Monday, March 27, 2006
I know we have already showed some pickies of Rome and Pisa, but here is an update of our actual photos! (the others were just from google!!).
We are getting used to doing self-portraits with four, and strangely enough, we coincidently are in the same positions!
As for the rest of the week... we visited the VUB on saturday (Vrije Universiteit Brussel - or in English, Free Univeristy of Brussels), so Tom could have an orientation for his course beginning in September. The professor was very impressed with how much research Tom had already done on the course itself. Hopefully this is an indication as to how he actually performs...!
Finally it's spring here, so we are also without scarves (for the first time since forever ago) and just down to 3 layers (as opposed to 5). But we do have sun which is a real bonus!
Not much else to say for the time being... maybe Tom will give an update in the near future.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Well I know we are a day late, but here is your birthday blog, Timmay!
Hope Tash gave you everything you ever dreamed of (how am I supposed to write this without being crass?!)!! And we hoped you enjoyed your trip to the football. Shame you cant join us for our next holiday, but I am sure that world-cup football (especially seeing Australia) will also be quite a good holiday (despite it being in Germany...)
Thanks for the fantastic holidays up until now, and see you (no doubt) within a few months!
Friday, March 17, 2006
Ok, now ready for round two! While we only had 2.5 days in Rome, I think we managed to see a lot. We did go to the colosseum - joined a horrible line, only to have a 'tour-recruiter' tell us that we could go straight in if we paid an extra €7 each, so being the impatient Aussies that we were, we thought why not?! We did go straight in, but that wasnt worth the €7 - however, our Italian tour guide was! She talked English in the Italian style (particulary focusing on increasing and decreasing intonation), and emphasised things like 'many people were keeeelled (killed)' and 'there were many liiiiiions' going really low on the last word of every sentence. We werent sure if she was taking the piss, but it was incredibly difficult not to laugh. While tears were coming out of my eyes from holding laughter in, I had a look around the group to see some irish girls also blowing their noses and wiping there eyes, I had a look to Tim and he had a dicky smile on his face while tears were also streaming out of his eyes. I give it to Tash tho - she was the most polite, and discretely told us to grow up, before she turned around and let out a little laughter herself! Considering you pay at least €10 for a good comedy show, €7 was a bargain!
The boys later went to the football (Lazio Vs Regina) - while Tash and I did more exploring. We had to have a Gelati on the Spanish steps (although, little sitting space). The 4 of us also all threw some coins in the Trevi fountain (for the homeless to take out later), and were just generally tourists.
Next vacation - 13 weeks until camping in Portugal.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Ok - it has been a week since our last entry, so I should update the blog as to what we have been doing since last Wednesday... Italia!
We flew into Pisa (good ol' Ryan air) on Friday afternoon, and just hung out a bit. As soon as we unboarded the plane, we knew immediately that it wasnt trenchcoat weather! We had an average temperature of 10-15°C for the 5 days, and then when we landed back in Brussels yesterday, we were greeted with -3°C. When does it ever end? At least we were greeted by cloudless, sun-filled skies at both destinations!
So, Pisa was quaint and lovely. Very unlike Rome! Clearly, the tower was the only main attraction in Pisa, but it was strange, and immaculate as well (also unlike Rome!). You could see how much it leant, but it wasnt until you had a look around the entire base, that you could really see how much it sunk. So we filled up our digital camera memory once again on this.
After a night in Pisa, we then boarded a 3.5 hour train to the city on 7 hills (although, they were more like bumps to me!). Rome was an a lovely city, filled to the brim with history and architectural ruins, but also tourists (yes, i am a hypocrite), even in winter. Thankfully, we didnt have to wait too long in line anywhere. And this includes the Vatican (because we werent going to join a queue which encircled an entire country!). So we missed the chapel (dont ask me how to spell sistien).
Will give my next round at a later time...
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
I was at uni last night, (as i should be every tuesday evening), and we were discussing the Flemish media - be that television, newspapers, radio, magazines etc. This is not the first time this has been brought to my attention... but i try to forget about it, because it only reminds me of what it is like in Australia. One of our tasks yesterday was to compare the Flemish media to that from Australia. I had to list a mainstream socialistic newspaper, a weekly news magazine (as a separate publication), catholic press, and the list goes on. Since I worked for 5 years in a newsagent, I thought this would be easy, but once again, I was a bit stumped. Sure I can list things like BRW, Economist, Bulletin, TIME, but these are definitely not read by the majority of the population. The top magazines in this country are news and current affairs magazines, some with political satire, but generally interesting, and not for the rich or upper class. It is strange for me to say that Women's weekly, New Idea, People and Picture (those of you who dont know the latter, don't feel too deprived!) are our biggest sellers (and those of you who think otherwise are living a fantasy!). 40% of the public listen to the Belgian equivalent of triple J. Another contrast to Australia (although, I think thankfully this number is rising...). Anyway, probably something that nobody else finds interesting, but I like how the youth here are especially interested in the news rather than what some celebrity ate for breakfast and the time of his/her bowel movements.
Monday, March 06, 2006
So after all the action during the week, we were pretty tired. Unfortunately I once promised to go to the theatre with Maarten and his girlfriend. We kind of looked forward to catching up and talking but theatre, not really.
But the play was really good. It was the story of Don Quichot. The funny thing was that the cast existed of normal actors and then actors with the Down syndrome. The actors weren’t there to feel sorry for or to have sympathy. No, they were used as equal persons and some of them actually made the play work. It was amazing to see a show like this. I don’t go often to the theatre (hardly ever) but this was definitely worth watching.
The most wonderful part was not the play but the theatre itself. We went to the Bourla, it is a theatre close to our place. Just try to imagine the big theatres where Mozart and Beethoven played when they still lived off course. It was marvellous. The whole ceiling was decorated with beautiful paintings. The balcony’s were kept intact. And even the chairs were still covered with red silk. The moment we stepped into the hall we felt in Austria in 1553. The funny things is that we had one the cheapest seats. The most expensive seats were in front of the stage downstairs, we had to sit on the first floor in our own box. We felt like kings an queens in those days. We loved it. So all in all it was a perfect night. People who wanna have a look, go to: www.toneelhuis.be. Then click on locaties (like the word says it, it means locations) We were in the Bourla-theatre.
Saturday we went bowling and had all-you-can-eat. Stuffed ourselves and by ther end of the night, only 7 o’clock we all went home and sat in front of tele because we were all too big on food.
One more thing for the music–lovers under us. I bought the album of Anthony and the Johnsons: I am a bird now as a present for Ingrid (last words were just to emphasise to everybody that I am the nice one in the relationship!). I bought it way too late. The album is wonderful. For those who don’t know: Anthony is actually a transvestite. But the music is really good. So really recommend it.
Okay from now on, it’s counting down. First Barca-Chelsea tomorrow which will be the way my week goes: terrible or in 7th heaven. We got a dinner party on Wednesday and then on Friday: ROME!!! By the way Tim: we have got a really good present for you, hoper you’re gonna like it.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
dEUS came, won and conquered Belgium. We knew the concert was going to be good because the were playing on home-turf. But it was the best concert we have ever seen, music-wise that is.
Driving there we got lost again in Brussels, for the second time in two days. So we have got a perfect record so far. So it took us a lot longer to get there due to bad navigating (according to Tom), bad driving (according to Ingrid). Luckily at Vorst we got a secret parking place that never lets us down. Vorst is becoming a second home considering all the concerts we've seen there last year. We have got it time that well that we exactly know how long the traffic jam will take going to the concert.
Then just got in, in time for the concert. Elbow was the opening act. Didn't see them though so can't give any remarks. dEUS was amazing. We knew there were a really eclectic band but they have got so many qualities in one band. Tom Barman is, apart from being a really good lead-singer, also from Antwerp and lives not far from us. Ingrid almost fainted when she saw him once. Reminded me of 16-year old girls when the Backstreet Boys walk on by. The musician of the year is their lead-guitarist (Mr. Mauro Pawlowski). Apart from that the violinist, drummer and bass-player are all talented musicians.
They found the perfect balance of old songs mixed with their classics. Off course the crowd was ecstatic, knowing every line from every song. For you aussies who are interested: dEUS is Belgium's biggest rock band. If you want to look up some of their songs: 'Suds and Soda', 'Fell of the floor, man', 'Little Arithmetics' and favorite and one of the highlights of the night 'Hotel lounge (be the death of me)'. So we had a great night and the best concert.
We are both worn out now after our 2day music-tour and tonight is the night for TV, bumming around and maybe playing some guitar.
My little Hitler forced me to mention her following remark 'next to the speakers, the bass coming through was enough to rattle the phlegm out of the worst emphysema patient'
So looking forward to the next one: Sophia in April. I think we're on about 30 concerts a year. I truly don't think I am over exaggerating.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Good morning all - last night was the first of 2 nights of concerts - this one was from Arctic Monkeys. I dont know if they are so huge in Australia yet (perhaps on the Js), but their biggest hit is 'I bet that you look good on the dancefoor'. It was a really cosy concert - a few hundred people, no security, and a very tight set. But the concert isnt really what this blog is about... We arrived around 8pm in the middle of Brussels (not the ideal city to be driving in on the best of days), and by 11pm, a good 10cm of snow had fallen. Despite being incredibly gorgeous over such an ugly city, we were then stuck with the 40km drive home while the snow was still coming down heavily. After giggling about how ridiculous the notion was, we plucked up the courage and headed off with an average speed of 10kph. It was really eery as every street looked like a ski piste - especially the wide-main roads. We got lost, due to all the signs being covered, and everything looked the same - white. Saw around 10-20 accidents on one road (all minor pings - it's hard to do much damage at 10kph) and we had to do a few handbrakies, slid sideways absolutely everywhere, but I give it to tom, despite the stress he pulled through well. We finally made it onto the main road after around an hour, which thankfully was salted, but still kept to 50 all the way home. The funniest thing actually was an ambulance in Brussels, sirens blaring etc, shooting past us at the grand speed of 15kph. A bit surreal!! All in all a good night, but hopefully a bit less slippery for dEUS tonight.