Tag Archives: Vanessa Morgan

Exploring Brussels with a Horror Writer

One of our best friends is acclaimed horror writer Vanessa Morgan, often hailed as the female version of Stephen King. Yesterday, she and I and two of her novels – Drowned Sorrow and Avalon – went for a walk in the heart of the Belgian capital.

First stop was at a cozy square between the Grand Place and the Koningsgalerij. One of the statues proved to be a nice resting place for Avalon.

Before we had time to figure out who the famous gentleman of the statue was. it started raining very hard and we had to seek refuge in the Koningsgalerij. To be honest, I am not a fan of shopping, but this gallery is truly one of the most beautiful places in the centre of Brussels. Vanessa and I were looking for Halloween decorations, but found … none.

A bookshop with grandeur: that is the best description of Tropismes. Most of the books seem to be in French, but Avalon didn’t seem to mind this. By the way, the ceiling itself is a work of art.

Right next to the Koningsgalerij is the Beenhouwersstraat, one of the most popular and therefore crowded streets of the Belgian capital. The kitsch and sometimes overpriced restaurants draw a lot of tourists. And some cats as well, which happen to be Vanessa’s favourite animals. I think she will publish these two on her blog.

The next place needs no introduction: the Grand Place!

I was really happy when Vanessa was willing to accompany me to one of my favourite places, the Sint-Katelijneplein. This is one of the spots where the yearly Christmas market takes place.

Our next stop was near the Grand Place, at a very special monument. It is called the “Monument aan Everard ‘t Serclaes” and legend has it that when you rub the statue, it will bring you good luck. Of course, I forgot to rub it, but Vanessa didn’t.

Last but not least, a place we had talked about visiting so many times, but we never seemed to find time to actually do it. It is a café called Le Cercueil, which literally means The Coffin. Yes, it is quirky and dark and funny, with coffins as tables and the theme of death everywhere. Add a large choice of beers and cocktails and this is heaven on earth! Too bad the place only opened at 16.30 instead of 16.00, but it was worth the wait. This is a place I will visit again.

Sluis – From Sex To Shopping

Between our 2 trips to Denmark, Lars and I made one other excursion. And we were accompanied by the lovely Vanessa Morgan to our trip to the Netherlands during the first weekend of June. The three of us visited the small town of Sluis.

In the sixties and the seventies, Sluis was very popular with the Belgians. At that moment, sex shops almost didn’t exist in Belgium. In Sluis there were lots of them. And since this Dutch town was so close to the Belgian border, many of us went there “to have a look”…

I remember when I was still a child, my parents and I visited Sluis as well. Actually, my red-faced parents dragged me through the streets, constantly telling me not to look at the shops. And since I was a good girl, I didn’t. I am not sure if they did, since I only looked at my feet.

Times have changed… I have become a lot more stubborn and curious. So I was quite excited to see Sluis again. Unfortunately, most of the sex shops in Sluis are gone now. But it still attracts a lot of (Belgian) tourists, since all the shops and restaurants are open on Sunday.

When it comes to shops, Lars and I are a bit indifferent to them. The only shopping we like is online shopping. But I have to admit that Sluis looked beautiful, especially at the canal. Which is where I took a lot of pictures.

Last Trip of 2012 – Stumbling on the Maginot Line

After dinner Lars and I decided to go for a drive and went to the southeast of Metz. We had no particular destination in mind and hoped that we could see and photograph something interesting. If you have been following us for some time, you know by now that we usually do find something interesting. And this time was no exception!

To the greatest delight of Lars we found some traces of the Maginot Line. I had never heard of this before, so I was very eager to explore these places! According to Wikipedia,

The Maginot Line (FrenchLigne MaginotIPA: [liɲ maʒino]), named after the French Minister of WarAndré Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defenses, which France constructed along its borders with Germany and Italy, in light of its experience in World War I, and in the run-up to World War II. Generally the term describes only the defenses facing Germany, while the term Alpine Line is used for the Franco-Italian defenses.

The French established the fortification to provide time for their army to mobilise in the event of attack, allowing French forces to move into Belgium for a decisive confrontation with German forces. The success of static, defensive combat in World War I was a key influence on French thinking. Military experts extolled the Maginot Line as a work of genius, believing it would prevent any further invasions from the east (notably, from Germany).

The Maginot Line.
The Maginot Line. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the first bunker that we visited it was so dark that I actually had to use the flash of my camera in order to be able to see something. In the second bunker where there was more than enough light I managed to fall on my knee. And yes, it hurt. In general, these bunkers didn’t look very comfortable and we were impressed by the thickness of their walls. By the way, there are lot of road-signs for these fortifications; just follow “La Ligne Maginot”.

I will only publish pictures of the exterior of these bunkers. Our partner in crime, Vanessa Morgan, liked the interior shots so much that we decided to use them for our Creepy Travels project.

There is also a Maginot Aquatic Line, but I will tell you more about that tomorrow. It’s also something that we discovered by coincidence.

Inspired by movies – Residual Residence

We were missing in action half of the weekend, thanks to a stupid iPod and two very stubborn PC’s. I am happy to announce that The Viking and I won this epic and exhausting battle. And even happier to announce that we did have some time to be on the road and see and photograph some very interesting stuff.

I bet you have never heard about this movie. That’s because the shooting was completed only last weekend! And thanks to Vanessa Morgan, we could have a look at the film set. Residual Residence is a haunted house movie, made with a very very low budget and no funding. Have a look at the trailer!

Tomorrow I will publish the pictures of the place where the movie was made.

Introducing Creepy Travels

Remember horror author Vanessa Morgan? The Viking and I collaborated earlier with her this year on one of the filming locations of The Strangers Outside. We all had so much fun that we decided to continue with our collaboration.

There was also another reason. When we visited the filming location, we experienced something … special. There was an eerie atmosphere, but the biggest surprise came when I put the pictures of that day on the PC. Orbs and other mysterious lights showed up in the funniest places, whereas certain objects such as candles and shadows had disappeared on the pictures …

So Vanessa came up with a brilliant idea. Today marks the start of a new project: every month, we will take a trip to the creepy side. Together we’ll visit and photograph an eerie location in Europe, like a haunted house or a ghost town. This visit will take place the first or second Saturday of each month and we’ll post about it every 15th of the month.

However … we are not going to post every detail about our new project. It’s our goal to publish everything in a book! So we’ll only post a couple of facts and figures and 1 or 2 pictures. If you want to know everything about the Creepy Travels, you’ll have to buy the book!

Vanessa Morgan, The Viking and I are looking forward to our spooky adventures! I happen to believe in ghosts, whereas Vanessa and The Viking don’t. Maybe our Creepy Travels make them change their minds!

A new place to write?

I think every blogger/writer has his or her own favorite place(s) to write. For me, it’s my old black sofa. As soon as I am home and I have changed clothes, I sit on this sofa with my laptop on my knees. First, I check all my emails and then… the writing starts! After some time, The Viking regularly offers me a cool beer or a glass of wine. Nice!

Vanessa has a couple of other places where she likes to write. I hope we can see the most important one before The Viking and I leave for our Adaptable Adventure. In the meantime I am quite sure that Vanessa has found a new one!

After our visit to the fortification, we visited one of Vanessa’s friends in one of the other holiday cottages. Remember the cottage where part of the movie was shot? It was quite small, but this one was a lot bigger. Almost like a small house. When we entered it, the three of us were immediately drawn to the terrace. It was big enough to put a table and some chairs on it! And then the view! You can see the surrounding trees and the water. Vanessa liked it immediately and felt like writing. And although I thought it was somehow idyllic, there was something eerie as well, with some of the trees having falllen down in the water. But I have to admit that I like it!

Again, I made a mix of black and white pictures. I hope that in the meantime you have become curious about Vanessa’s novels! Check out some of the reviews: http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.be/2011/01/strangers-outside-reviews.html.

Inspired by movies – The Strangers Outside: Creepy Interiors

Vanessa told us that the creepiest scenes of the movie had been shot inside the fortification. So, of course, we had to have a look inside. Thus, Vanessa, The Viking and I went to the entrance.

Once we were at the entrance, Vanessa and The Viking were a little hesitant to go inside the fortification… Now, I have to admit that it looked really dark inside and kind of spooky. But I was too curious and went in.

I immediately found myself in complete darkness. When I stretched out my hand, I simply couldn’t see it. Gradually my eyes became used to the lack of light and I saw that the whole ground floor was filled with junk. All kinds of junk. I asked my companions to come in and to help me to set up the tripod.

Unfortunately, it was simply too dark to take any pictures. I could use the flash, but then somehow the creepy atmosphere completely disappeared on my pictures. We decided to go to the first floor and have a look around there. Luckily, there was a lot less junk there and more light, so I was able to make pictures after all.

The rooms on the first floor were of different shapes and sizes, but they all had one thing in common: they all had one chair, some of which were surrounded by candles. Yes, candles. In another room, amidst some ashes we found one shoe as well. The Viking started to feel uneasy, I was simply too busy with the camera. At some point though, we all felt that we had seen – and photographed – enough, so we decided to leave.

When we finally left the building, we all felt relieved. Would I come back here? Yes, but not alone, and certainly not during the night!

Here you’ll find more information and pictures about the shooting of the movie: http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.be/2010/09/behind-scenes-of-strangers-outside.html.

Inspired by movies – The Strangers Outside: Where Avalon dies

One of Vanessa Morgan’s books, The Strangers Outside, has been turned into a movie. If you want to know what the book is about, it’s better to read my previous post again, because it contains a short synopsis of the book.

The name Avalon is actually the name of Vanessa’s beloved cat. He makes a brief appearance in the movie, but as you can see he dies. Don’t worry: no animals were harmed during the making of this movie!

This weekend, Vanessa showed us the holiday cottage where Avalon “died”. It is located just outside the center of a small town, called Sint-Katelijne-Waver.

I have to admit that it was one of the most bizarre places that The Viking and I had ever seen. Imagine a big mysterious building with a World War I memorial surrounded by holiday cottages, which are themselves surrounded by a small river and a forest… As soon as we arrived there, we could sense an eerie atmosphere … Anyway, I took some pictures of the cottage and its surroundings in color and black and white.