Europe in Review: Antwerp

Living very close to the beach, we have the pleasure of paying lots of money to live in a box, well, that and experiencing perfect weather, pretty immediate beach access, and a ton of fun stuff in walk-able distance. Our apartment doesn’t even have a heater or AC because the temperature is mostly perfect (anyone who feels envious, just remember glorified closet + $$$, there are pros and there are cons).

Needless to say, when we landed in Germany and it was snowing, we were a bit out of our element. But warmed and motivated by our shear excitement to be out of the country and on a fun, new adventure, we somehow we made it to our rental car and drove straight to Belgium.

2013-03-14_1363220432

And thus begins our trip in review, with Antwerp.

This may be a reoccurring statement for all the places we visited – but it is cold there in March. If you are making traveling plans, keep this in mind. But besides cold, it was charming, totally walk-able, not completely touristy and just super interesting.

2013-03-15_1363370065

We were Bert and Marley’s roommate for two days – using the spare bedroom, and I can’t recommend this AirBNB spot enough. Beautiful views, stylish furnishings – including a piano that had been brought in by CRANE the day we arrived-, friendly cat (Marley), and what is probably the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. I’m serious, he had a guest book and almost everyone (I’d say at least 50+ people) commented on the bed.

2013-03-15_1363332434 2013-03-15_1363332557 2013-03-15_1363333020 2013-03-15_1363333109 2013-03-15_1363333239 2013-03-15_1363333380 2013-03-15_1363370558 2013-03-16_1363424412 2013-03-16_1363427582 2013-03-16_1363427856

We spent our days exploring. Alex is a beer guy, as I discussed briefly here, so we made a point to try a few of the local breweries. Almost everyone has a Double and a Trippel. I tend to prefer the Trippel, but Alex was feeling more of the Double’s. All beers come in goblet-style chalices, which will make any peasant briefly feel like a royal.

2013-03-15_1363370107 2013-03-15_1363370268

Alex’s only real complaint was regarding the size of coffee’s available. I, on the other hand, didn’t mind their size, or their price as much because that was some very delicious small sips of coffee.

2013-03-15_1363370097

My favorite spot was easily the MAS, the Museum Aan de Stromm. The way the entire building is organized was really fun and intuitive – you knew exactly where and what to see next; and it gave us a great overview of Antwerp and its history. You can also walk on the roof and get a full 360 degree view of the city. It is absolutely a must-see if you ever find yourself in the area.

2013-03-15_1363370088

Another amazing spot was the Middelheim Open-Air Museum of Sculpture. It was huge. And this would have been the best day, had it been summer – grab some food, have a picnic in the park, and stroll through some incredible art.

2013-03-17_1363522013 2013-03-17_1363522016 2013-03-17_1363522129

We also tried the fries, as many suggested. Now, we don’t speak Dutch, like not a single word, and while this was fine because everyone was super nice and often spoke at least conversational English, the fry place was a challenge in that there was just a TON (like so much, you guys) of fry-able items that were completely indiscernible. Rather than being those annoying American’s who ask what everything is (since it was labeled in Dutch and again, indiscernible) we stuck with the fries and the fries alone. Anyway, I thought they were OK, maybe there was too much hype beforehand. And maybe I tried them with the wrong sauce (I went with ketchup) because, like the options for frying, there was a great many options when it came to sauce too. The best part was that they come with mini forks, which are just adorable.

All in all, it was beautiful, and would only have been more so if we had been there on a friendlier-weathered month. I also really loved taking photos of our cat roommate. Only regret – there was this great little place down the street from us called Burgerij – Burgers voor Burgers (Burger also means citizen in Dutch, which is why THAT’S super cute), but when we tried to go they were very busy and ended up getting doners instead – Alex’s favorite.

2013-03-15_1363332773 2013-03-15_1363332946 2013-03-15_1363333190 2013-03-16_1363424216

CHECK THAT OFF the BUCKET LIST

First, let me apologize – I am going to make you feel worse about whatever you did last weekend..

I ran a mother trucking half marathon!!  Consider my own horn tooted.

Don’t feel too bad though, because I quickly followed that up with some delicious San Diego microbrews and Temecula wines.  More or less, everything that was healthy about running a half marathon was quickly cancelled out with yummy alcohol.

We signed up in November last year, Alex and I.  Alex didn’t end up running, however, due to doing something even more heroic than running a half marathon – donating bone marrow to a 7 year old girl with leukemia.  I know I married a prince.

I ran, here and there, sometimes being really good about training, sometimes not, for several months to prepare for the Safari Park Half Marathon in San Diego.  And I now that it is over, I am happy to report it was quite a riot.  Throughout the course, we ran by a winery, two golf courses, an ostrich farm, cows, camels, elephants, cheetahs, and of course, some hungry lions.

The biggest challenge for me was that about a week prior to the run, I definitely got sick and to this day (a week after completing the race) this nasty sickness remains.  I was scared.  I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish.  But in the end, I was able to beat my goal and my past time by a minute and a half.  Hooray!  I literally fist pumped over the finish line.

I wont say the run was easy, or even fun, apart from seeing some cool animals, but it was very satisfying.  I felt awesome, on top of the world.  And even though it was difficult and the training was time consuming, I would highly recommend doing it or something similar – 5K, 10K, a marathon – once in your life, if you can, because I think everyone deserves to feel super awesome about themselves or something they have done.

And if you take my suggestion, here is a quick thought to make the training easier:

At least you aren’t running barefoot (that is unless you are a crazy mofo training barfoot)

The reason I say this is, the half marathon also had a costume contest and there was a man dressed as Tarzan, who LITERALLY ran the whole race barefoot.  I am not joking, scariest man alive.

Anyway, I understand that this post isn’t really design/DIY related and a bit braggy, but deal with it… love you!

LET THERE BE BEER

The Moore family has one very, very happy man in its midst these days.  Why, you ask?  Why else?  Beer.

It may be a big black box, but it will soon contain some delicious, liquid happiness — yes, folks.. it is a Kegerator:

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but Alex LOVES beer.  I mean, I know that most/all men love beer, but more than drinking it, he loves to make it, read about it, learn about it, spoon with it, write it love poems, and so on.  So to better explain the seemingly impulsive keg box purchase, please understand it will more than pay for itself in handsome man smiles.   Thank you, Craigslist.

Design-wise, it may be something we will have to work around, however soon it will be home-brewing time and then shortly thereafter home-brew-drinking time, and who doesn’t love home-brew-drinking time?  Well Jenny doesn’t but that is only because she isn’t allowed to partake, what a sourpuss.

Now.. to find an unoffensive tap handle..

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.