Friday, May 30, 2008
It was more than what I could have imagined for a Belgium animal park. It was on the grounds of an ancient abbey and was a wild animal park…no fences for many of the animals. I just have never seen such a park with birds, flowers, ruins and the largest aviary in Europe.
We didn’t get through the whole park but I would like to go back because they are building and expanding alot.
OHH and the monkeys we got to feed them. They handed you little live worms and the monkeys take them from you (climbing person to person)…There was a monkey that got on Joe’s shoulder and would not get off – I thought it was funny however he was like get this thing off me. Also he wanted me to hold on to my worms till everyone else feed theirs...they were moving too much. I couldn't hold on to them Gross!
I think people feed the fish alot.
Not to mention Joe kept wanting me to move closer…no way.
Strangest bird we have ever seen
The pig on the right is soo pregnant her belly in dragging on the groundA site you don't see every day.
Pretty peacock ! I have never seen a white one before...she was wandering around the parking lot...don't you think they are missing her inside the park? How did she get out ?? Can I take her home??
Then we did a little shopping for a purse...and Anne and Erin joined us for dessert.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Sunday Anne, Erin and I attended the Memorial Day Service at Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem, Belgium. There are 3 different American Cemetery’s in Belgium that celebrate Memorial day here is a web to see more. http://www.aomda.org/index.htm
I heard about it last year and wanted to attend the service but some how we just didn’t get to it. I believe most American now a days just think of it as a long weekend. (me included)
It is strange to think that this little town every year RAIN or shine puts together a Memorial Day Service for Americans.
This is Erin getting soaked like everyone else (erin in the white pants)
This six-acre World War I battlefield cemetery is the final resting place of 368 Americans killed in October and November of 1918 in the final offensive of the war. This Memorial Day Ceremony is unique in featuring the school children of Waregem who sing the American Star Spangled Banner waving American flags, a tradition that began in 1923.
The school children singing as the rain started. How cute are they waving the flags?
Here is a small list of what the service consisted of:
Fly-Over, Missing Man Formation
United States Air Force
Speech by the Ambassador of the USA to Belgium
Speech by the Vice Admiral William D. Sullivan of NATO –US Representative
Speech by Yves Leterme –Prime Minister of Belgium
American National Anthem by the School Children of Waregem
Laying of Wreaths - Taps
Twenty-One Gun Salute
National Anthems of the United States of America and the Kingdom of Belgium
It was a wonderful way to spend the day even though it was Belgium and it poured, we were soaked but nothing compared to what the soldiers in the area went through years ago.
It's still raining even though the sun is out...the band is playing too and the service goes on.
Famous Poem - read by an American boy who attends International School of Brussels
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Giorgio the glassblower who made me a glass ring!!
The entry way of the school/church
Inside of the church/school that allowed Foxy in.
Foxy's new friend Zora who made the pulls and owns the store. Her store & merchandise was also featured in Architural Digest
Monday, May 26, 2008
How beautiful does she look!!!
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have spent $60 million on a sprawling 1,000-acre estate in the south of France. With 35 bedrooms, plus a vineyard, lake, forest and moat.
Chateau Miraval is in a village called Brignol, which is near Aix-en-Provence
They hope to be completely moved in within the next three months, if not sooner. For the past year, Brad and Angelina had been house-hunting in the area, where residents include Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis and U2 frontman Bono.
Yes gondolas are cheesy but I wanted to be a cheesy tourist plus it is Venice you almost have to take one once.
Once I got Joe on the boat he was impressed by the skill of our driver had for not running into things and control for turning in tight spots. Also the different perspective you get from being on the water is amazing.
Foxy on the other hand was not sure about getting into a small low boat being steered by a strange man.
We were about 5 minutes into our ride and the rain started. I put my hood up & Joe popped open the umbrella. Our driver was getting drenched though.
We had a good ride despite the rain/down pours.
There are cheaper ways to take a gondola ride they are called Traghetti – which are gondola ferries that cross the Grand Canal. They cost just 50 euro cents and are stripped down versions with no padded seats-really no seats. It is traditional to stand and I now know why…you sit on just a tiny ledge like 2 inches long and hang on to the side…I though for sure we were going to flip over. It was rush hour in the canal and raining the canal was really rough and we almost got hit by a taxi. They only run on the week days until 18:00 or 6:00 p.m. we just made the last run on Friday.
Squero di Santrovase
Squero di Santrovase – is a boat yard where boats are painted black. They take 40-45 working days (remember this is Europe stressing working days) and are crafted out of 7 types of wood. (mahogany, cherry, fir, walnut, oak, elm and lime.) Then the Ferro the iron symbol of the city is affixed to the bow of the gondola.
Gondolier waiting for a customer…Joe was not happy when I asked him to take this photo…he hid behind a pole with a telephoto lens because the guy knew we wanted a photo.
Foxy dreaming of being a gondolier
Mom I'm bored
Where is my boat?
Friday, May 23, 2008
Here are some restaurants we enjoyed in Venice! (hope you not hungry)
Vino Vino – was written up in a couple of Venice books and it was close to the hotel. Very basic food and mostly tourist but they loved Foxy brought her water right away then the whole staff including the kitchen came and checked her out.
I had pasta with tomato puree & Joe had a salad with octopus (tentacles you could see the suckers and everything) with seafood risotto. Of course he tried to get me to eat one and always pretended it was sticking to his tongue. Thank god the elderly couple from England seated next to us didn’t care that we were being crazy.
Octopus fresh at the fish market
We actually ate there 2 nights in a row and the owner gave us a huge welcome the second time with a free welcome drink.
I had the fried calamari both nights with penne arribata and tagliatelle al pest (fresh pasta, olive oil and fresh basil)
Joe enjoyed caprese salad both nights with tagliatelle al pesto and grilled scampi. Not to mention the ½ liter of wine for 6 euros that Joe loved.
A bridge right by the fish market
Osteria Al Assassini – This place was highly recommended by a local that we met. It is a typical local Venetian restaurant. Actually we were the only tourist in the place.
We entered and were seated at a table for 2 across the way from us was a long communal table filled with Italian men. They were drinking, eating and talking with the hands like crazy. Then to top off that action 10 gondolier guys in their striped shirts came in for lunch.
We decided that we truly were in a local Venetian place and absorbed it all in.
The menu is different every day and was printed in Italian, which usually isn’t a problem but there were some things on there that we didn’t have a clue as to what they were and need a translation. (ahhh the joys of being a tourist)
I had the pasta of the day for my first course – penne pasta with gorgonzola & ricotta cheese for my main course I had fried calamari & shrimp. (yes I will turn into a big calamari but they don’t have it in Brussels)
Joe had a seafood dish (assorted seafood clams, mussels, big and small shrimps and a baby octopus…like 3 inches long.) and a tuna steak for the main course.
The owner asked if we wanted wine and we said no to which he replied O.K. one small carafe. Sure enough a small carafe of white wine appeared.
The restaurant it’s self in on a dead end street with the canal at the end.
It was a wonderful lunch and would go back again.
This was the general lee boat - like the general lee car in "Dukes of Hazard's" get it cause they don't have cars...they have boats
Il Refolo – This tiny pizzeria was hard to find, l I went into a pharmacy to ask where it was. I tested out my little Italian that I know “Dov’e….?” (photo from the first Venice blog)
Once we arrived where it was suppose to be we realized it was be hind the church on the canal. It was really a nice setting with tables under umbrellas next to the canal. Because we were off the tourist path there were only 2 worker boats that went by no gondolas or water buses.
The pizzas were good however Rome has the bet pizzas!!!
Church by the restaurant...you can see the table to the left on the other side of the bridge.
I can’t forget the gelato!! Joe’s favorite is pistachio and I’m a chocolate, lemon or raspberry fan. I can honestly say we have never had a bad gelato in Italy.
We tried to get reservations @ Da Remigio but were unsuccessful…I should have tried earlier but thought a couple day notice was good.
Fresh Cherries from the market
I have always read about table charges in Italy but never experience them in any of the towns we have visited. Venice charges any where from 2 euros to 3 euros per person for the table charges…on top of the 12% service charge. Just an FYI so you’re not surprised when you look at your bill. (Foxy was free)
A guy painting on the other side of the bridge leading to the Fish market
A classic sight in any Italian town the laundry hanging outside