Many times when people think of Belgian art, they think of the old Flemish masters and their dark but detailed oil brushstrokes. But art evolves, as do cities, and Brussels is no exception: it is also the home of the Musee Magritte gallery attached to the Museum of Modern Art (not to be confused with the preserved artist’s abode: Maison Magritte). Rene Magritte is hardly an obscure artist, but he’s often overlooked in favor of other that other 20th-century surrealist Salvador Dali. Brussels has given Magritte the extensive showcase he deserves.
Thanks to the 2008 Colin Farrell film In Bruges, some people think that Bruges is a quaint little historical city that also doubles as a holding cell for the souls of the damned. I’m pleased to report that this is only half true: Bruges is quaint, historical, and almost comically pretty. If Disney’s Epcot World Village had a Belgium section, it would look like Bruges. As we were spending our trip headquartered in Brussels, we only had a few hours to spend in the Bruges but we could have easily done another day.