Brussels, Belgium

Brussels Belgium was a little further than most of our day trips from Baumholder, but when Nick found out it was only 3 hours away, he insisted we had to go. He was right, it was beautiful and we may have to go back at some point. First thing we did in Brussels was eat some waffles, yum! I reccomend the Liege waffle over the Brussels waffles (Brussels waffles are pretty much like the big waffles you get in the U.S., Liege waffles however are smaller and thicker and have a yummy caramelized middle).

I don’t know if this photo does it justice, but this square was absolutely gorgeous. Loved it so much. Brussels is so pretty, the architecture is it’s own thing.

Everyone was touching this statue, I have no idea why but I decided I had to do it.

Mannequin Pis, a statue of a little boy peeing, there are lot’s of silly stories as to why this statue was put up, whatever the truth is it’s a silly statue. While standing there we got to hear an old man sing a catchy little song about it, that still gets stuck in my head from time to time.

 It was a bit rainy and cold that day so jonah tucked his legs up in his stroller and snuggled in, he looks like ET in the basket…

 I love all the neat old churches in Europe, I really never get sick of them.

The Belgian palace.

Indoor shopping street, very neat and very expensive.

Belgian chocolate, need I say more? YUM!

 As we were on our way out of town Nick said we had to stop at “Atomium”, apparently it is Belgium’s “space needle”. It was originally built for the 1958 world fair, it is a huge model of a cell. You can go inside and there are escalators connecting each of the spheres. It was meant to be temporary but was so popular that it gained monument status and stayed. It’s huge, you can’t tell in this photo how big it is.

Trier, Germany

Trier is a city of Roman ruins. You heard me right, Roman ruins in Germany. The Roman Empire was HUGE. Even in a modern day car it would take you at least 16 hours to drive from Rome to Trier. It is a very cute town and feels a lot like Italy (probably due to all the Roman remains that dominate the architectural style.)  We ate some yummy sushi for lunch and discovered that Jonah LOVES tofu, which is great because he won’t eat red meat.

In Trier is the oldest cathedral in the country. The cool thing about it is that it was built and added onto over such a long period of time that pretty much every architectural style is represented. In one spot you can see an old Roman column peaking through a newer column. The church has a “relic” inside, in a big fancy display room in a beautiful box, supposedly is Christ’s robes.

And of course, you can’t go to Trier without seeing the Porta Niagra, the very impressive old city gate. Roman architecture was all about making a big impression.

And then there was Nick’s favorite site to see in Trier, Karl Marx’s house. Nick is fascinated by Marx, he feels that his theories were brilliant, if only the world were more perfect!

There were also Constantine the Emporer’s bath houses remains there, but you had to pay to get in and we just peaked over the fence and called it good.

A little bit of France

We crossed the border into France and visited Straussburg, where we got a bit lost, then saw a beautiful classic gothic cathedral, a neat astronomical clock in the cathedral, and ate a delicious sandwich and a chocolate eclair, yum! (This cathedral is the world’s sixth tallest church.)

Next we headed a little ways out of town up on a beautiful hill to see the natzweiler-struhof concentration camp. We wanted to see a concentration camp while in Germany, while this is not one of the bigger ones there is still a lot left there. This particular camp was where they sent the “criminals”. Because these people were considered criminals (though many of there offenses were very small) they were medically experimented on. Some of the signs described the various experiments, it was very difficult to read. Throughout the camp they had large photos of very old men and women standing where the photos were placed, these photos were of survivors of this camp when they came back to see it. Very moving.

The front gate and guard tower

A memorial, see the person on it?

Original bunkhouses, a few left.

Where they burned the bodies.

A “surgical table” for experiments.

There was also a little museum you could go through, it was down in this huge cave that they had built at the time of the camp, to this day no one knows what the cave/bunker was for, very strange. Only a mile or two from the camp there was a resort, it’s a beautiful area. Can you believe that people were vactioning right there next to it? Do you think they knew? The whole thing is just so unreal, and it really wasn’t that long ago.

After a very sobering visit we stopped in Molsheim for dinner. We tried to find a French restaurant but all they had was Italian and Chinese. When I asked a local about it he said “this is not really France”. This particular piece of France used to get traded back and forth between France and Germany a lot, so I guess they’ve lost their identity!

Idar-Oberstein castle

On Monday, Mandy sent us out on our own to hike up to the castle in Idar-Oberstein. We saw lot’s of slugs on the way up the mountain. The view from the top was gorgeous.


Our first day in Germany Mandy took us to Bernkastel-kues, a cute little fairy tail town on the banks of the Moselle river complete with really old half timbered houses and a castle on the hill. (The house in the first picture was built in 1456!)

Next we wandered down the river a little ways to check out a festival going on in Traben-Trabach. It was your typical little festival complete with carnival rides. Jonah had to have a spin on the merry go round.

Our trip to Germany…

Over the next few days I will be chronicling our trip to Germany for you. We drove there on July 9th and drove back July 17th. We stayed with some friends that we met on the Rome trip, Mandy and Josh, in Baumholder Germany (Josh was not able to be there until the last few days sadly). We passed through Switzerland on our way there. Right before the Swiss border is the beautiful Lake Como, we stopped to take a break from the car and take some photos. Just over the border to Switzerland is Lake Lugano, also beautiful, we need to make a trip back sometime just to go to the lake!


I promised you to post about our trip to Rome way back in May. And I pretty much forgot about it until tonight. So here you are…

Nick went TDY to Rome to film a wounded warrior’s spiritual retreat. I decided to tag along and take advantage of a free hotel room and just do my own thing during the day. Well the Chaplain in charge of the retreat bought a few too many tickets and decided to just let me tag along on all their tours. It was amazing!

Potty time

Oh and speaking of toilets…Jonah has decided to potty train himself. I bought a little potty almost a year ago, and he uses is sometimes when he first wakes up. But in the past week or so he has been telling me when he needs to pee and has even pooped on the potty five times!!! I have been kind of dragging my feet on training him because Europe is not potty friendly, you have to pay to pee. And I really like the convenience of changing his diaper when and where I please. (Is that bad??) I just don’t want to deal with trying to find a potty around here the minute he tells me he needs to pee cuz sometimes they are hard to come by, or scarey (i.e. the hole). But Jonah is taking initiative on this one and it looks like we are on our way…

Getting behind….

So I’m getting a little behind on my blogging…we just got back from a trip to Germany to see some friends and some sites. It was tons of fun and I promise to eventually post about it.

Speaking of behinds…this is a public bathroom. I call it “the hole”. This particular hole is special, it has little islands for your feet…usually you just have to straddle the hole. Not all public bathrooms are like this, but I dread the ones that are!