Atomium, Breakfast and Goodbye

October 22, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Photos, Travel 194 views

AtomiumThe second “must see” tourist attraction in Brussels after the Grand Place has got to be the Atomium, a bizarre and unearthly structure built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, which is, in theory, modeled after an iron crystal. I saw it once when I was flying into or out of a layover at the Brussels airport, which makes sense given its proximity to the airport. If nothing else, it’s very big and very bizarre.
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Rainy Saturday in Antwerp

October 20, 2012 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Travel 317 views

Antwerp ArchitectureOn Saturday, October 13th, my fifth anniversary, I took the Metro into the center of Brussels with Simon, and from the train station, we bought tickets to go to Antwerp. I like train travel; I miss it from my days in Denmark. It’s a lot more comfortable than traveling on an airplane. The trip from Brussels to Antwerp took under an hour. I had been impressed by the architecture of the Brussels train station, but then I was absolutely floored by the majesty of the Antwerp station.
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Birthday Dinner at Comme chez Soi

October 18, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Partying, Photos, Reviews, Travel 359 views

Comme Chez SoiI have long been a fan of my blog buddy, Simon’s, penchant for blogging about his hobby of going to really expensive Michelin Star restaurants. He really is quite prolific. I knew it was an expensive hobby, but I always wondered just how much it costs, what the ambience of the places feels like, and, of course, what such exotic food must feel like in one’s mouth. When he asked what kind of restaurants I would like to try during my visit, I immediately got excited about maybe going to one of these fancy places. He sent me a list of possible options, with links to menus and his blog posts about each one, and I very quickly settled on the most expensive one, Comme chez Soi.
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Stew and Beer and Chocolate in Bruges

October 17, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Photos, Travel 347 views

Bruges Sunny SkyI began my thirty-fourth birthday with a pretty severe hangover from the night before. It’s been years since I’ve had such a throbbing head in the morning, especially from such a small amount of beer (two liters over six hours), so I suspect it was more about not having a bottle of water beside my bed like I normally do to stay hydrated at night. Anyway, it was a bit of a slow morning. Brian and I had made tentative plans the night before to maybe go visit the town of Bruges, a little more than an hour away. I was delighted when he showed up with his whole family, his wife, Cloe, and two sons, Aiden and Milo, ages 4 and 0.5 respectively.
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Drinking Beer in Brussels

October 16, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Partying, Photos, Travel 354 views

Delirium Cafe WindowTired and hungry from my multi-kilometer tourism trekking, it was time to taste some typical Belgian food and, more importantly, some Belgian beers. My hosts, Simon and Paola, chose La Villette, a small, warm restaurant boasting Belgian Cuisine. Simon and I took the metro into the city and stopped off for a pre-dinner beer at a dark, cozy pub. It was down a small alley that had actually caught my eye earlier in the day. It was a narrow, dank, stone alley off of a main pedestrian street that led, after six meters, to two doorways: one led, jarringly, into a bright florescent lit shopping mall, and the other to a dark pub.
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Walking Around Brussels

October 15, 2012 By: erik Category: Belgium, Food, Photos, Travel 307 views

Cinquantenaire ArchesOn the evening of Wednesday, October 10, my plane landed in Charleroi airport. That’s Brussels’ version of the out of town airport that the budget airlines fly to; London, Rome, Stockholm, and Paris have similar airports. I walked past customs and out into the arrivals area and began searching for my ride, an internet friend named Brian. After about three minutes of walking up and down the very small area outside a cafe, I saw Brian entering the doors. We shook hands and headed to his car, which had been parked for such a small amount of time that the parking machine didn’t charge him a euro dime.
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Nora’s First Bicycle Ride

October 09, 2012 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Videos 116 views

Nora on a bicycleToday I had to go pick up Nora after school because my wife had to work an extra hour in the afternoon. Unsure what the standard procedure was, I followed the other mothers’ lead and walked over to the school playground and gave Nora her sandwich (all Spanish kids eat a sandwich between lunch and dinner). She snarfed it down and played with some of her classmates, particularly with the two girls whom she has known for a few years from daycare.
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Meeting Internet People

October 08, 2012 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings 154 views

Facebook Friends BreakdownThis week, I am traveling to Brussels to meet some very good friends of mine, with whom I communicate on a daily basis, but whom I have never actually met in person. This is a very, very strange phenomenon which has only been possible since the rise of the internet. Maybe before the internet, you could have a pen pal that you get to know intimately before meeting, but that’s not the same as feeling part of a social group dynamic like I do.
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Four Noras – From 6 months to 3.5 years

October 02, 2012 By: erik Category: Geeky, Offspring, Photography, Photoshop 282 views

Nora, at 2.5 and 3.5 years oldI love it when creative photography ideas come to fruition. When Nora was six months old, pretty much as soon as she could maintain a propped up sitting position in time for me to snap a photograph, I created a composite photograph of four of her sitting on our ugly green sofa. Then, a year later, I followed up with a shot of her six month old self with her eighteen month old self, which clearly left two spots on the sofa for older versions. Last year, I filled in the third spot with a 2.5 year old Nora. The time has now come (I set a calendar reminder) to continue the September tradition and add the fourth Nora to the sofa.
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Do NOT pay more than $14 for your ESTA Application!

October 01, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Internet, Marketing, Scary, Travel, USA 12,901 views

Department of Homeland SecurityIn preparation for our upcoming trip to the United States, I was double checking that everything is in order. After last year’s ESTA debacle, I want to be 100% sure we have my wife’s immigration approval number before leaving for the airport. So I did an internet search for ESTA to search for her approval number. What I found is a system of websites designed to scam unknowing foreign travelers out of their money.
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