We went to Liège this weekend to see what we could see. It's a neat city which somehow made me think of a blend of Liverpool and Italy, by which I mean it was pretty, dirty, seedy and surprisingly cosmopolitan. We liked it. One super-neato thing was the Musée d'art religieux et d'art mosan, which contained all the paintings and sculptures from monasteries and churches that had shut down in the area of the Meuse valley. It's one of those really cluttered museums - they just have so much stuff in it. One standout was a Virgin and Child from 1070 that looked like a dreamworld archetype. The Christian fixation on the mother/child image must be confusing to everybody else in the world but I bet it really helps us proselytize.
One of the attendants showed us around a bit to give us more historical depth on stuff, that was nice. It left me with the impression Liège is a really fucked up place - a sort of heaving commie stew - very North and South, except it was like the North that happened to be the South instead. Belgium's Manchester, in a word. And of course I like that.
Another nice thing about Liège was its geography. It's on a very nice river, and it's also at the beginning of the Ardennes so it's refreshingly hilly. That was welcome yesterday because I was as crampy as a moron who'd eaten a turkey dinner just before swimming the Channel, and climbing stairs really helps with that. And Liège has the mother of all staircases: