Friday, January 3, 2014

Luxembourg and the Netherlands

Another day we drove down to Southern Belgium, through Luxembourg (how many people go to Luxembourg--nobody) and into Southern Netherlands.  We now know why no one goes to Luxembourg--there is nothing there!!  It was a pretty drive, but we got into the city, there was a small Christmas market we walked through and that was about it, but now we can say we have visited. Here are our two pictures from Luxembourg!! 
In front of a cool sculpture

In front of the nativity at the Christmas market
Aachen, Germany is a little town that is tucked right between Netherlands and Belgium.  It is famous for being a favored residence of King Charlemagne and is where his remains are now.  There was a really pretty cathedral we went and visited and of course, we went to a Christmas market.  
Cathedral in the background

Cool sculpture we found--it was bronze puppets that moved.

We always find the best street performers.

In Netherlands we went to a town called Valkenburg.  The cool thing about Valkenburg is that it has a castle in the middle of town with a ton of tunnels underneath that they built so they could escape.  The Christmas market was in the tunnels--it was so cool.
Some of the cool graffiti paintings we saw

 So anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE NATIVITIES--I need to go to Nativities anonymous, because I love to collect them.  My husband, being the wonderful person he is, read about a nativity museum on the border of Belgium and Germany and we went to it.  It did not disappoint, they had some very unique and interesting nativities.

Here are pictures from our day in Maastricht, Netherlands--a lot of fun also!!

Cade riding the train--he doesn't look like he is having fun, but I know he is!!

Overall we had a WONDERFUL trip and I know I always say this, but I am just SOOOOO grateful to live in Europe and have the opportunity to go see so many interesting and different places--I am SPOILED!!!

Bruges, Belgium

One of the most charming and fun places we visited was a city called Bruges--it was so quaint and magical.  Bruge is known as a "Sleeping Beauty" city.  Bruges has tons of canals going through the city and use to be a huge hub for trade and commerce and in the 12-15 century was booming.  However, in the 15th century the canals started to silt up and the city basically died--everyone left and the city was almost forgotten about.  In the last half of the 1900s people wealthy tourists started to discover this charming town and there was a push to restore everything and now attracts tons of tourists.

One of the cool things they had going on while we were there was an ice festival where the theme was Disney's "Frozen" movie.  The ice festival was so cool--they had tons of disney characters sculpted from ice and they were life-size--the coolest thing was a really big ice slide--the kids and I had so much fun sliding down it.

Kailey and I with the princess sculptures

Ethan sitting on the ice throne

The boys being a scary monster

The kids with the 7 dwarves


On top of the ice castle


Inside the ice walls

Chillin in the ice lounge

After the ice festival we wandered around the town of Bruges which was like something from a storybook--absolutely charming everywhere you looked.  One of Bruges notable things to see is a sculpture by Michelangelo "Madonna and Child".  This is the only sculpture that left Italy during Michelangelo's lifetime--it was sold to a wealthy Belgium businessman.
Here we are in a church where in the background is Michelangelo's sculpture, "Madonna and Child"

Tons of cool old churches in the town

Belgium is very famous for it's chocolate, waffles and fries--which we consumed LARGE quantities of all of the above!!  In Bruges they had a chocolate museum that teaches you all about the history of chocolate--it was very fascinating.
In front of the chocolate museum

We are cocoa beans

Chocolate demonstration--and the chocolate we tested was GOOD!!

Main square--in the background is the christmas market

 I had never heard of Bruges before moving here and after visiting wonder why I had never heard of it--it is one of my new favorite places.  If you get a chance go visit Bruges!!!