Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend in Paris

The nice part or the hard part of being a frequent business traveler, is that you gather loyalty points that you feel "forced" to get away again in your free time again.   And so were cruising through Paris last weekend until my feet almost literally couldn't take another step.

Although Paris seems so easy to reach (1h15 by train from Brussels) and we now and then have to be there for professional reasons, I realised I hadn't truly been strolling downtown in the last 10 years.   And even then I was going to team dinners with colleagues or having training all week , with only limited 'free' time.  Shockingly I realised it had been since my grade 11 that I had been a true tourist in I'm already more than twice the age I had then.  Geeeeez, how is that possible?   

And for that reason we were doing the pure stereotypical tourist stuff: Eifel tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe,  Place du Tertre, Quartier Latin, ...  but also some spots I've never been before, less crowded but very nice such as the locks at the Canal St Martin.  All of this of course with a regular stop at one of the many brasseries, to give my feet a much needed rest and watch the crowd. 

(haha which reminds me of one of the waiters on a little quiet square in Montmartre explaining to his American customers that dish x had horse meat in it..."just joking". We loved his humor but it was lost on them however.     When a little later they asked where Montmartre was, he simply stated with his best Frenglish 'but this is Monmartre, it's not the just the church", walking away leaving them stunned instead of giving them a little bit more directions or explanation....oh he was brilliant)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Going to work early

A few weeks ago early April, it was a beautiful sunny Sunday (still quite cold, but after the unusual long & strong winter, it was the first proof that Spring was finally to arrive soon).  While both Jan and I had to be in Amsterdam on Monday, Jan had the idea to simply go early and spend some of our afternoon exploring Amsterdam. It's funny, it's now the 3rd year I work part-time in Amsterdam but I really don't know the city at all. I go up early in the morning by train, arrive late in the office, work late to compensate, go check in in a nearby hotel and try to go out for dinner with some colleagues. I do know all the restaurants of the area and fortunately there are a lot good ones too choose from.  And I repeat that the next days , except for the day I return when I leave the office early to come home at a nice hour.  So really I hardly ever am further than 1km away from the office.

So it was very strange and very "touristy" for me, to stroll to completely other parts of the city, discover the beauty of the port and canal streets, all glimming in the sun  while the terrases had all sprouted up out of nowhere full of people (even if still wearing gloves) that wanted to enjoy this nice weather. 

I realised there is so many musea in Amsterdam I still want to discover (yeay, in the mean time the 10 year closed Rijksmuseum reopened and I've never been there yet...a must do on my list) or rediscover (Van Gogh museum!). So yeah, we should do this again, even if it might be a rainy day. 

But it sure was fun to walk around casually without computer bag or trolley behind me in the sun. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Made in Belgium: St Andries MC's

I don't often represent Belgian rap here but now you get some authentic rap from Antwerp and mainly about Antwerp , inclusive their dialect....sorry no translation provided (don't worry, can't follow all of it myself)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nice Saturday

  • Sleeping in big time and a lazy morning
  • A cozy ad hoc coffee visit of Witch after I had read on Twitter & Facebook that she was at a Rugby tournament with the boys in Leuven. After some tweets & calls back & forth she arrived at our place for a nice coffee chat and a much needed catch-up. 
  • Going shopping and finding some really nice shorts and tops for the coming summer. yeaaah, bring it on!
  • Seeing spring in the city!

  • Finishing the day with some chores to complete
  • And the first BBQ of the year (although too chilly to eat outside)


Nearby us is a NGO  Mobile School who help street children throughout the world with specially developed & built mobile school carts that are currently already used in 21 countries by trained local street workers.
Since a few years already they campaign (together with other international organisations) to have the UN proclaim April 12th as the International Day of the Streetchild. After all there are 150 million children living on the streets without rights and they deserve a day dedicated to them.

This year the #nostreetkidding campaign challenged all 193 countries part of the United Nations to make and send in pictures with a special nostreetkidding signal (crossing arms with fingers pointing to 1 and 2   and combined read as a Roman 4...symboling 12/4) ...More than 1500 people out of 129 countries have sent in pictures by April 12th.

As apotheosis of the campaign and to show the media the effect, we joined the mobile school volunteers to make a huge chalk drawing on the Ladeuze Square in Leuven.  Unfortunately the weather gods decided to send some huge showers to us, sending the first 2 attempts of chalk drawings litteraly in little streams back down the drain while a wind gust even blew the local mobile school cart to the ground.

But the growing group of volunteers didn't despair and simply started over again a third time. In an amazing speed the 129 flags of the participating countries appeared on the square and the giant nostreetkidding gesture. We were all ready just in time for the local news teams to capture it all for the evening news, so mission accomplished. 

If you want to support this cause as well, you can still join this international petition here

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Made in Belgium: Toy

Another of the big old Belgian classics...I heard today on the radio that they'd be working on new stuff and a come-back...I'm curious

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kick-off of the garden make-over

Gone is the dark wall shielding off our backyard from the rest of the garden, blocking sunlight and the natural connection to the other parts of the garden, creating one massive Side/frontview of our house.