Monthly Archives: April 2014

Beer and Belgian Waffles in Brussels

Yum!

Yum!

The title of the post sums up the extent of our time in Brussels – no need to read further. I kid, we did manage to see a quality street performer, do a walking tour, score some souvenirs, and have delicious hamburgers. Honestly, we didn’t put much work into seeing the “must” attractions. We just wanted to soak up the Belgianness of the city.

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Our Amsterdam Home

kuekenhof-5“Whew!” I exclaimed after our landlord’s brother left us alone in our new apartment. We had made it through our 6 week/7 country whirlwind tour. As we slowly checked out our new digs I could feel energy seeping back into my bloodstream.

Our apartment here is gigantic. The owner is a very tall Dutchman so everything is appropriately sized – which Brian loves. I, on the other hand, feel like a hobbit every time I reach up to cook on the stove. I can’t see what’s in 60% of the cabinets in the kitchen, so it’s a good thing my wonderful husband is here to give me a boost.

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Brian and Bonnie in Buda and Pest

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

After a week in Athens, we were on the last leg of our 6-week journey from Munich to Amsterdam: 5 days in Budapest, Hungary.  Just to bring you up to speed in case you are first joining us, my beautiful wife and I got married last summer, and in an effort of both adventure and building solidarity in our first year of marriage, we left our families, our dog and our home back in Upstate New York to live abroad for one year.

We first settled in Munich, Germany.  We soaked up the German culture, and traveled throughout Europe for our first 6-months abroad.  After making the difficult decision to leave Munich for a new adventure, we explored the various options of where to go to next.  Was it going to be London?  It would be really nice to live in a city where everyone speaks our language.  But maybe that would be too easy.  What about Paris?  It looks amazing, but also amazingly expensive.  Amsterdam would be lovely, especially in spring-time.  We searched and searched, and finally found the perfect flat outside of Amsterdam, in Amsterdam-Zuidoost.  The only problem was that we had 5 weeks and 5 days between leaving Munich and arriving at our new home.  So, we hit the road.

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Ancient Ruins in Athens

In front of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece

In front of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece

If we were impressed by the old mosques in Turkey, then we were stunned by the ancient temples in Athens. From the restored Parthenon to the preserved Temple of Hephaestus we were surrounded by history. Even the elevator in our airbnb apartment building was old – though thankfully not quite as old as the temples. With so much to do in Greece, we felt pressured to take advantage of our time, but I think we managed to hit all the top sights.

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Tea Time in Turkey

Inside the spice market

Inside the spice market

As our plane descended, I noticed the skyline dotted with minarets from the mosques that adorned every neighborhood… And there are a lot of neighborhoods. Istanbul has a population of 13 million (and climbing, Brian adds). If it hadn’t been for the towers and domes of the hundreds of mosques I would have assumed we were landing over Washington DC, from the size of the city. Luckily our hotel was located in the middle of most of the touristy places we wanted to go, so we didn’t need to travel far. I was impressed with Turkish hospitality from the beginning of the plane ride when the steward handed us Turkish delights to start the flight.  Even though it was only a two hour journey from Croatia we were given a full (delicious) Turkish style lunch, accompanied with free wine. Our hotel had arranged a shuttle service for us, so even though the airport was crowded and chaotic, we had no trouble finding a man holding a “Brian Love” sign. Continue reading