I have a new client in the Joburg CBD and I confess that the CBD is not one of my favourite places merely from a traffic point of view. On Monday Che and I got caught up in the gridlock that ensued, presumably as a result of the temporary closure of the Kazerne Bridge for repairs.
This means that a major route out of town for people living on the East Rand is closed for about 16 months. Off course people will find new routes and traffic patterns will stabilise once again.
In order to prevent a repeat of Monday Che and I agreed that I would walk up town to the Standard Bank precinct, which is on the edge of town, and get picked up there. An 8 to 10 minute walk to prevent potentially getting caught up in 90 minutes of chaos. This also provides me with the opportunity to take photos of interesting buildings.
I love the Joburg CBD for it old buildings, many built in a Classical style, others in the Art Dec style, and yet others, more modern. I took this photo of a building with the reflection of another building in its glass windows.
This beautiful church was built in the late Gothic style in the 15th century, and the exterior had me mesmerised at the intricacy and detail of the stonework and carvings.
According to legend, a young girl from Antwerp had a vision in which the Virgin Mary told her to steal a statue of herself and take it to this chapel. She managed to do this and arrived in Brussels by boat in 1348. The statue was placed in the chapel and became the patron of the guild of archers which later commissioned the bigger Eglise Notre Dame du Sablon. This church took about a century to build.
Sadly I didn’t go inside the church, that according to pics I’ve seen on the web is beautiful.
I thought I was going in the right direction to where I wanted to be. I tried Google Maps but it proved to be wholly unreliable in the twisting streets of Brussels. Frustrated I walked and if push came to shove I would find a taxi stand and climb into one. But not before I tried navigating on my own. I mean, I could find a coffee shop to rest my tired feet, or I could find a mall and do some shopping. There are worse things than that. I was all about the adventure and what I could find on the journey to the hop on hop off red tourist bus terminus.
But first things first…I experimented with travelling with a backpack in preparation for Thailand. I bought a nice 70L backpack and in hindsight, I should have bought a 40L instead. I packed it too heavily although I tried VERY hard to keep things light. It was about 10kgs, and I strained my back which needed anti-inflammatory jabs, rest and physiotherapy to help, all in a matter of the 5 short days between arriving from Belgium and leaving for Thailand with Che. That said, I will use a backpack again, it’s practical and easy to carry in and out of public transport.
I found a gorgeous little Airbnb in Sablon, comfortable and in a cobbled lane closed off to vehicles. It was central to everything I needed. Sablon is trendy, filled with restaurants, coffee shops, ancient churches and loads of shopping opportunities – my kind of place. And I was delighted that it had a coffee machine.
The streets of Sablon are quaint and old-fashioned and they remind me so much of Bairro Alto in Lisbon. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you might remember that Lisbon is one of my all-time favourite places which I love visiting every year…although not this year…yet…
In the process of getting lost, I stumbled upon a remnant of the first city wall, this tower is named the Tour Anneessens, in Sablon, along the Boulevard de l’Empereur. It’s well preserved and the real surprise for me was that it’s standing in the middle of more modern buildings, like an ancient island of stone among a sea of modernity.
The Eglise Notre Dame du Sabon, Gothic in style was just around the corner and it’s a fascinating church. I will post more specifically on this church in another post. It’s beautiful, adorned with intricate carvings and stonework, and I’m intrigued at the images on the outside. I’ve just finished reading Dan Brown’s Origin, so I’m in ‘Dan Brown’ mood, and I’m wondering at the symbolism of the images carved in stone…what they mean and why they were created there.
And finally, for this post, more images I took whilst getting lost…Belgium was tropical, hot weather with scarce a breeze, and it was fun watching families run through the mists of cool water in the middle of a plaza. The iron-shaped building along the Boulevard Adolphe Max was on my way to the Grand-Place where preparations were underway to welcome the Belgian soccer team back home. I arrived back in Brussels from Geetbets the following Sunday, straight into a sea a red clad soccer fans – but more about this in another post. Gosh, I’ve got a lot of material for my blog for a while.
In the process of getting lost, I did find a coffee shop where I rested my tired feet over a coffee and croissant, and a shopping mall. I have a gorgeous pair of shoes in my closet as a reminder of the day I got lost in Brussels looking for the hop on hop off red tourist bus.
As I sit here, in the growing dusk listening to a Buddhist Evening Chant, I’m reflecting at the length of time since I last posted. I spent the better part of this year engaging in 2 learning opportunities and I prioritised these over blogging. The time I dedicated to study and praxis were rewarding and I am honoured to say that I’m a Human Systems Dynamics Professional and a Certified Radical Collaboration® Trainer. I’m so excited about both of these – my training and consulting are becoming more strategic, and these are 2 potent disciplines to have. Let me tell you a bit about them.
Nothing is intractable! This is the tagline of Human Systems Dynamics, a simple yet powerful discipline based on complexity science and chaos theory that allows you to see patterns in chaos and complexity to help you better understand your wicked problems and determine your next wise move. The world we move in is increasingly complex and the methods, ways of working and solutions of the last century are no longer relevant, or even enough, to successfully navigate today. This applies in any sphere – education, healthcare, business, peace processes, building networks and coalitions, and much more. Many of my cohort peers were medical professionals now engaged in educating other medical professionals.
Knowing how to build collaborative relationships is an essential skill to have in complex environments when you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it. This is where Radical Collaboration® comes in. I did the 3-day course in January in Ghent, Belgium, and decided that I wanted to teach and coach people to build collaborative skills, and decided the certify as a trainer myself.
Jim Tamm, one of the creators, explains that the key to building collaboration is by reducing defensiveness – this is the fundamental difference of this program. He talks about this in his TEDx Talk and what we can learn from groups of chickens…
So I hope you’ll forgive me for the radio silence. I aim to make up for it – I have loads to tell about Belgium and Thailand. Stay tuned.
If you want to know more about Human Systems Dynamics and Radical Collaboration® please pop me a message.
Feature pic is of yours truly, during one of the rest periods of the intense Radical Collaboration® trainer certification course.
Social Entrepreneur, chief wide eyed in wanderer, wonderer and bottlewasher