Thursday, July 2, 2009

Europe/UK Trip --- Part 1

Sorry it took a few days longer than I thought to start posting trip details and pictures. Returning to a hectic routine of work and rehearsals has kept me busy. I did get all of the photos uploaded to my computer and have gone through the photos, eliminating the bad shots (shots taken from tour bus when I would "snap", capture a traffic light, duplicate shots, and very blurry shots). But fear not, a couple of days ago, I uploaded all the remaining photos to a webshots album, and there are over 500 photos for your viewing pleasure.

Since the trip covered 4 countries and over 2 weeks time, I decided to share my trip with you in multiple posts. So, let's begin with:

Part 1 - Brussels and Brugge, Belgium.

My 2 traveling buddies (Kim and Carolyn) and I arrived in London around 7am on Saturday, June 6. We took the Heathrow Express into London's Paddington station (very cool looking train station - some of London's older train stations are quite beautiful in architectural detail). From Paddington station, we took the London underground (the tube) to St. Pancras station, to catch our train to Brussels. Once in Brussels, we took a taxi to the center of town, Market Square, and started walking around. The architecture of the buildings was breathtaking.

Note: Feel free to click on the photos to see them full size.

Here's a photo of the Town Hall:

For me, my first glance, and usually my initial photo, is an overall view of a building, or group of buildings. But then I would start to notice the level of detail on various buildings. Using the Town Hall as an example, look at the detail of all these small dormers covering the high-pitched roof:

And here is a zoomed in shot of the details of the rows of statues on the left side of the front of the Town Hall:

Here's a picture of other buildings in Market Square:

After having lunch at one of the restaurants in Market Square, we continued walking. As we approached a corner, there was a crowd of people to the left. They were gathered to look at, and take pictures of, the famous "Little Boy Peeing" statue. Here's my photo of him:

I didn't realize the statue would be wearing clothes. After I was back home, I google'd the Little Boy Peeing statue and learned that over the years, he has accumulated over 600 outfits.

As you walk around the streets in Belgium, you pass by many shops selling lace, tapestries, and, yes, CHOCOLATE. I did buy chocolate, but waited until I was in Brugge, Belgium. Another popular treat in Belgium is waffles, usually covered in one of a variety of toppings. On one of the streets, we passed by a shop selling waffles, they had a window open to the street with all of the varieties on display. Here is the one I bought and ate (I had to take a picture before I ate it):

I'll admit, I didn't eat all of the waffle. I did eat all of the strawberries drizzled with chocolate (I love strawberries), and ate about 1/2 of the waffle. It was yummy, I just wasn't hungry enough to eat all of it so shortly after eating lunch.

Later that afternoon, we were back to the train station and took a train to Brugge, Belgium, where we spent our first 2 nights. Similar to Brussels, in the center of town in Brugge was Market Square, or Town Square. It's an open area, statue in the middle, surrounded on 4 sides by various buildings and side streets spreading out from the corners like spokes of a wheel. Here are a couple of pictures of buildings around Brugge's Market Square:

The second photo above is the Provincial Court building. The red building to its right is the Brugge Post Office. Many of the buildings here were built in the 1700's. The level of detail in the buildings was amazing. Here is another photo taken while walking along the streets of Brugge:

Brugge has miles and miles of canals. I've never been to Venice, but from pictures I've seen of Venice, I image Brugge to be very "Venice like" at least in regard to the canals. Here's a photo I took as we crossed a bridge over a canal:

Sorry the above photo is a little crooked. We took a bus ride that drove you around the city and I sometimes had only a second or two to try to aim, focus and take the photo. You can take a boat ride on the canals, which we were about to do here:

Here are a few photos from the canal boat ride:

The lace shops had the most beautiful lace, huge pieces that could be used for a tablecloth, narrow runners of various lengths. When walking along one street, we came across a woman sitting in a doorway, making lace (bobbin lace making). I asked if we could take her picture, she nodded yes. Here she is:

Also in Brugge, in Our Lady's Church, is Michelangelo's statue of Madonna and Child. It's the center statue in the following photo:

It's the only statue by Michelangelo to leave Italy while he was living, and the only one in what is referred to as the "Low Country" of western Europe. I don't know why I didn't zoom in on the statue to get better photo of the statue.

Ok, that's it for post #1. I'll give you cross stitch shopping update as I progress through the trip.

Cross Stitch purchases in Belgium: Zero.

There was a cross stitch shop near our hotel that we walked past each day, but it was closed when we arrived late Saturday and did not open on Sunday. There were some neat looking cross stitch designs hanging on display in the window, but based on the price seen on an Anchor kit also on display in the window, I don't think I would have bought anything there.

Tommorow, I'll post Part 2 - Paris.

If you would like to look through all of the photos I uploaded, here is link to my webshots album:

2009 Vacation - Belgium, Paris, England, Scotland

Hugs and Happy Stitching.


Lisa said...

Thank you for posting photos and writing about your travels. I look forward to the continued journal of this journey! I am not sure if I will ever make it to the UK or at this time I will experience it through your eyes. Belgium looks beautiful - the buildings, history and food. Wow!

Carolyn NC said...

Great pictures! I've been trying to label my pictures before I forget it all!

Yvonne..... said...

WOW - I love the photos. Belgium looks beautiful and I know you enjoyed that lovely chocolate. Can't wait to read Part 2!!

Sharon said...

It looks like you had a great time! I can't wait to read more!


Babs said...

You've been close to me then ;-)

Greetings, Babs

Marie-P said...

I love traveling Internationally but have not been on a trip in a while...Thanks for taking me to Belgium with your wonderful pictures and text!

pj said...

Looks like so much fun! I want to go too...did they mention if there will be another one of these trips? Great history and so much to see. pj