Next Stop: Belgium

How are you today?

It’s 19th of February and I finally have a few free days before going back to locking myself in the library. Last week I couldn’t write here on the blog because I had an exam coming. It is now behind me and I can write in peace.

I hadn’t thought about going to Belgium anytime soon, but, as always, a friend called me one day and told me she wanted to go and it would be a great idea if we went together. Over a year passed before we could actually plan our trip, but we finally did it and tomorrow we leave for Brussels and Bruges. We’re just going for a couple of days, but we’ll try to see as much as possible.

Literary Cities: Brussels

You know? Travelling teaches us how much we truly ignore. I can my spend days reading, studying and learning new things, but as soon as I leave my home I realize that I know nothing.

This time it was no different. We said Belgium and I realized that I have no idea of what’s been going on in the Belgian literary world. I suppose that upon hearing the name of the country, we think of waffles, chips and chocolates, but we don’t think of Hugo Claus, whom by the way I haven’t read.

A couple of minutes on the internet and I found out some cool things:

1. Brussels was the city where many writers spent their exile.

Victor Hugo, Karl Marx and Multaluti were just some of the intellectuals that exiled themselves in Brussels during the 1800s. Nowadays, the city has complete programs dedicated to helping writers that come from difficult situations.

2. Belgian literature is not studied simply as Belgian.

That is on the first level. Mexican literature can be studied as Mexican, but firstly it is Spanish, just because it is written in Spanish. Australian literature is English, Austrian literature is German, Belgian literature is bilingual. It is studied with both French and Netherlands literature because Belgian authors write in French or in Flemish.

3. Belgium has a Literature Nobel Prize Winner

Maurice Maeterlinck, born in 1862 and died in 1949, was an essayist, poet and playwright from the symbolism movement. He was awarded with the Nobel Prize in 1911.

The following I did not have to look up on Google:

4. Brussels is the city where Julio Cortázar was born.

He always said he had been born there by accident. That accident was inside the Argentinian embassy, where there’s a bust and a plaque in honor of the Cronopio.

And me?

As always, I’ll be taking pictures, eating a lot and trying my best not to buy books in languages I can’t read.

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