Teeny Weeny Winter

The weather has been on the chilly side for a while already all over Belgium. Finally, this Saturday it snowed a little in Flanders! That is a rare event and is a cause for joy for many. I spotted the first kid running around with a sledge outside before 9 in the morning.

We were less amused, since it was that day that we had to take Waffle’s new buggy to be adjusted. That meant driving to Roosendaal in the Netherlands, on the snowy roads. You see, snow on the road in Belgium is not a very good thing. It causes panic and screaming and upside down cars, usually not a pretty sight. And sure enough, before we passed Antwerp we saw 3 accidents and judging by the radio, more was in the making.

With good luck we managed to get to Roosendaal in one piece and dropped of the buggy to be made narrower. That caused some discussion since the maker of Xxtreme buggies is a sworn competitor. He did not have much understanding for Waffle’s style of driving. The narrowing would change the weight balance of the thing, which would make it slower, etc. etc.

We were told to call him in two hours time to check if he was done with the thing. That gave us enough time to head for Rotterdam. The snow covered Netherlands is a beautiful sight with its muffled colors and bolders and trees appearing from the haze. Such a pity we left our camera home.

Netherlands, Winter, Snow

Here is a pic for you from couple of years back…

In Rotterdam some shopping happened. Yes. You read correctly, we went shopping. We found a street, right in the center of town, with coffee shops mixed with all sorts of small boutiques selling oddities, vintage and trinkets. Luckily we had no time to go circling too many other streets. We went home with a pair of very seventies dresses (I actually do wear normal people clothes outside of the trail), and a remarkably narrower buggy.

By Sunday all the snow was gone. It seemed to have evaporated and turned into mist. The white cloud wrapped around everything: The windmills seemed to appear from nowhere as we drove past them towards Dendermonde, where we wanted to have a walk.

There we did a loop between the rivers Scheldt and Dender. The side of the Scheldt seems to be the Dendermonde villa district.The walking path took us in between the grand houses and the river, hiding in the dense fog. I must admit, I like looking at peoples homes. Especially if they are houses I would not be able to ever own, and the ones some architect designed and by some miracle managed to sell to some poor fool.

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We were following the wonderful numbered crossing system, and our selected route took us quickly into more calm countryside. Everything was white, it felt like we were walking through a cloud, that only slowly revealed what was coming up ahead. A surprisingly lovely weather for a walk.

That was such a calm weekend. After that it is good to turn our gazes towards the trip Cyprus, which is here in a day or two. We are especially looking forward to the flocks of flamingos and the empty beaches. Maybe some mountains too!

Till then, behave all my dear people!

 

 

 

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Escape to the neighborhood

I was looking forward to a nice, calm and relaxed Sunday today. Our neighbors had a different idea. They have just bought the house, and the renovation is on full swing during the weekends. Now they are killing the floor and apparently some of the walls with great passion.

My ears were ringing and I was getting irritated. So was Waffle.  Some browsing later we took our way to escape to Hamme, a small town a bit further up the river from us, with plenty of calm countryside walks. It was a beautifully chilly, sunny autumn day, so why not go out?

We arrived close to sunset, and the colors were stunning. There was frost and a bedding of brown leaves coloring the ground and a sea of reeds waving in the quieter waters as a golden fuzz. It’s been long time since we last did these short hikes around our own home. You don’t always have to go far to find things beautiful and interesting.

 

It was good to be out together. We had time to get silly again, I love his brain, refusing to get adult and serious, always looking for ways to do something silly. I think I tell that to him way too seldom.

The autumn air was getting our minds working on more smart things too. We spent a good amount of time planning. There is this dream of a “home extension”. A thing to be built that would bring quite some new aspects to our weekend travels. Waffle’s father is also in with the plan, which is great, because the two of us don’t necessarily have all the knowledge needed to do such a thing. (Irritating isn’t it, that I don’t let you know what it is? You’ll find out soon enough, trust me).

The walk chilled our cheeks and noses and gave a nicely wintery feeling. It feels so good  now to be back in the warmth of our home. The neighbors have stopped and the local marching band is still sober. Now over and out, with my glass of glögi off to the sofa.

 

The Joys and Sorrows of Commuting

A joy of commuting!? I hear some of you wonder. Very often you hear only complaining in regards of morning rush hour, evening peak hour and all the incredibly dumb people that block your way. Commuting is not often considered a fun event.

Belgium is probably one of the heaviest commuter countries, and it shows. There is no road that didn’t jam. Since I started working I have been adding to that mass of morning grumpy people, who have been forced out of their beds and shoveled into all sorts of moving boxes.

Although, sometimes I fail to see the full horror of the situation. First of all, I love the sunrises I have been spotting while the train passes by countryside. There has been some rather chilly mornings, with dense mist laying around. The duvet of fog has been lit golden by the morning sun, and the sceneries are just breathtaking. One day there was a lady, walking on a field, followed by a massive herd of sheep, probably begging for food. Too bad I don’t go to work with the camera…

Cows, Montenegro, Mountains

Sometimes your traffic jam looks a little different.

Those are the small pretty things I would like to be able to notice more. Or those moments might of course be made pretty by my slowly waking brain, that has not yet accepted the reality that I am already headed for work.

And even though commuting a long distance takes a looooot of time, it is not necessarily completely wasted time. As many of us, I too, read, knit and think about cures for cancer and solutions for world hunger. Also, it is somehow possible to view it as quality time with your partner, if he happens to be on the same moving box. At least he can’t run away from the difficult topics, like what to have for dinner this evening, or does he like my mother. Be careful not to spook your spouse so bad they run off of the road!

Of course there is the line when the joy of commuting turns into sorrow. Usually at the spot, when the train or tram or other box of choosing is stuffed with way too many people and your cheek is comfortably pressed against someones armpit or the window someone had just been licking. Or when the standstill on the highway grows longer than 45 minutes and 22 seconds.

The approaching winter or course adds to this misery. Soon my beautiful moments with the rising sun are over, because I am on the road before the beloved fireball comes around. That is genuinely depressing.  Also the Brussels metro which is also something I sometimes enjoy from. I really hate it. Most of the time it is just packed full. And sometimes it is packed full with strange people, who, for instance, lick the poles.

But all in all, there are also more horrible things to do, than get stuck in the jams, that’s what I think at least. How about you? How do you feel of commuting, is it terror or time to read your newspaper in peace and quiet?