Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Semana Santa

Semana Santa
  Around the week before Easter, we had our so “Spring Break”. Actually it is called “Semana Santa” = the Holy Week. Much more appropriate, but I couldn’t shake the Spring Break Americanism in me, so Spring Break it is. Let’s see… most people in the US spend their Spring Break lying on the beach, but I had the grand idea to go to even further north into the freezing European continent to Brussels and Amsterdam. Well I really wanted to see these places and time was running out, therefore we sucked it up and flew north. Besides the fact that I was completely underdressed (what was I thinking not bringing my normal winter coat??), I was really impressed with these cities. We ate chocolate and waffles in Brussels and toured the EU headquarters. We saw the  “Manneken Pis” statue and the “Atomium” futuristic complex. We had no problem walking around the city and plenty of nice strangers helped us get around. Of course, my favorite thing was all the chocolate stores with Easter eggs in so many flavors! We stocked up. We went to a local beer hall to try some of Belgian's well-loved beer, but I’m pretty sure I ended up giving mine away. Still after living in the land of cerveza, I have not grown to love beer! After hitting the highlights, we took the short train ride to Amsterdam.
  Amsterdam was unlike any city I’d been to before. I loved the canals, the bikes, the buildings built along the water. We took plenty of silly pictures in the Vondel Park before renting little bicycles to ride around town. It’s incredible how much faster you can cover a place on a bike! And the whole world uses them there so they have their own lanes and stop lights. We tried some delicious fries with sauces and pancakes at Amsterdam Pancakes! So good. We rode to the Flower Market and entered every cheese shop we found. We proceeded to sample every type on display (which is enough for a light dinner). The restaurants there were really diverse and it was fun to park your bike outside for a while to escape the cold and then speed away home. I was a little sad to leave such a lively place, but really enjoyed my non-traditional Spring Break in Belgium and the Netherlands!
 Easter Chocolate

 The Grand-Place

 Here he is in all his glory
 Even chocolate Manneken Pis
 The modern EU city inside of Brussels
 Last night in Brussels, cheers!
 Vondel Park, Amsterdam


 Outdoor market- somehow I didn't see these bejazzled men's jeans making it in the US.... 

 Eating fresh Dutch cookies. Even the maker posed. Nice.
our transportation

How many people can you size into the I amsterdam sign??? 

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