29 March 2011

Belgian Chronicles # Bustling Brussels ..

5:56 PM 7 Comments
I cant believe March is almost over ..here I was all eager to pen down my experiences , managed the first one too ..
but then the 'unexpected' happens..Infact more and more I am inclined to believe that 'Unexpected ' is going to be the trend for me , this year ..
No reason to complain , you argue ?
I guess .. coz if nothing much it sure makes life interesting , right ?

But easier said than done I guess ..so much has been happening in my life right now or maybe just in my head ..I still ain't quite sure but whatever the case , you would agree if I said once in a while , it does good to just step back and breathe ..

More interestingly , I read somewhere that the time to enjoy a European vacation is three weeks after unpacking ;)
So let the enjoyment begin .. ** glasses clinking **

This first picture , as blurred as it is , is one of my favorites , coz no sooner does the camera makes it's way out ..the glare follows , the glare that reads , " Whaaat ..a picture , really ?? at the airport ..this is embarrassing "

No hubs darling , this is not embarrassing , this is marriage ..I love doing it coz you hate it soooo ..
hahhahahaha ...mwaaahahahhahaha :D
This next picture is where we stayed ..and it gets the award for being the worst hotel ever ...
Did I tell you that even air conditioning is on request and chargeable ..duhhhhhhhhh !!

To the good part now ..city sightseeing ...
Described by Victor Hugo as "the most beautiful square in Europe," , the next two pics are of the Grand Place ..
This memorable landmark is located in the very heart of Brussels yet its surprisingly hidden, accessible only through the narrow alleys that lead up to the cobblestone square ..but be prepared to be charmed instantly as you gaze in awe at the baroque guildhalls and the gothic architecture ..
The courtyard also houses the Town hall or the Hôtel de Ville another Gothic masterpiece dating back to 1402 ..

3 blocks from the Grand Place square , located on the corner of Stoofstraat lies another famous attraction the Mannekin Pis .. a little boy peeing into a fountain. Plenty of folkore surrounds the existence of this bronze statue but he's definitely the most photographed and has quite the fan following ..
Infact , few know that there are two more statues the Jeanneke Pis - a statue of a girl relieving herself erected in 1987 and the Zinnekin Pis - the statue of a dog peeing erected in 1998. Jeanneke Pis is tucked away behind some bars just outside Delerium cafe on Rue de Bouchers ..

Just writing about all this is making me hungry coz after all the sightseeing we did , we had the most awesome waffles or " des gaufres " ..the best part , you can top it with ..strawberries ,bananas, whipped cream , chocolate syrup , caramel syrup , icecream ..anything you like , you name it and you get it ..We just stuck to a topping of Nutella and it was so delicious ...my mouth waters for it still ..

If only it dint have like a hundred thousand calories , maybe I would have had the heart to have another one .. Do you think about what you're eating when travelling or do you give into such sinful temptation?

12 March 2011

09 March 2011

Belgian Chronicles # Rocker Vs Shocker

6:38 PM 10 Comments
Remember this , my first post of the year ?
Well life certainly seems to be making plans for me ..how else can I explain the most unexpected / unplanned trips of all ..all I can say is whichever way it happened , I am certainly thankful .. ( to you too my hubs ) ..
We might be short on time but I still managed to visit not only Brussels , but Bruges ( thanks Bella for the advice ) and best'est' of all PARIS and the only way I can relive this fantabulous vacation is penning down my experiences on this sojourn and so with immense pleasure I bring to you the " Belgian Chronicles " edition ..

They say “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” and first impressions are almost always the truest ..so here are some of mine ..

  • * A 'No Smoking' room meant getting a room that apparently reeked of smoke ...Before you come to conclusions perhaps it would be fair to tell you that the hotel we put up in def ranks as the worst hotel we've stayed in ever ..I mean lifetime ever .. but since it was prearranged for us, being an official trip, we had to grin and bear it ..
* Shocker *

  • * Bus drivers ( both male and female ) are the most ingenious people I came across - the dexterity with which they drive the biggest of the buses on the smallest of roads .. hats off !!
Definitely a ** Rocker **
(and just for this I am willing to ignore the annoying fact that buses never stop at a bus stop , always 10 to 15 ft ahead of the bus stop Confused Yellow Smiley Face Smile Images ..)
  • Moving staircases better known as escalators are meant for running / walking up ..If you're standing comfortably and not running up ( Lord forbid if you are ..) you're most definitely a tourist.. I would understand running / walking up the escalator once in a while if you're missing a bus/ tram/train but always , everyone ??
* Shocker *
  • If you know the right place , you're definitely in for the most amazing frites or fries , chocolates and beer .. I have fallen in love with the chocolates from Galler ..if you've not had them , you must and when you do , think of me and ship some my way too ..you'll forever be my best friend !!
Double ** Rocker **
  • You have to pay for everything ..and I mean literally everything ..
  1. Tourist maps are free ..right ?? Wrong ..they're available for .50 euros ...and that makes it the only place where I've paid for a tourist map.. * Shocker *
  2. General Shopping - be sure to carry a bag coz plastic bags aren't free ...I support eco friendly so I do agree that the only way to cut down on plastic bag consumption is to ask ppl to pay ..This one gets my support - ** Rocker **
  3. Going to have a burger , be prepared to pay for burger and ketchup ( .60 euros )..Maybe being in America has spoiled me but even back home in India ketchup in restaurants is free ..* Shocker *
  4. If the above doesn't rattle you this will , every time you use a public restroom you have to pay .30 to .50 euros ( even restaurant restrooms are not free ) ..and judging by the number of times I need to use the restroom ..well.. there's where all my money for shopping went So Sad Crying Yellow Smiley Face Gifs Images ..I'm telling you someone should have prepared me for this ...coz seriously for me , when I'm travelling , looking up a restroom within running distance is perhaps as important as researching the tourist attraction .. **Whammy Shocker ****

I'm not saying I din't enjoy myself but one invariably compares it to what you have back home ..I always do , do you ?
and have you been somewhere you found a rocker/shocker you'd like to share ?

02 March 2011

Love byte # 28 - Dare to Dream

3:45 PM 6 Comments
So much has been said about love this past month and the beauty of it all is , so much remains to be said ..
And I guess that what makes Love so special , the fact that even though it means different things to different people it is essentially the same and most importantly no matter who we are or where we live or what we do , Love is and will always remain an intrinsic part of our lives , then be it our love for a spouse , lover , friend , parent , sibling or even an animal ...
Love is LOVE !!

So , Thank you Bella , Katie , Joanie , Aneesh , Mom , Alinka , Una , Ken , Corinne , Micaela , Sneha , Claudia , Heidi , Elizabeth , Brenda , Sara , Betty , Teresa , Sheba , Lauren , Jasmeet , Kary for sharing your thoughts on ubiquitous love ..and I believe it's our love for LOVE that brought us together and made this love byte feature possible and such a success :)

Now for one last love byte ...
Love to me is .. dreaming together and then making those dreams come true ..
It's no secret that neither love nor life is always perfect , everyone in life has their own share of struggles that one must deal with .. But like the quote goes
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand!”
So dream , when things aren't that great , dream together about the car / house you wanna buy , about the vacation you want to take , about the life you wanna make ..
Dream together , big or small , about anything and everything and when it's possible make those dreams come true !!

I say that out of experience coz hubs and me have been planning a trip to Europe for what seems like forever and this month our dream came true :)
So here I am writing this post in a small cafe in Grand Place in Brussels .. Who would have known love bytes would end here but dreams come true ..

Signing off for now but will be back with the ' Belgian Chronicles ' soon :D
Until then, I'd love to hear some of your dreams that came true ..

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