Friday, December 24, 2010
Our Christmas Vacation: Days Three and Four
I like churches at Christmas time (though, to be clear, that picture is of the royal palace).
I am not religious in any real way, but I love Christmas. It is, to me, the sanest reaction to winter--you bring in lots of greenery, you light things up, you spend time with family, and you eat hearty food. I really hate the cold, and Christmas is my antidote. I was probably pushed along into these feelings by The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, with the whole "always winter and never Christmas" thing. What an effective way to let us know how awful the White Witch was.
A winter holiday is something I think that societies with winter have had in one form or another for a while. The traditions I was brought up with involved songs like "Away in a Manger," so you'll understand when I say I like well done nativities. We visited the Cathedral of St. Michael's and St. Gudula yesterday, and my favorite thing was all of the nativities set up by different groups in the city. The archaeological thing in the basement--I guess the ruins dated back to something like 1100--was cool, but the nativities and the Christmas decorations did it for me.
The reliquaries were pretty insane. Can you just imagine someone harvesting these things?
I think this is the head of St. Catherine. I can't remember--it was some female saint.
After we visited the Cathedral, we went to the art museum, where I am sure we saw a painting of whoever that last saint was.
I love going to art museums with Melissa. We alternate between trying to sincerely figure a painting out and making terrible fun of everything. We also agree on our approach: We stop for some things, but make no attempt to read every label or even look closely at a painting, and she is fine when I breeze through a room going "Jesus, Jesus, virgin Mary, virgin Mary, assumption, nativity, Jesus, Jesus, some saint, oooh look, some dudes playing cards painted by a Dutch guy."
Most of the pictures we have like the one below come from museum trips, when we sit down for a break. This one is no exception:
Today, we stayed home. We had originally planned to go to the Christmas market in Brussels, but it snowed a few inches last night and we didn't feel entirely safe driving, so we decided to have our Christmas dinner today and tromp around in the snow a bit. Melissa made a pie. It was amazing.
We also had a turkey breast, roasted cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes. It was lovely.
Do you want to see how deep the snow is?
Crazy stuff. Brussels doesn't usually get nearly this much snow, for what it's worth.
We are currently on the couch watching the first Harry Potter, and I really ought to be paying more attention to the movie and to Melissa. I hope we make it to the Christmas market tomorrow! Wish us luck, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.
Posted by Shelly at 8:34 AM