Monthly Archives: August 2009

Before summer is over

I love taking the bike and just go somewhere. For now, my favourite destination is Forêt de Soignes because you can change destination anytime. Yesterday, I decided not to follow the trip I had choosen but instead went to some lakes further south. It was worth it with the main attraction being a grey heron sitting on a tree and chasing fish like an eagle. The moment it had spotted one, it just dropped beak first in the water, then flying away with its prey which was almost too big to swallow.

On the way back, first the chain sprang of which is not a big issue but left me with very dirty hands and then the tube of the back wheel lost air slowely but surely. Made it home nevertheless, grateful for the beautiful day.

Small advice

For: Cinema advertisers, notably Sprite; Coke, Evian and Aquarius.

Reg.: Waste of money and frustration of potential consumers

Why: All of the above ads have the same idea. A melting hot day, sun burning down and the desperate need for refreshment. Some of them mix sport to the whole thing but all the spots are obviously generic. The very same spots for France, Germany, UK, Norway, Belgium, Spain, etc.

Problem: Summers in Belgium are not melting hot, sun burning down, etc. Sometimes, occasionally one day is like this. But that’s it. I wish we had the kind of summer shown in the ads but we don’t. Ergo, I’m frustrated. On top of that, the spots are not very original, at the end; one looks like copied from the other.

Before I have an orange juice, here another reason why Coke is cooler than Pepsi.

Voy a aprender español

After opting for Dutch two years ago, the time passed like crazy has come to chose Spanish. Let’s see how far my motivation will carry me this time because just like Dutch; Spanish is not a language you need in Brussels. Actually, not even French is indispensable; only English is.

Pero no pasa nada porque español es una idioma hermosa et me gusto mucho aprenderlo.

Big advantage: there is more than one country, generally with a warmer and sunnier climat ,where I can go and practice.

Things you need to cycle savely in BXL

  • Patience, patience and more patience
  • A helmet
  • Tetanus vaccination in case another bicycle you need to move in order to lock yours is so rusted that the moment you touch it; you get a deep, nasty scratch.

And for cars that are doubling without safety distance; I’d like to have an extentable knife in the naves. Something like this.

Ein Häufchen Elend*

was what I found yesterday after a windy rain storm: a young swallow. Wet to the bones it was sitting the middle of the street, scared but not resisting when I picked it up. I didn’t have the heart to let nature take its course; i.e. the next cat coming by, and took it home. After drying it in a box and feeding it with some minced meat, it looked already much more confident.

Once dried and fed, the best and final decision was to take this handfull of life back to the spot where I had found it but putting it as high up as possible. Usually swallows continue feading their hatchlings after they leave the nest and this little fellow was almost ready to fly by itself.

This afternoon it was gone. I want to believe that these are good news.

*A little bunch of misery, une petite pile de malheur

Hotel Mama*

is having

  • accommodation without paying for it
  • someone who cooks for you and does the dishes
  • a choice of what you want to eat

I love coming home.

*Imagine the title pronounced with a strong Italian accent. Prego!

Kayaking

“Il n’y a jamais deux sans trois” or as the Germans say “Aller guten Dinge sind drei”; which means that if you have two of a kind, a third one is likely to follow.

But, after two totally rotten summers in Belgium, the third one makes all efforts to be the exception confirming the rule: beautiful, sunny and warm interrupted only by occasional rain so that people don’t get overly enthousiastic.

Too late; far too late. Especially after last Saturday which was spent kayaking down the Lesse – a river close to Dinant. It’s really easy: You book in advance; go there on time and take a train ride up the river which you then paddle down in a boat kayak. If the staff at the registration get’s it wrong; you’ll even be able to enjoy the long tour (21 km) instead of the short one (12 km) which roughly means a 5 hour paddling including some good breaks in the sunshine and very heavy arms the next day.

I still can’t make up my mind of what was better: Watching people suffer shipwreck in the most stupid ways or admiring the very beautiful landscape around you. Most likely it was the combination of both 🙂

More information on here; needless to say that there were hundreds of people doing the same on this warm and sunny day but hey; if you want to be alone; just come on a rainy November day. But I guarantee; it will be less fun.

Continuing the discovery

Good mood and good weather were hardly ever dependent on eachother in my life until I moved to Brussels. I still haven’t found a graph proving my theory that it rains particularly often on weekend; but here I always fell like having to use every itzy bit of good weather; you’ll never know when you see the sun again.

This, a recent need to be more activ and the wish to know more of Brussels made me participate in the rollerparade – a 4 hour inline scating tour throughout the city. Actually, only the south-western part of it – Uccle. On a not to warm Friday night, this is one of the best things to do to discover streets, places and areas, you’d never have found by yourself and probably won’t find again if you try. However, it was very well organised, fun and exhausting. Especially for someone who does know how to break but isn’t an expert.

Troubled waters

One of the things to do or not to do on a particularly cold, rainy and grey August night (sic!) is a boat trip on the Brussels canal. The less light, the more enigmatic the countryside.

I can’t help it but I think to call a boat ‘Relationship’ is pretty cool…

Rijsel

was also the name of the restaurant where we had dinner in Lille. A nice little place serving the most popular and the most typical dishes of the north. The staff was very helpful and forthcoming and everything we ordered came in shortly despite the fully packed place. Tried and fully approved were:

  • Les crottins de l’avesnois
    Pieces of cheese backed in bread – too small but good.
  • Le tatin de Boudin noir
    Tarte Tatin but instead of dough boudin noir (black pudding) – absolutely outstanding.
  • La mlamishe vlam
    Leek cooked in beer and backed. Good.
  • La Groyère au carré du vinage
    THE cheese of Lille – le Maroille – as tarte. Delicious.
  • Le Pâté raisins, prunaux, cassonade.
    Pâté is the same in English… Didn’t know this. Anyway; a pâté with prunes and brown sugar. A dream; simply a dream.

The desserts were:

  • Crème aux spéculoos brûlée à la cassonade brune
    Though I’m usually not a big fan of Speculoos (a kind of biscuit); this was the best dessert I had in a long time.
  • Moelleux au chocolat servi avec boule de glace à la cannelle
    The chocolate cake was good, though not as soft and moist as it is supposed to be. The ice cream was great.
  • Pomme cuite arrosée de chocolat noir et servie avec boule de glace au carambar
    Baked apple with chocolate sauce is nothing you can possibly get wrong.

The overall was finished with une fleur de bière – an eau-de-vie made from beer and a bill far lower than anticipated. Needless to say that we were too lazy to go for a drink afterwards and too full to sleep well but sometimes you just know that it was worth it.