
– No, I’m catching some crabs! I’m going to use them for catching octopus! (Then he lead us to his car and showed his catch of crabs.)
– Wow! Are the octopus for your dinner?
– No, I sell them in the market.
– How much do they weigh usually?
– Well, depends on the season. In the winter, the octopus could weigh up to 3 kilos but in the summer, only 300grams,
– How much they sell for?
– Sometimes 30euros for a 3kg octopus…

(Wow! so in this island, you won’t starve, you just have to learn how to fish for food .. or for money!)

– Great catch! How many have you caught so far?
– Two! (and he showed us his bag containing the other fish.)
– Do you fish everyday?
– Yes, every morning! I’m here around 10am.
– How long do you have to wait before you can catch one?
– Four minutes..
– Okay, we’ll be back in four minutes! (Maria joking)

…when every passeggiata hour (evening promenade where the locals parade with their best clothes), even the pets join in the traditional walk..

…. when you have to hydrate yourself due to the heat, so listening to Health Digest’ advice, I’ve been making healthy and refreshing drink every day!

…when evening programs such as this are held very often!

..and jazz concerts

..and other ones that are held in amazing venues.
This one is in Latomia dei Capuccini, the remains of a quarry that was used since 6th century B.C.
to build the homes and monuments of Siracusa.

…. the time to go bar hopping for apperitivi! With lots of them spread all over town, we have to start finding the best spots!

And so far, this is the winner! With all this buffet of fingerfoods plus a drink, it only costs 3euros per person!

…when you make daily afternoon trips to the granita bar…this is Granita di Limone

And ever since I introduced it to H, he has become a convert!

Man #1: I love August!
Man #2: Me too! it’s the only month each year when I am excused to just sit and do nothing and the wifey never complains!

… when the supply and demand of mussels reach unprecedented heights!

….when in the midst of exploring places, we get to stumble upon marvelous spots like this one!
This is like a natural pool, we have to try it!, I cried.
So next week, we are spending the whole day here, can’t wait!

So temptingly good!

….It’s the time when prickly pears start to ripen..

…..when swimming in the sea is paradise, never mind the sunburnt skin..

…..it’s when talented street artists become the center of attraction…

…when stage platforms like the one on the left are built all over the town.
This one in the harbour becomes a hive of (show) activities every weekend nights…