Monday, October 4, 2010


Last week I had an afternoon to myself while Hary and Janee went to look at some houses. Because our house is in the process of being sold (long story) I also had to vacate the building for a couple of hours so it could be shown. I decided to finally go look at some of the touristy things in the neighborhood I hadn't had the chance to see.

I bundled up, checked my window for the general vicinity of the cathedral, went downstairs, locked my door and then headed in that direction. Unfortunately the streets I chose to take did not take me in the exact direction I wanted to go, so I ended up touring some of the sketchier bits of our neighborhood. Finally, I had almost given up on finding my way there when I turned and looked over my shoulder.

Oh! Cathedral, there you are!

So I turned around and headed back behind me. I then realized there was a tunnel between me and the church. I debated for a second and then quickly made my way through the tunnel.

Finally I made it to the cathedral where all the royal people of Belgium have been buried for ages.

And it was closed. Riiiiight. It's closed on Mondays...which is the reason I didn't get to see it the LAST time I was there. I had a look around the outside and then made my way over to the cemetery next door, which I figured would also be closed. But, even though it should have been closed--it was my lucky day! It was open! The Laeken Cemetery is the oldest still functioning cemetery in Brussels and is known as the "Belgian Pere Lachaise."

I put on my headphones and listened to nice depressing music and made my way through the cemetery. There's a smattering of different styles of gravestones and a lot of them are really old. The cemetery was also quiet and filled with yellow-leaved trees which made it seem like I had slipped into a different place when I made it through the gate.

I wandered around for a while, poked my head into some little chapels, and walked along the old paths. It had something of a secret garden feel to it.

And then finally found what I was looking for. This cemetery is famous for one if its gravestones--not just any gravestones, but one of the original cast's of Auguste Rodin's Thinker. I got to get up close to it and walk around it.

I thought how unusual to be by something so famous all by myself with no one else interfering. And I soon figured out why.

I had a good look through the rest of the cemetery, all of it fascinating. There were rows and rows of World War I casualties, which is always sobering. And to be honest, some of the other grave statues were even more moving or impressive to me than Rodin's. This one for example:

Overall, I was just enjoying myself and thinking how nice it felt to be outside, enjoying some of the positive things Brussels has to offer. After about an hour I made my way back to the exit, to find this:

The gate was closed. Uh-oh. Not only closed but locked.

I was locked into the cemetery.

Thankfully after a little searching I found a groundskeeper doing some raking. He didn't seem too happy with me disturbing him or with my pitiful attempt at telling him in French that I was locked in. But whatever, my pride willingly took that hit because he let me out--which was all I cared about at that moment.

On the way back to the house I also saw a signpost that definitely would have saved me some time earlier in the day trying to find the cathedral and the cemetery.

And then to put the icing on the cake, when I got home I couldn't get the key to work.

It's not everyday that you get locked IN a cemetery and OUT of your house. (Oh, and then it started to rain.)

It was a ridiculous afternoon, but hey, it makes for a good story. A couple more pictures below:

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