Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Blog

http://belgiumbarb.blogspot.com/

Ok, here is the link to my new blog. It didn't make much sense to keep the old name when all of my new posts are about living in Europe. Hope you follow along to the new site. Have a super day!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Exploring The Area

I am branching out a little more into the local area. This is another view of Peer. Bikes rule the country, and they always have the right of way. The red paths along each side of the road are bike paths. You are not allowed to park on them, and you constantly have to keep an eye out for the bikes at intersections, because they don't stop. They know they have the right of way, and just assume you will stop when they cross in front of you. There are more bike paths than there are roads. You can travel anywhere you want in Belgium on a bike path.
I went to the Antique market in Tongeren on Sunday with a new friend. Russ and the kids stayed home. They aren't big into shopping for "old stuff". They have the market every Sunday. Tongeren is the oldest city in Belgium. It's beautiful. Lots of narrow roads that wrap around the city center, where you find the Basilica. This is a picture of part of the basilica. I didn't get any good pictures there, because it started to rain when we finished shopping. Good timing on that. The market is in the city center, just down a winding road from the basilica.

This is a statute of Ambiorix. He rallied his people to fight against Julius Caesar in the first century BC. I try to read a little about the areas that I get to visit. Maybe this will improve our knowledge of history. (It certainly couldn't hurt.) The statute is right across from the basilica. It's in a little open area where there are a lot of stores and cafes. The antique market is really large, and winds through the streets of the city center. There are a couple of big warehouses (one is more like an open parking garage) where they have a lot of stands set up, because it does tend to rain here a lot. We lucked out and finished our shopping before the rain really started. Then we enjoyed a cappuccino and waffle at a local cafe. (If you are curious, the waffle comes with a sprinkling of powdered sugar on it, and you can order toppings. I got fresh cherries and whipped cream.. YUM! Michelle got cherries and chocolate syrup.) I hope to go back soon and take Russ and the kids. They aren't big on the shopping, but they will love to explore the city. I'll be my normal tourist self next time and take lots of pictures. (I was trying to blend in a little more this time, and my big camera kind of gives me away. Let's just say that I learned on the second day that the word "tourist" is international. It just sounds better when they say it.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Our New Neighborhood

I guess I need to start a new blog about Belgium, but for now, I'll keep adding onto my Alaskan one. You can still click on the months on the right side and read over past posts if you want to check out those pictures.
We are slowly settling into our new neighborhood. We walked around for a bit yesterday afternoon. It's a beautiful little town. There are lots of biking/walking paths around. Because this is such a small base, there aren't a lot of Americans around. I'm sure we appear a bit strange to the locals, but everyone has been really kind to us. This is the church with the bells that we have been hearing. You can just see the tip of it from our apartment, so we knew it wouldn't be far.

You can see most of the town by just walking around a big circle. All of the signs are in Dutch, of course, but there are pictures on a lot of store fronts, so it's not too hard to figure them out. There is a bakery and deli very close to us. We've already been to the little neighborhood market to get a few essentials.

Belgiums are very conscious of appearance. They keep their homes and yards looking perfect. You don't see any long grass or weeds here.

Here is a closer view of the church. I'm told that they open it up to tours occassionally, and you can climb up narrow stairs all the way to the top of the bell tower. We'll definitely have to do that. Brandon wants to see what it looks like up there. We are going to get out and see some more of the area today. Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

GrizzlyBarb In Belgium!


video

This is what Brussels, Belgium, looks like from the air. Very cool. This is the view we got this morning when we finally reached our destination. Well, almost reached it. We still had a bit of a drive to the area where we will be living. Luckily, we didn't have to focus on the drive. Some great people from our new base picked us and our 4,000 pieces of luggage up from the airport, and brought us to our temporary apartment.
Another great surprise awaited us in the apartment. Our new friends gave us a super goodie basket with lots of local treats in it. There was everything from Belgium beer to chocolate. They also stocked the kitchen with enough food to get us through the next couple of days. How awesome is that? Their son even left a soccer ball for the kids to borrow, just in case they got bored. How sweet!
Of course, we tore into the chocolate immediately! It is delicious!!!
This is a view of our new apartment. It's Euro chic! We had no idea what to expect, and were very pleasantly surprised. The man we're renting it from is extremely nice, and met us in front of the building when we pulled up. In fact, everyone here in Belgium is really great. They are very kind people.
Here is our bathroom. There is beautiful tile throughout the apartment.
Here is our lovely kitchen. Also cool. Did you notice that there is no fridge. It's hidden on the left side and designed to blend into the other cabinets. The thing that is missing is the freezer. There isn't one at all. I guess it helps you eat fresh produce. I'll take some pictures of the area soon. We are suffering from some serious jet lag, so I didn't take any pictures when we took our little tour of the base and local area today. Today has been a blur. I'm ready for bed. A Belgium bed. How cool is that?