Wednesday 14 December 2011

Brussels: PART 1

Okay, here's how we see it: we're going to break down our visit to Brussels into four parts, so that we can tell you all how much fun we had and how much we learnt in digestible chunks; Part 1 will cover Saturday, Part 2 will cover Sunday, Part 3 will cover Monday (these will all be photo posts) and Part 4 will present some entertaining blog comics from each of us. Y'got all that? Good! Let's get started with

So after a very early start for most of us, we arrived in Brussels via the Eurostar. It was a fun journey, a lot of us had never been through the tunnel before. It was so cold when we got there! SHIVER SHIVER.
We quickly nipped to the hostel to drop off our bags and then our first day in Brussels actually began.

Simply walking through the capital we were amazed at the Grand Place and all of the wonderful architecture. It is a beautiful city, don't let Abe's strip fool you, it's not all dodgy red light districts!


The city was so well decorated for the festive period, especially at night (which you will see in Part 2).
Around midday we sampled Belgian waffles! THEY WERE SO TASTYYY. But the trip was not, of course, just about the delicious food (we'll come to the chocolates eventually) - in the background of us chewing away, you can see...
                                                                     Yup, it's Tintin!
This was one of many comics walls (yes, you read that correctly!) around the city, and we'll show you them all in Part 3.

So we now come to the main event of Saturday: Heading for Strip Turnhout. Antwerp Station stunned us with its multiple levels of trains and lovely architecture. This was also the first of many trains over the course of the weekend that we ran for; we seemed to do a lot of running!

We got to Strip Turnhout for the afternoon, and got to hear some really interesting talks about the international creation of comics and how the comics scenes differ around the world, featuring speakers such as Paul Gravett and Rashid Alik. While we promoted our collective at one of the sales tables, we also got to see the comics exhibition about the Keikeboes comic strips; and a British exhibition featuring our very own Karrie Fransman, last years intern Rachel Emily Taylor, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and others. All of their comics were really interesting in terms of breaking and reconstructing the rules of comics.
After the event was a live music and interview event on stage, which featured Posy Simmonds. It was lovely to hear a little bit about how she feels about her work.

The event was over quickly as we had arrived quite late in the day, but we all really enjoyed it. We got to meet so many other great people from the comics community including Kevin O'Neill, Woodrow Pheonix, Peter Stanbury, and many many more, during the after event dinner.

Alas, that was Saturday over! After drinking some crazy strong hot chocolates and waving goodbye to Turnhout, We ran for yet another train, almost missed it, and then made our way back to Brussels to get some needed rest for our next jam-packed day in the city. In Part 2 we'll cover what happened on Sunday, including the Belgian Comics Museum and the Herge Museum! LE GASP!
In the meantime, here's us looking longingly at some comics in one of the many bookshops we passed over the weekend:

Look forward to Part 2 of our Brussels report!

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