All the rest

Maybe I should talk about everything else that happened aside from meeting Trent Reznor.

Gent – the 2nd day we went out to the Dr Guislain museum of psychiatry. When I discovered it, it was the main reason for staying in Gent over Antwerp for a few days, it sounded so cool (especially to me). It is in Belgium’s most well known asylum – part is the museum, and part is school area, with a new psych hospital close by. Dr Guislain apparently pioneered alot of psychiatry in Belgium, building the hospital based on research of what works best in treating patients. Unfortunately the “History” part of the museum didn’t really go into what exactly these elements were, which would have been interesting. But they had alot of history of Dr Guislain, the hospital, others that worked with him for improved treatment for the mentally ill and for mentally retarded children. A bulk of the museum is “outsider art”. They have a current exhibit called Beyond Good and Evil, and featured works with those themes – not just from patients, but from other…”normal”? artists, and other tribal cultures as well. Quite interesting but to me, the “outsider” patient art was more interesting. I want to make crazy art. Maybe if I stop taking my meds hahah. There is a fine line between “outsider art” and “toddler art” however – some of the things just…unworthy of such a distinction. Other stuff was quite amazing including this very involved installation that I can’t even describe – strange dolls and just…stuff. And it wasn’t just a collection of crap like what Psycho Ted left behind in the REA terminal. Most of the artists had blurbs about them, not going into details about what exactly is wrong with them mentally, but describing their life and situation. Not all of the artists were mentally ill either, some just considered “outsiders” or “folk”. It was really interesting.

Spent 3 or 4 hours there, and by that time, the Castle of the Counts was closed (closed at 4, last entry at 3, and we thought it closed at 5) so we missed out on that. Nights were early and I wasn’t feeling well that day so I stayed in the hotel the rest of the night. Watching bad American movies with Flemish subtitles haha. Tommy Lee Jones should have fired his agent after “Volcano”.

The 3rd day, with somewhat crap weather – cooler and cloudy – we went out to Lede to see the Castle of Mesen rather than stay in Gent and go to the Castle in town. Castle of Mesen isn’t quite a castle, but it looks more like an old hotel with a church attached and it was used for a variety of purposes one being a boarding school. Oh, and it’s in ruins. Ha. Beautiful place, and by far the most ruined building I’ve ever been in. It’s quite what I would imagine the Overlook Mountain House in the Catskills to look like if they hadn’t gutted the inside and just left the shell. All the upper floors in Mesen were collapsed – thankfully with exception of the theatre space, though I had to climb up a sketchy ladder to reach it – which made it interesting when trying to access other areas of the building. The chapel area had more intact stained glass windows than Transfig back at home. Very surprising. As a whole the place hadn’t been stripped too much – large sections of decorative railings remained, as well as some very pretty ceramic tiles. If my suitcase didn’t already weight 50 lbs some of them would have been coming home with me. There are a few other buildings on the property – which is actually in a public park – including what seemed to be a stable, and school area. Very pretty place. After a few hours there, we returned to Gent, got dinner, and early night again.

Gent Photos

Obviously I haven’t seen much of Brussels other than the walk from the hotel to the venue. Strangely – while we took a taxi from the (wrong) train station to the hotel, we passed an area of town where police were setting up big barbed wire fences – the type that they had set up between trenches during WWI. What the hell? The news last night said there was some kind of large protest against the Bush Administration at the EU on Sunday, that must have been it. Anyway. The hotel is not far from the Grand Place, and before the show today (Monday) I headed out to walk around with the camera for an hour or so. Very very pretty buildings around the square, again, something you just don’t see in the US. I couldn’t find the peeing boy statue though, it’s somewhere around here, but I bought some chocolates of him instead. I feel better having gone out this morning, haha I did see something while I was here. I still want to go to the Atomium tomorrow before we catch a train to Amsterdam. I guess it’s going to be dependent on whether or not we can keep our luggage at the hotel after we check out in the morning. I don’t know how close and convenient it will be to get to the Atomium then back to get the luggage, but oh well. It was the one thing I wanted to see in Brussels.

We have a very short time in Amsterdam as well, 2 nights I believe, and really only 1 full day – a show day for me. We fly from Amsterdam to Berlin, so timing of the flight will determine what I can do there. Aside from walking around and seeing the red light district and the night life in general, I want to go to the Van Gogh museum. Eh Amsterdam doesn’t really appeal to me because all I know about it is the drug stuff. So I’m not really upset. I’d much rather cut Amsterdam short (and miss the 2nd show) to spend more time in Berlin.

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