Red nose days in Brussels

I have  written about Red Nose Days in Paris but I was not expecting to write one for Brussels until today when H and I went for our Sunday walk around Place du Luxembourg and noticed some statues wearing those clown noses.

Of course, we are now at the end of November and “Clowns without Borders” do their annual campaign about the third week of this month by placing red noses on statues.

The respectable looking statue below is that of John Cockerill, British-born who founded the manufacturing industry of Belgium.  The other statues below him are representations of the industrial workers of the country:  a metallurgists and a glassmaker, among others.

“Photography gave me happiness”

…thus says Sabine Weiss, the 90-year old Swiss-born living legend of Photography whose samples of her works spanning half a century are being exhibited today at the Salon de la Photo 2014. She took her first photograph when she was 12 years old and since then her camera has enabled her to keep an authentic visual record of life and the people around her.

Truth of the matter is, that’s what I have been doing the last several years and reading stories like this of iconic photographers just boosted my belief that I am not getting obsessed over nothing.
Oh well, I’ve been so lucky to see her on person today, plus, I got the chance again to click my shutter on scenes and backgrounds truly Parisian. It’s great to be back to my still-favorite city of them all…

Enjoy the photos!

If this is the kind of image that can win a photo competition, then what am I waiting for?

Photographers, amateur and pro, are all ears to the seminar conducted by Nikon

Sabina Weiss, up close and personal

They have peace, we have memories

“He has peace, we have memories.” (aged 42)

“Died in the cause of Humanity’s liberation, unforgotten by his family.” (aged 30)

“He died a hero, the dearest brother the world could hold, forever in our memory. Sister”. (aged 28)

“Not a day do we forget him, he is always near, we love him and miss him, as it dawns another year.” (aged 21)

“In this grave are buried forty members of the Indian Pioneer Corps
who were killed on 18th November 1943
and whose names are recorded on the adjacent headstones.”

“A soldier of the Second World War, known unto God.”

“A victim of the Second World War, known unto God.”

Above are just few of the epitaphs written on these tombs. Just reading them makes my heart cry for the lives cut short early, of these gallant men and women, soldiers and victims of both the First and the Second World Wars.

Today, 11/11/2014, as the world commemorates 100 years since the start of the First World War, let us take this opportunity to remind ourselves that their sacrifice, in order for us to achieve world peace and freedom, is truly worth it.

All Saints’ Day – Siracusa (Sicily) style

To commemorate All Saints’ Day today, I went to visit the cemetery of the town where I (currently) live. Not only to pay respect to the dearly departed of Siracusa, I also wanted to find out how the locals observe their Festa dei Morti (literally Day of the Dead) and hopefully to capture some of their traditions and idiosincracies…

I thought I should take a taxi to the cimetero but the fare of 15euros for a mere 3km distance is totally absurd so I decided to take a walk. Passing through the bus station I curiously asked a Controller and he directed me to the shuttle bus which ferries passengers to and fro the cemetery for Free, just for today only! How lucky could I get!


The Monumental Cemetery of Syracusa was built in 800 following an order declaring that the dead were no longer to be placed in churches hence, it was decided to create a special cemetery with family chapels  for aristocratic families or religious orders, or tomb designs ranging from the simple to the elaborate.  The  cemetery shape is inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, bordered by a colonnade entrance and small upper dome) around which there are the monumental tombs and chapels in the neoclassical,  Art Nouveau or of various architectural styles.

So I started my photowalk around and here are my snaps and observations:

He was once a football passionate.

Lamentation going on……….

Together… forever….

The cemetery is carpeted with flowers today…

Freshening them up so they last longer

Cemetery walls

One or two are still available, or it looks like it was recently “vacated”

At least he enjoyed his life…

Cypress trees are very commonly found in cemeteries, particularly in Italy, because the wood emits a heavenly scent, freshening up the air. Also, the roots grow straight down and will not disturb anything around it.

This is not a network of apartments…rather, a network of cemetery walls.

The mere sight of its size and multiple floors almost knocked me down!

All year round, these cemetery walls, as in the traditional graves, are always bedecked with flowers – only in Italy.

here, stepladders are a necessity.

Son: Mamma, be careful

What is this building doing in the cemetery?

One would think it is the financial district of the town….

But it’s actually a high-rise cemetery! It’s the building for the dearly cremated.

I counted the floors, there are five in all – several washing sinks on each level

and an altar in every corner, on each floor

There’s a great view from the top floor, the sea can be seen in the background

the mausoleum village

Back on flat land, I saw this strange mausoleum – was he a horse lover?

more grandiose tombs

But in the midst of those grandiose tombs, there are some that are crumbling down….