This week we are spending our winter holiday in a lovely and relaxing location – our home in Brussels. The kittens seem very happy to have us around – Mint is getting plenty of extra treats from Adrian, and Pepper spends hours curled up on my lap, getting cranky at the laptop when it takes her favourite spot.
It has been a very lazy holiday for me (though Adrian has been burdened with grants and reviews). After starting the day with a sleep-in, I might pop out to the boulangerie for a fresh baguette for Adrian to use to make me lunch. Then, after a nap, we might find the energy to pop out and explore the city. We have visited the Leuven Markets and sampled our way through the Winter Wonders (plaisirs d’hiver/ winter pret) Markets in Brussels, returning home with Hasselt speculaas and vanilla snowballs.
Yesterday we visited the Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen / Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique) to see the Destination Mars exhibition. I should have noticed that the woman at the door only charged us regular admission even though we got tickets to the temporary exhibition, too. This could have served as warning. Sadly, the Mars exhibition was only a tiny room with a few televisions and, for some reason, plasticine models of little green men. The only highlights were the scale models of two of the Mars rovers – 2004′s Spirit/ Opportunity and 1996′s Sojourner (incorrectly identified as Rocky).
However, the museum redeemed itself with the world’s finest collection of Iguanodons, with a note stating that they were still standing in their incorrect kangaroo-like positions, as they were too fragile to be repositioned into their cat-like posture. We also saw some very delicate crocodyliform fossils from the same coal mine in Bernissart, Belgium. All the fossils were a lusterous black, giving the army of Iguandons an impressive glow as they paused in their march through the gallery.