Blogs from Belgium, Europe


Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels September 8th 2022

We have spent much of the last two days wandering aimlessly around Belgium. Poor decision making, inaccurate GPS and confusing signage have made our trip here an "adventure". Nevertheless, it has been fun and we learned a lot about travel here. After leaving Bruges, our idea was to visit Ypres, the site of some of the worst fighting of WWI, and then head to Brussels. However, we entered the wrong destination for our trip and ended up at the Flanders Field American cemetery about 40 km in the wrong direction. It was a serendipitous choice. The museum was modern and told the story of American involvement in this little corner of the war. It was touching and personal. The video literally brought tears to our eyes. We then headed for Ypres which is a lovely town ... read more
Trenches at Passchendaele
More Trenches at Passchendaele

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels September 8th 2022

We headed 15 km south of Brussels on Wednesday to the Waterloo Battlefield. June and I had listened to Bernard Cornwall's excellent audiobook on the battle so had some background before we got there. As you can see, the battlefield is working farmland today but keep in mind that on June 18th 1815, there were about 185,000 soldiers in the frame (or nearby). Of those, over 50,000 were wounded or killed. This was truly a fight to the death with consequences that influenced the next century of European history. The chateau Hougoumont which never fell that day played an important role in events. In the middle of the main British position, the King of Belgium built a monument to his wounded son (whose irresponsible behavior almost cost Wellington his victory). The edifice is called the Lion's ... read more
Waterloo Battlefield
Lion's Mound

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels September 8th 2022

We started out today at Wasbar which is a restaurant/coffee house with washers and dryers (the machines have names like Xavier and Amelie). Had pleasant lunch while we waited. We even left for a while to get some Euros. There is an attendant who will move your wash into the dryer and then make you a latte. Last night we learned that there is a rail strike in the Netherlands and our train was cancelled. Had to scurry around for a solution. A one way car rental was $300 minimum so we settled on a a bus which leaves from the North Brussels train station at 1:00 pm. No idea how we are going to get to that station. I am working on that issue now. Obviously, we got a late start but wandered around the ... read more
Mannikan Pis
Hotel De Ville, Grand Place

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges September 5th 2022

We left LA on Thursday, September 1st and arrived in London Friday about 10 am. It was the usual dehumanizing, maddening journey in a cramped plane with the lights out for unending hours through the night. Then, the Tube to a Holiday Inn near St. Pancras station for some catchup sleep, a meal and an overnight stay. Boarded the Eurostar Saturday for a three hour journey to Brussels. Rented a car and drove to Bruges for a 3-day stay in a lovely apartment just off the Markt Square. On Sunday, I got King Leopold's Revenge and there were no pharmacies open to deal with the problem. Nevertheless, after a late start, we drove to Dunkirk to see the "Mole" and the beach where the troops were rescued during that awful week in 1940. We drove further ... read more
The Mole at Dunkirk
Our place in Bruges
Bruges and canals

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region August 17th 2022

In order to avoid what was deemed to be travel chaos, as well as a workers' strike in London, I decided to see where else Emirates flew to for options. I was to meet my friend in London on Friday, but I figured I could take an extra day or two elsewhere. Brussels seemed like a good alternative. I could visit a city I had not yet seen and take a train through the Chunnel, one of my dreams... My flight was very nice; I upgraded to Business. The flight attendants were so great - lately I have experienced up and down service with Emirates. But this guy was awesome. He asked me what I wanted to drink, and I guess I picked one very low in alcohol and he said, that's not much.... maybe try ... read more
Brussels City Museum
Baroque guildhalls
chocolate store

Europe » Belgium » Luxembourg » La Roche-en-Ardenne August 5th 2022

Ettelbruck, Luxemburg: de start van de Escapardenne Trail. Deel 1 wordt ook wel de Lee Trail genoemd en loopt tot Kautenbach waar vandaan de route Eisleck Trail heet om in La Roche En Ardenne te eindigen.Vergezeld door Brigitta liep ik de Lee Trail.Veel uitzicht op de rivier de Sauer / Sûre, maar de maker van de route vond het niet nodig dat water vaak te volgen. Flinke uitdaging in de hitte. Positieve kant van het verhaal: aan mooie uitzichten en smalle paadjes door prachtig bos en langs akkers ontbrak h... read more

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels July 23rd 2022

WED, 20 JUL 2022 TRAIN TO BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: My only experience with the rail system in Europe thus far has been with the high-speed trains (save that last-minute hop aboard before it departs fiasco) and not with the local trains. All of those trains have been staged at the platform awaiting its passengers well before the departure time – in a couple of cases, over thirty minutes early. Retrospectively, all of those trains also have been staged because that particular station was the origin of the train’s journey. Even though the high-speed trains made stops along the way for from two to five minutes, that scenario never even entered my mind for the train that pulled in at my platform over ten minutes before my scheduled departure. I got aboard, found a seat and heard the ... read more
Murals in the Burges, Belgium Train Station
Belgian National Day Llight Show Celebration on the Belfius Bank and Insurance Building – Brussels, Belgium
Belgian National Day Llight Show Celebration on the Belfius Bank and Insurance Building – Brussels, Belgium

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges July 20th 2022

SUN, 17 JUL 2022 TRANSFER TO BRUGES, BELGIUM: The train ride itself was uneventful, as expected. I had a 24-minute layover in Brussels, Belgium to make my connection for Bruges, Belgium. No problem. Plenty of time. After all, this isn’t O’Hare. After I disembarked the first train, I looked at the tote board and found nothing going to Bruges. The line at the information/ticket counter was long enough to take me well past my departure time, and there were no apparent service representatives within sight, so I pursued the next logical option and went to the platform with trains departing at 1652. When I arrived, I showed an attendant my electronic ticket. While he was fumbling about, another customer service person approached and informed me that I was at the International Annex. That made sense as ... read more
On the Walk to Market Square – Bruges, Belgium
On the Walk to Market Square – Bruges, Belgium
Café Vlissinghe – Bruges, Belgium

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels July 12th 2022

From Deutsche Welle: As the euro dashes toward parity with the US dollar, currency traders say the slide is unlikely to stop there. While a weakened euro should worry European consumers, US travelers visiting Europe could benefit. The euro has taken a major beating against its US peer since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, falling to its lowest level in 20 years as surging gas prices and uncertainty around the Russian energy supply stoke recession fears in the eurozone. So, if you are a traveler like me, perhaps it is a great time to stock up on some Euros. I generally take about $1000 USD worth of Euros on each trip. Why is the euro falling? The general worsening of the eurozone's outlook amid soaring gas prices and fears of Russia cutting off gas supplies ... read more
My thick wallet

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels July 6th 2022

Belgians I’ve met have said Brussels is surprisingly sketchy and that’s certainly the impression I had venturing out from Midi Station. It didn’t seem fitting for the capital of the EU, though I suppose some would claim it is fitting. But once in the city center the scene shifts to a high concentration of waffle stands, chocolate shops and Delirium umbrellas. And architecture that rivals the other great capitals of Europe, in particular the incredible Grand Place: It’s been awhile since I’ve seen such ostentatious spoils of colonialism. I wonder what the second generation of recent immigrants will think of some of the statues around the city. In contrast, the EU diplomatic buildings are uninspiring. But it’s fun to walk around the area under the gaze of security and picture what big decisions the suits ... read more
Peggy’s Mussels
Manneken Pis

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