Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Smallest City and Lace Capital - Belgium day 4 & 5

Day 4. Monday.... Normally the alarm goes off and its that urgh, Monday thought that we all have. Not today though for me. Today we were going to explore Liege! We set out to the river, then took a gentle walk to the Citadel. It's quite amazing how even in the quiet streets of the city one will find a war memorial for both world wars. I mean, here we were on a random side road and here is this world war 1 memorial to the locals who had died and added on was the names of the guys from ww2. At the top of the hill we saw the monument and then walked around the grounds before heading down through town to the train station - which is absolutely amazing!!! It really is something to see.

We then headed back via a pet store I had seen (I wanted gifts for my little KD) and then to a souvenir shop which was sadly closed. Back at the hotel (after walking 13kms) we had a coffee with my aunt and uncle and then set about getting luggage and fitting everything into the car (which was quite entertaining) before heading to Baillonville where we unpacked, swopped car and then headed to Du Buy which is the smallest city in the world. This really is a fascinating little town but its kinda tiny. We enjoyed a yummy lunch at this town and then meandered back home before heading to Bastogne.

Bastogne hosts a pretty amazing memorial to the Americans. I found it quite eery and somber. Looking out on the battle fields you could almost picture where the battles were fought. After this foray into the sad but victorious history of this area, we headed to the circle in Bastogne where the Liege Bastogne Liege race turns at. To all of our surprise there is a little monument to the race with its history and all the winners with their nationality. It must be such an awesome achievement to have your name up there but I wonder how many people actually know of the existence of this little treasure.

We ended the Bastogne experience with, you guessed it, beers and sausage. This time we all were light weights and picked low alcohol beers - I had a yummy cherry beer that tasted like wine and not beer.

Impressions and strange things: people stop at zebra crossings here! Cannot get used to that. There are cyclists everywhere!! And my best: people take their dogs everywhere. (KD would so love it here!) I also am wondering if they have water because all we seem to drink is coffee or beer. And, believe it or not, we are eating well after. 8:30pm and I am not grumpy or hungry. Think its cause of the sun being out so much longer and also because we have been so busy.

Tomorrow we are off on an overnight adventure. Going to be fun!!

Day 5: Slept so well last night! Head hit the pillow and I was out. After a yummy breakfast of croissants and yoghurt, we set off on a walk around the chateau, then to the local church - interestingly enough there used to be a door between chateau and church but one of the chateau owners had horses who used to go into the church so the town blocked the door. The chateau was quite interesting since we got to even see the basement area which is expansive and interesting.

After our tour of the chateau and imagining what it would have been like many years ago, we set off to Zottergem. But first we stopped in a town called Gerhardsberg to see a famous Flanders climb called the Muur van Gerhardsbergen. This is an insane cobbled climb and we were able to walk the last bit. It was pretty awesome standing on this hallowed cycling ground. Anyway... So we went to Zottergem where we found a place to have lunch and of course a beer (I swear there is no water in Belgium, just beer). After the yummiest burger, we set off to find the Decca cycling clothing factory. Decca has the most comfortable cycling clothing and for a lady, their stuff is insanely comfortable and practical.

We were welcomed to the factory as of we were old friends and given a grand tour of the facility. Personally it was pretty awesome because I have a background in print and design so I know the basic technologies so seeing it applied to textile was fascinating! Also, it gave me new appreciation to see how much manual labour goes into each item. When you buy Decca, know it was made with expert hands! Not a fully automated system. Then, hearing about the technology and how much thought goes into the design, really makes you appreciate just how awesome the kit really is. Whilst having a coffee, we learnt just how many awesome cyclists wear Decca. But, all good things come to an end and to was time to leave the place. Not before buying a piece of Decca kit I haven't seen in SA (yet).

After Decca, we headed to Bruges where we found a hotel to spend the night and then headed out to explore a tiny bit. It's a stunning town with amazing architecture!! I love architecture photography and I am having such a blast in this town!! Oh and we found a lace shop. I am tempted to go back there for placemats but I don't really have a dining room table... Dinner was beer and waffles followed by more exploring.

I am getting frustrated at not having data but I suppose the break is good for me. I am currently having a "Belgian water" in reception whilst using the free wifi that's only available in reception.

Until my next wifi moment....

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