Saturday, July 23, 2005

Gentse Feesten!

To tell you the truth, I think the real celebration was in Gentse Feesten!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Brussel: 175 Jaar Belgie

(I've had my lesson ... from now on ... I'm taking the train and walk everywhere! And keep a detailed map handy, just in case!)

The show of Belgium's military might. Yeah ... an oxymoron. Well, at least their people could say 'our army does something for us (entertainment)'.

and a pretty neat parade ...interesting displays ... horse-powered grain grinder ...

and of course ... got to take the picture of this stupid mannekin pis ...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Antwerpen, July 2005

"My Belgian husband has told me a helpful rule: when there is no sign, go straight. This works much of the time, but one day, I was driving with him when we came upon a roundabout. There was a road going at a 90-degree angle to the right and one at about 11 o’clock. No signs, of course ... Memory told me that I should go right, but I was testing the 'go straight' rule. I asked where I should go and he said: 'To the right, of course — that's the straight road' ... Natives already know their way, don't travel much and don’t need street signs. This is great if you grow up, get married and die in one town ...": Miriam Levenson

Yep ... I spent half the day trying to figure out how to navigate this "medieval maze of Belgian streets and equally medieval signage". Luckily I finally found the "Centrum" sign again, which, took me to the Centraal Station instead of the Grote Markt (about half an hour walk). Luckily, Belgian cities are fairly small. Oh yeah, by the way, to add to Miriam's list: the signs do not necessarily point to the direction you want to go, especially in a 5-way-roundabouts. They make 30-degree angle, sometimes.

And no, I'm not the father who's afraid to ask for direction. The problem was--which I learned the hard way--summarized nicely by a colleague:

"Don't ask them whether you should go North, South, East, or West! You'll confuse them! Besides, there is no such thing!! You need to know all the directions of the big cities. Then you have to know all the major street names ... That's how we explain directions!": Peter

Easy to say, when you've lived here the whole time.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ieper, Belgium, 6 July 2005

So, this is what Ieper looks like. My first day I spent walking through the city, which is very walkable.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Birthday, USA!

Some found it an irony that I booked my flight to leave USA on July 4th. Well ... Chicago's big fireworks were set for Saturday July 3rd, when tourists and citizens could pack the entire Magnificent Mile before and after the celebration!