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Posts Tagged ‘europe’

Brussels sucks. Not really much else I can say about it. It’s wayy too touristy or something. And all the chocolate shops are not mom and pop chocolate shops like they were in Antwerp and Bruges, they are all Godiva, and guess what; that’s lame. So basically, don’t go there.

We tried to go to the TinTin museum TWICE and it did not happen. It’s actually a museum about the creator of TinTin and all his other works too but I just wanted to go there for TinTin and we failed. We took the wrong train the first day and when the guy collecting tickets looked at ours, his eyes almost fell out of his head. Then he spoke to me in either French or Flemmish (or both) and I just starred at him til he told us to get off and go to platform D at the next stop. Well, there was no platform D at the next stop so we just got off and rode the same train back and went shopping instead.

Today was our second attempt, but this time we were cutting it wayyy too close with our flight to Berlin. By the time we finally got to the correct stop, we had to turn around and go all the way back again. It was a lot farther than we had anticipated. And so we made another train dude’s eyes fall out of his head when he saw us on the same train after it had made its last stop and turned around again.

Oh, well. No TinTin for me. There was, however, a tiny little store in Brussels and I bought two little reusable TinTin bags which I will be happy to use when I get back into my NYC subway kind of life.

It is WEIRD to not know where the hell I am going all the time. I’m so used to people coming and me telling them where to go and what train to take to get to what and in some of these cities I was absolutely clueless. At least most of the trains are pretty easy to figure out though. Berlin is gonna be easy peasy.

So yes, we are happy to be here because Brussels sucked. The only thing good was that I got to go to Pull and Bear which is this clothing store based in Spain that I actually went to in Athens years ago and was now able to go there again. I just got some weird leggings though, no cool shoes like I did last time.

Belgium as a whole is sweet, it’s just Brussels that isn’t so good. There is one other good thing though:

bestwaffleever

WAFFLES! I never order waffles in the States. I think they are bland and nothing special and I’d just rather go with something else. But in Belgium, oh no, that is not the case. First we made the mistake of ordering our waffles with chocolate which was just DROWNING the waffles in the damn chocolate and then one day I decided to try one plain and it was the best thing ever!! This one was in Brussels and we bought it out of a truck and it came off so hot that my mom had to set it on the napkin on top of a railing for a little bit. But once we could finally eat it, it was delicious! I don’t know if there’s just sugar on there or what but they are just a perfect, light little treat. It makes me excited because there’s a Belgian waffle truck that goes around NYC and I haven’t tried it yet, but now that I know there really is something to this Belgian waffle thing, you can bet ya I’m gonna find that truck. I mean, I already follow it on Twitter…

Back to TinTin for a sec… another good thing about Brussels (and I swear this is the LAST) is that there are random cartoons drawn on buildings all over the city.

For example.

tintinwall

It’s TinTin! I really cannot believe we never made it to the museum. I mean, watch it wasn’t anything that great, but I mean we tried to go there TWICE! And when will I ever be in Brussels? (NEVER!!!) But, oh well, I can watch TinTin online when I get home all I want and it’ll be exactly the same. Except not.

More cartoons:

thisisnottintin

Also, the city of Brussels is OBSESSED with this statue and I should probably look up its history but I’m paying for internet by the hour here so it’s not gonna happen.

boypeeing

It’s a boy peeing! Again, I have no clue of it’s significance but I don’t really care, it’s a boy peeing! And this boy was everywhere! I could have bought a thousand little boy peeing statues to bring home to you people. He was everywhere. INCLUDING a Coca Cola Ad on one of their machines in the Brussels airport. Because who wouldn’t want a Cola after seeing a picture of a boy PEEING right on top of it? We didn’t get it.

Aaaand one more cool thing from Brussels. Most of it is really well preserved and there really are some fantastique buildings, but we walked down this one street and I thought this building was the coolest of all:

firefire

Au revoir.

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onaboat

Another day in Bruges. We went on a boat tour through the canals and the tour guide was saying everything in at least three languages. Now, that takes talent. Sometimes I pretend I can speak a little French but there’s no way I could get away with doing that here. Pretty much the only word I’ve understood so far is “chocolat.” Yeah, baby.

Speaking of chocolate, there are literally chocolate shops on every corner. Sometimes two. And they make everything in the weirdest shapes. I’ve seen lots of ducks and things and today we were walking down a street and we saw some chocolate boobies. Out of nowhere. This is not Amsterdam, this is an old medieval town with a lot of history, beautiful cathedrals and chocolate boobies. Weird.

We finally saw an old-fashioned wind mill today which was one of my goals for this trip. And making my mom take pictures of me has produced some hilarious results.

bigwindmilllittleamanda

I told my mom to take a picture of me in front of the windmill and she kept making me march further up the hill, saying she couldn’t get both me and the windmill in the picture. Well, she did it! And now I’m the size of my baby toe. Oh, mommy.

Our other feat of the day was climbing the Belfry tower, all 366 steps. Let me tell you, the stairs are narrrrrow. And I have a thing with stairs to begin with, certain ones just freak me out. Once in college I was looking to sublease an apartment for the summer and I immediately dismissed one because I didn’t like the stairs. So, needless to say, as we were trekking up these super steep, super windy and super narrow stairways, I was a little nervous. I just don’t like it when I can’t see around me, I’m just surrounded by endless steps above and endless steps below. Freaks me OUT. But we made it.

belfryview

Now, in the movie, “In Bruges,” (which I am talking about again because my mom and I seriously just watched it on my computer) you can see the main square by looking down from the tower. Well, I sure didn’t see the main square when I was looking! I think maybe you can see it from some of the lower levels, but you just can’t look straight down from the top. And also they have those barriers, which I’m wondering if they’ve been added since the movie or if they were there before. Anyway, it was QUITE a long way to the top and the hardest part was that people were using the same staircase to go up and down so sometimes it seemed almost impossible for you to pass someone without knocking them (or yourself) down all 366 stairs. Somehow, we survived.

And here’s a picture of exactly what we conquered.

belfry

Alright, next stop: Brussels!

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First, I must apologize, for I am wearing practically the same thing in every picture so far. Perhaps this will change. Perhaps not. Maybe at least I’ll start wearing mascara.

We are in Bruges and if you haven’t seen that movie, I suggest that you should. It’s pretty stellar.

Now, would you like to see the view from the room in our hotel?

brugesview

Yep, it’s gorgeous. We have a huge window in our bedroom and also in the bathroom and I leave them wide open and the breeze comes in and it is just so LOVELY. I wonder what it takes to get a view like this in New York. I mean, my view of Prospect Park is pretty nice, but…

hiiiiiiiii

So I like it here. Would you like to take a carriage ride with me?

horsieee

Dinner on a Canal?

canalplease

Or maybe chocolate penguins are more your thing?

chocopengo

Let me know, ’cause I’m down.

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centraal station

When I pick which photos I want to include in my posts, I “flag” the ones I like most when I upload them in iPhoto. Right now I have 50 “flagged” photos. It’s just too beautiful here.

This morning we spent some more time in Antwerp, our first stop in Belgium. Unfortunately it was a Sunday so a lot of the shops were closed. But we did get to check out the Cathedral of Our Lady and it was pretty impressive. And huge. When we first stopped in, it was Mass so we had to come back later to look at all the paintings and architecture.

cathedral of our lady

momlookatme

I’m about to change the name of this blog to, “My Mom Turns Around in Pictures.” Seriously, she NEVER lets me take pictures of her. And she thinks it’s a game, since you can CLEARLY tell she’s got a big ol’ smile in this picture. So, thanks for coming to Europe with me, mom, and all the pictures I now have of your ponytail. Haha.

Myself, on the other hand… I do not mind sitting pretty for a picture in church. I mean, really, when am I going to be here again?

antwerpchurch

The other thing we did today in Antwerp was buy some chocolates (and eat them). They had chocolates in the shape of the cathedral and in the shape of hands from some legend about a giant who would cut off people’s hands if they didn’t pay a toll. And they had chocolates with the letter “A.”

antwerpchocolates

Here’s me at Centraal Station in Antwerp (which is also the picture at the top) waiting for our train to Bruges (or Brugge) with the A’s. They were filled with a darker chocolate that had a bit of a coffee taste to it. So far my favorite chocolates have been just solid dark, white does not do it for me.

And here’s a sign I thought was pretty sweet:

sigarets

Final note: wish we had a hairdryer.

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spartansky

antwerpsunset

Glad to be here.

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damrain

I think this picture is sweet. Last night in Amsterdam there was a bit of a storm, and we didn’t have umbrellas so we were just going to run back to our room for the night but by the time we got back, it had stopped raining so we decided to turn around and go back out.

Then it was was quite the adventure. I roamed the Red Light District with my mom. How many people can say that? At first we were sort of confused; we saw the sex stores and sex museums, but we did not see sex for sale.

Until…

redlight

There they are, ladies and gents! Of course I didn’t take any real photos of them because they are actually people and not zoo animals, but I did want to post this little shot to show you that yes, there are women who work in Amsterdam as legit prostitutes and they do actually stand there in windows surrounded by red lights, beckoning to the people as they walk by. For real. My mom wanted to stand there and look at them but I just felt awkward giving them more than a glance. But I will tell you that from what I saw, most of them were pretty good looking! And they were everywhere! You’d be walking and all of a sudden you’d realize there are lights coming from the windows that are below the street level, too.

And as we walked down one street, we saw a man come out from one of the rooms. Awkward!

Oh, and here’s a nice little sign for a store that’s not really so “nice” on the inside. Well, I guess that depends on your definition.

loveyou

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DSCN6355

Heyo! I am live-blogging from Amsterdam here! We’re staying at a crazy little hostel right now (in the Smirnoff room, actually… and there’s a giant red button on the wall and below it a sign that says, “Do not push button” but I am DYING to push it) and they have wireless internet so la la la.

Our flight landed at 6 a.m. AMS time which kinda sucked because I didn’t get any sleep the entire flight. We walked around a bit before getting breakfast at our hotel, for which we made the most delicious sandwiches – all kinds of breads, meats and some cheese. Yep, for breakfast. It was good. They had some small containers of chocolate frosting of sorts, similar to Nutella and my mom is totally gonna steal some to bring home.

We met up with a girl named Silke, who my friend Ryan knows and set us up with. We rented bikes are rode around the center of the city and also North Amsterdam which I feel like is the Brooklyn of Amsterdam. Here I am on my 25-lb cruiser:

DSCN6371

To get to North Amsterdam we had to cross water (ferry there and a bridge back) and it seems just a lot more residential. It’s more quiet and spread out and there were farms everywhere with cows and sheep and horses. Ok, so maybe not so much Brooklyn, then. But it was really pretty and the open air was so nice. We definitely would not have seen this part of Amsterdam had it not been for Silke. BUT after 4 hours, can I just say… we are SORE. We’re doing another bike tour tomorrow and we’re probably gonna die.

We probably would have died today but we stopped at an old little cafe/restaurant for some hot chocolate before our last leg of the journey. There were rugs on the tables.

DSCN6406

One thing that really kept me going was every time I turned around and looked at my mom cycling behind me I would just burst out laughing. I don’t know why but I thought it was soooo funny. I guess it’s not everyday you’re biking through fields of cows in Holland. My mom was just biking along with this cute little smile on her face, in her own little world.

DSCN6388

Oh, and we got some frites already too:

DSCN6420

Not too bad. :)

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