I just returned from a four day weekend in Belgium for Don’s 30th birthday. We had a fabulous time and discovered one of Europes hidden gems (shhh…). If you ever travel to Europe, make time for Belgium- you will be pleasantly surprised. Our trip focused on Brussels and Bruges. Brussels is a big, fun and lively city while Bruges is quiet and quaint full of history and culture and class. We wandered all over both stopping at a cafe’s along the way to have sample the local beers and to watch the people passing by. I am partial to the blonde beers and Kriek, which is a cherry flavored beer unique to Belgium- yummy. It was easy to stay out until two each night because the stores, restaurants and cafe’s were still open for business. On Saturday night we celebrated Don’s birthday at the Delirium Cafe, known for its menu of over 2000 belgian beers. We had a great time and spent the evening visiting with a Mathmatician (remember the movie Good Will Hunting?) named Phillip from Germany, and his friends. We talked about the relations between Europe and the States, WWII and current events. It was an interesting conversation. I have learned to appreciate opportunities to speak with people from other cultures and to listen to their views on current world issues. Phillip shared about his trip to the States after he graduated from college. He rode a greyhound bus from the east coast to the west coast and stopped in several cities in between. He said his 2 favorite places were New Orleans and Eugene, Oregon (go figure). He said that Samuel Adams makes good beer in Oregon and that means a lot because he is German! He also said that he loves to listen to the different American accents, and that his favorite was the northern accent. He explained it as “the accent in the movie Fargo” which is funny to me because Don always says that I sound like I come from Minnesota, not Idaho…don’t ya know. Philip bought the table a round and instead of singing the traditional birthday song, we held up our glasses of “Pink Killer” and sang “for he’s a jolly good fellow!” to Don. He grinned from ear to ear 🙂
On Saturday we also visited the Atomium which is the third World’s Fair exhibit I have seen (including the Space Needle and the Eiffel Tower). The Atomium has a cool retro feel to it. We agreed it sort of felt like we had stepped in to a cheesy space oddessy movie from the 1950’s. It was worth the 9 Euro to climb the steps to the different spheres.
And, even though it took us a while to find it, we also visited this cheeky little guy known as “Manneken Pis” which is (for whatever reason ) one of Brussels most popular attractions.
Yesterday on our way to Luxembourg we visited Butte de Lion, a grass covered pyramid that marks the land where the Battle of Waterloo took place. We climbed the 226 steep steps to the top and were rewarded with spectacular views of the Belgian countryside. After dinner last night in Luxembourg City we stumbled onto a free summer concert in the Place de Guilllame- a large courtyard in the center of the city. We enjoyed listening to “The Sisters of Soul” who were visiting from the States. We couldn’t help but laugh as we watched the crowd shake and dance to the music.
I took several pictures, but I won’t be able to post any of them until Don and his friend Rich return from their European tour with our camera. I dropped them off at the airport today where they caught a flight to Bologna, Italy. Tomrrow they will tour a Ferrari factory (I mistakenly reported that it was a Lambourgini facotry in an earlier post) and then they fly on to Dublin for a few days. Don has promised me that he will take plenty of pictures of both Italy and Ireland. I might even be able to convince him to write about it on this blog.