I know that spring tends to be a pretty great season anywhere. Especially when you can get out from under the blahs of winter and look forward to daylight. This weekend we went to Daylight Savings Time so I’ll do the math for you. Time difference between here and Seattle, 9 hours. Chicago 7 hours, Charlotte 6 hours. What I like most right now is that the weather is just so pleasant that you are good with a tshirt. No more coats! It is one less thing to fuss with on the bike or to worry about leaving behind on a train.
Yesterday I was in Brussels. I failed to my homework and discovered the hard way that Brussels in the French part of Belgium and they don’t really like to speak Dutch. It is not entirely uncommon for them to refuse. Which is ironic because Belgium has two official languages and one of them is Flemish (Dutch). My high school French was not taking me very far. But anyway, the parts I explored were lovely. Like Antwerp, the architecture leans more to the ornate and neo-classical. They do seem to have difficulty measuring things. On the square that is known as the Great Market, there is this fabulously gorgeous building that is asymmetrical. Apparently, during the building of it, they failed to notice that they centered neither the main entryway or the tower above it. When you face the building, you feel like something is off but you can’t put your finger on it. I thought I needed my glasses, I felt like my vision was vaguely distorted. But it was the building and not me. A modern example is that they are renovating their tram system and the new trams they bought after an extended debate about the five different kinds won’t fit the tracks so they are having to tear out the tracks and replace them. The existing track measurement wasn’t a criteria for which of the trams would be chosen. That seems like a pretty critical measurement.
I thoroughly enjoyed a great Ethiopian lunch, some divine chocolate and seeing the Manneke Pis statue. Luckily, Barbara speaks enough French that we got around very well. And we finished it off with a glass of wine in a secret garden café hidden behind one of the museums next to the royal palace. And from there, it was back to the train since I had to get home to feed the boys after their long day at the beach with Renee.
When it comes to chocolate, the Belgians seriously know what they are doing. I am humbled and amazed by how such a tiny square can taste so fabulous.
Tonight I went to the movies. One of my coworkers told me about the Cineville Pas. For 19 euros a month, you can go to as many movies as you like in the theaters that are affiliated with Cineville. It works in Amsterdam, the Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht. They are independent theatres so I can’t use it at the AMC equivalent which is fine by me. The theaters are cool! And since a movie is 9.5 euros per person, it is a great deal! I had to get in another movie this month and I saw “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. I quite liked it. It was entertaining and it was in English! And of course, I was able to get there via bike and back. With this weather, being on the bike is kind of like a mini holiday.
Tomorrow, I go to Gouda for work. Wednesday I go to the Hague and Thursday to Utrecht. Friday, I will go to the office which means I will be trying the bike commute again. This time, I know where I am going and I won’t end up by the KLM Maintenance hangars!
I know it is just barely April but I am looking forward to August. I am trying to think of what kinds of things I will do on my vacation. August is the vacation month around here so I will go with the flow. Last August I was waiting to be interviewed for the job and getting impatient that no one was available. A good friend said to me “Just think, next August, you’ll be doing the same thing, being on vacation”. That did sort of help with the impatience. I have 5 weeks a year plus the national holidays. I’ll take a week to go to Chicago at the end of April but that still leaves me with four. What to do with that kind of time? A cottage in France, a trip to Denmark and Sweden? Greece, Malta, Portugal? So many choices! I have some time to think about it though 🙂
I hope you are experiencing spring too!