Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BRUSSELS WITHOUT CAR

Each year in September there is one Sunday without any car in Brussels. The different municipalities and Brussels center is closed to cars, except of course emergency, taxis and police cars.



and so it looked like on the big boulevards surrounding the city.



I took the bus in Waterloo and went into what once had been Brussels' heart. The oldest area of Brussels which I had known in my youth very well. There were lots of very  old houses, original Brussels' and Spanish restaurants, little theatres and the whole area had a special atmosphere.



I didn't recognize anything it was as if I was in another city. The old houses had disappeared and my Spanish restaurant where I used to dance flamenco alone on the table, had vanished too. Anyway now at my old age I wouldn't dance flamenco on a table anymore.



I walked and walked direction Grand'Place saw a ruin which now they try to save by all means, but there was not written what it was, only that there will be apartments around (modern of course)



Just opposite the Ursuline's hospital (I don't know if it's still open) is now a place for Skaters !



I mean it's nice to do something for the youth but still ... why there ?



The summit was that I found myself suddenly in the middle of an Afghanistan demonstration. Without thinking I took pictures and then I thought now they will kill me, but not at all they even invited me to take more pictures. It was for the good cause. They had a lot of space walking on the free boulevard.



Finally I crossed the Flea Market which takes place each Sunday and they were just busy to clean it and load their trucks. But all Brasseries, Bistros and cafés were full and people sitting on the street.



I approached the Grand' Place, and was surprised that I was still alive, as the bikers didn't respect the driving rules at all, drove on the sidewalks, didn't pay attention to the red lights or even worse drove in the wrong direction. In the evening in the News I heard that there had been more accidents then normally with cars ! Not very important once but still. Little kids were driving around without paying any attention and I wondered where the parents were.



On the Grand Place was a Folklore Festival.



and the buildings looked so pretty. Brussels city must have won in the lottery or maybe recuperated some of the defrauded money from some politicians, as the buildings had been freshly repainted in "gold" ! It looked really beautiful. The months we could only admire scaffolds were over !



Of course the Giants of Brussels were there and the community of the moustaches too !



People were watching folklore dances and beer flowed freely in gallons, (not free of course)



What I missed was the royal family showing up on bikes. It hadn't been programmed at all, they just came spontaneously. The 4 children had Brussels waffles and the Queen drank a beer. ! I just imagined "The Queen" and Prince Philip.

A few cm shorter because of all this walking and jumping aside to avoid the killer bikes, I took my bus and went home.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

TROYES - France

I went with two friends to Thonon les Bains to spend some holidays. On our way to the Lake of Geneva, we stopped for a day in Troyes. I loved it from first sight ! I found myself suddenly in the 16th century or even earlier, because many half-timbered houses (mainly of the 16th century) survived in the old town. Troyes has been in existence since the Roman era, which stood at the hub of numerous highways, primarily the Via Agrippa.

Troyes has an irresistible aura thanks to its multi-coloured rows of timber-framed houses huddled closely together, its maze of narrow streets, alleyways and hidden passages.  Its history which lives on today on
every street corner, its chain of Romanesque and Gothic churches, its public parks and gardens with their
old-worldly charm, its medieval-style shops, its old city centre shaped like a champagne cork,  its twisting, turning river, Troyes is a city bursting at the seams with romanticism.

Of course we only had time to stroll through the narrow cobbled streets and alleys and admired the beautiful old houses.



The city hall is on a large place with many little cafés, brasseries, restaurants etc.























There is not a lot to explain, the pictures are talking by themselves !







An optician had chosen a cat for its sign, which as a cat lover I found very original.



You have the choice of restaurants, there is one besides the other



and then the little details at the houses



a water pipe with a snake head



We discovered a small alley named "the cat alley" and walking through we discovered a very cute restaurant,"La Mignardise" .



The decoration of the court yard was so beautiful, that we decided to go there for supper.



We could eat outside in the little court yard, beautifully decorated and the food was excellent too.

The only thing which I deplored was that most of the houses badly needed some restoring or at least a painting of the beams. They didn't look very fresh and it itched in my fingers to take a painting pot and repaint the whole city. But this idea I gave up quickly, I am far too lazy for that and probably not a good house painter either.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

AMSTERDAM COUNTRY HOME

For the wedding of our son in Amsterdam he had to find a Hotel for all guests from abroad ! Not easy to find as Hotels in Amsterdam are usually very expensive.  The problem too was that there were many young children amongst the guests. He finally found an ideal place, the Amsterdam Country Home located in North Amsterdam and only 10 min far from Amsterdam city center by car.



When we arrived we were pleased to see such a beautiful place in the countryside ! The front



and the back of the main building, which I believe had been an old barn converted into a Bed & Breakfast.



There were some bungalows for families and a lot of space around.



A little everywhere you had nice spots to sit and rest




The children had enough room for playing  which would have been impossible in a hotel in Amsterdam







and while some adults were still sleeping they had fun running around and jumping on the trampoline







The main building was surrounded by 10.000 square meters (33 square feet) of farmland. Goats, sheep and geese were there much to the joy of the children and a very friendly dog.



You could climb up the stairs in the main house up to the roof, look down on the kitchen and living rooms, bikes for fitness and enough room for inside activities.



On the top of the building I had a beautiful view to Amsterdam




Our room too was quiet special all in wood.

So if you want to combine holidays with Amsterdam visits this would be the ideal place.  With all the wedding guests we had the whole place for us. It was just wonderful.

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About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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