Tuesday, July 16, 2013

THE WATERBUS IN BRUSSELS

Since July 6 Brussels city has a water bus ! This should help to free a bit the traffic on the roads. For the moment it's only a try to see if the investment is worthwhile.

I tried it out together with 3 friends and we had a great time. It's rather a cruise and the ship goes very slowly. But it takes you to very interesting places which are impossible to see from the streets and are usually not shown to tourists. But it should be a transportation mean.



The ship looks very nice and is also very comfortable. On deck you have benches and seats with tables under a huge sun screen. Underneath is a little bar with seats and tables too,  where you can buy drinks.



Our capitain was a very funny person and entertained the whole ship. There is place for 90 peoples and also for bikes.



We started with  a pleasant vue on "Brussels les Bains" which is an artificial beach along the canal built up during July and August.







Sports, cultural, shopping events and food stalls will all be found in a larger than life décor made of sand beach, palm trees and other exotic plants. In addition to sun tanning and the many other proposed activities, visitors will be able to throw themselves into various water fountains and other water activities but also enjoy beach related sports such as Beach-Volley or Beach-ball.



Then starts the industrial part of Brussels, which I had never seen, didn't even know that it existed



from the boat you have an excellent vue on all kind of material for construction etc.



and the sewege treatment plant of Brussels



Apparently the water is so hot there that it never freezes in winter.



Then we had a nice view on the recycling and disposal place for metals. I was very impressed by these old trams, which were squeezed to pancakes !



It is unbelievable how much waste is produced in a city. From cars over household machines to trucks, everything had been squashed into pieces !



Not a pleasant but interesting view



Then we saw a piece of our King's castle, in winter when the trees are without leaves you probably see a little more.



and the Brussels Royal Yacht Club



Then we went along nice parks and houses



modern and old once.In my opinion they should have kept the old style and not replacing them by glass boxes.

The whole tour lasted 3 h. between the city centres of Brussels and Vilvoorde,  and was only  10 km long. 20 with a return ticket. It was a very pleasant trip and the weather was with us, we had a beautiful afternoon.

More information here Brussels by Water

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

CRUISE ON AMSTERDAM's CANALS

On the last visit to Amsterdam, where my son and family lives we did a sightseeing cruise on the canals.



The boat started in front of the station and we werewelcomed by a cow.



The boats were all full although there are a lot, but we finally found a nice place in open air to sit. My grandson was a little bothered by the sunshine and we were happy to have such a beautiful weather.



The cruise started with showing us modern buildings



Then a replica of the Amsterdam. The replica of the ship was built in Iroko wood by 400 volunteers using tools of the period, between 1985 and 1990.  It was floated to Amsterdam and is moored next to the Netherlands Maritime Museum, where it is open to visitors of the museum. 





The canals were quiet crowded by sightseeing ships or private boats.



People were sitting along the canals and enjoyed a drink



Then we arrived in the posh area with very beautiful old houses, some of them counting 40 rooms !



We went by my son's office, which once had been a private house to a rich family.



Lots of people were underway in their private or rented boats, with picnic and drinks.



A wedding ?

I was very much impressed by the houseboats. People are living in there permanently and are connected to water, electricity, etc. Just like a normal house.



There are so many, nicely decorated and often with a little garden.

















There are all kinds of boats some decorated with a lot of creativity !

Then we returned and I saw this amazing building which must be unique !



It is a parking for around 3000 bicycles. I just wonder how one can find his bike !



and then the cruise was finished and we approached the station.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

THE 14TH WELLINGTON BIVOUACS AT THE WATERLOO BATTLE FIELD

During the weekend of June 22/23 the yearly meeting and battle reconstitution of the Waterloo battle took place once again. This time I wanted to visit the Wellington's and his alleys camp (English, Scottish, Dutch and Prussians) near the Waterloo
Lion.



It was set up in the Hougoumont Farm orchard, Braine-l’Alleud. The farm is in renovation for the 200th anniversary in 2015 of the battle, after having been neglected for years and therefore became nearly a ruin. The chapel mentioned in Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables" is still destroyed and should be repaired by then too. Waterloo's mayor got it ! The historical places bring money from tourists !





Fortunately I had put adequate shoes on, because the way from the farm to the camp apparently hasn't changed in almost 200 years either. Only then the soldiers didn't arrive by car.





The camp with all the white tents and women cooking on open fire.





Then the alleys got together



Britains' General Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo in 1915, a painting by Robert Alexander Hillingford



and Wellington in 2013





When everybody was standing in line a general read a text to "Wellington"







They then marched towards me and I had to jump aside.



I admired the Scottish soldiers in their kilts (and later I saw two in Waterloo shopping in the supermarket)



The English soldiers

This is a great opportunity for tourists to get to know groups of re-enactors, have them explain the bivouacs, weapons and equipment, help to prepare meals and experience day-to-day camp life: gunfire, cannons, parades, changing of the guard and patrols.



Behind the tents which houses the horses I saw the Lion of Waterloo sitting on his hill ! The horses were beautiful.

On Sunday a parade with all soldiers (around 600) took place on Waterloo's main street. Unfortunately it rained that much, that I only waited for the French whom I hadn't seen yet.



They were the first once to march in



and were dismissed to wait for the others, so they tried to find some shelter from the rain and had their first beer, although the tent says Coca Cola !



While in 1815 the scenery was quiet different. Here is Napoleon on his white horse.


You can read more about the battle here

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About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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