Europe 2000 (Part 2)

December 20

The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become until he goes abroad. I speak now, of course, in the supposition that the gentle reader has not been abroad, and therefore is not already a consummate ass. ~  Mark Twain

To the best of my knowledge (or anyone else’s for that matter), this completes the blogging of all trips taken over the last several decades. In order to amuse myself for the remaining time in pandemic quarantine, I plan to take up whittling . . . ~ Me


[We’re still in Antwerp, Belgium – the locale for Professor T., the best thing on TV since The Daily Show . . . ]

[If you are a fan of Professor T., you will recognize the Antwerp skyline . . . ]

[The backside of the Het Steen Castle. There are backsides; and then there are backsides . . . ]

In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language. ~  Mark Twain

It is the right of a traveler to vent their frustration at every minor inconvenience by writing of it to their friends. ~  Susanna Clarke

[The Stadhuis (City Hall) of Antwerp stands on the western side of Antwerp’s Grote Markt (Great Market Square). Erected between 1561 and 1565, this Renaissance building incorporates both Flemish and Italian influences. The Stadhuis is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Hertage List along with the belfries of Belgium and France (Wikipedia).]

[Appears to be exterior dining in Downtown Square . . . ]

[Antwerp Cathedral fronted by Pieter Paul Rubens statue . . . ]

[And the Super fronting the Pieter Paul Rubens statue and the Antwerp Cathedral . . . ]

One time we played a concert in Antwerp, Belgium. At least I thought it was Antwerp, Belgium. Turns out it was a Stop ‘n Shop in Wisconsin somewhere, but it was fun man. ~ Slash

[‘Den Deugniet‘ – The Rascal . . . ]

[A building of some import – import of what, I have no idea . . . ]

[The Super at the entrance to something else likely of import . . . ]


[I finally captured our fellow travelers, Rose & Dick McMullen (also guests of the Steiners in Brussels). The four of us were all bureaucrats in D.C., the McMullens subsequently retired to Salem, Massachusetts, and snowbirded to Sarasota, Florida . . . ]

[St. Nicholas Church: This baroque church on the Marktplatz, that incorporates part of a 14th century church, dates mainly from the 1720s. The two spires, added in the 1890s, have become symbols for Eupen. The contrasting styles of the interior and exterior reflect Eupen’s location between Wallonia (French Belgium) and Germany. Eupen is the primary city in Belgium’s German area. Eupen is in the Belgian German-speaking Community (]

[Eupen is about 90 miles SE of Antwerp, and about 90 east of Brussels, our core and next destination city . . . ]

Just to interpret the Flemish for all at the patisserie, the yellow sign says “Snowballs”, one piece for 22BF (Belgian francs) and five for 100BF! Just thought that you’d want to know that you were there before the Euro took over…. Well, those were the days! ~ Walt Steiner, our Brussels host

[Route of the Dutch Grand Prix?]

[WWII heroes monument in Spa, Belgium (about 15 SW of Eupen) . . . ]


[We have arrived at the Steiner’s in Kraainem just in time for Happy Hour . . . ]

[And Roy Gorena, our fellow traveler during the 1997 trip, is also here . . . ]

[D’Arcy, a Steiner offspring . . . ]

[D’Arcy, and her little brother Eric (below), are all growed up now, and traveling the world to an extent not imagined by their parents . . . ]

There are two kinds of travel: first class and with children. ~  Robert Benchley


[First, check out the map to find out if we are indeed in Amsterdam . . . ]

[The Westerkerk is a Reformed church within Dutch Protestant Calvinism in central Amsterdam. It lies in the most western part of the Grachtengordel neighborhood, next to the Jordaan. The tower, called the Westertoren (“Western tower”), is the highest church tower in Amsterdam, at 87 meters (±286 feet). The crown topping the spire is the Imperial Crown f Austria of Maximilian (Wikipedia).]

[Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square) is a major square in central Amsterdam, named after Rembrandt van Rijn who owned a house nearby from 1639 to 1656. The statue of Rembrandt was made in 1852 by sculptor Louis Royer and is of cast iron. It was cast in one piece and it is Amsterdam’s oldest surviving statue in a public space (Wikipedia).]

[After standing as the backdrop above, Rose, Dick, and the Super head for our ultimate goal – the Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw. The Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague on 19 November 1798 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first located in the Royal Palace and later in the Trippenhuis. The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer (Wikipedia).]

[The Super scrapbooked this as “Young Lovers.” Hmmmmm . . . ]

[Something to the affect that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” . . .

[Dick wasn’t carrying a shopping bag before we visited the diamond store?]

[Better check these guys for additional shopping bags after visiting here . . . ]

[The Basilica of Saint Nicholas is located in the Old Centre district in Amsterdam, very close to Amsterdam’s main railway station and the canal, Oudezijds Kolk. It is the city’s primary Roman Catholic church was completed in 1887 (Wikipedia).]

[Amsterdam Western Church Clock Tower . . . ]

[Westerkirk Clock Tower . . . ]


[Rose & Dick searching for a fine dining experience in the largest city on Belgium’s coast, about 170 miles SW of Amsterdam . . . ]

[Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk (Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul), the main church of Ostend, is a Roman Catholic Neo-Gothic church. It is built on the ashes of a previous church that occupied the site. Construction started in 1899 and was completed and consecrated on August 31, 1908. Its stained glass windows were destroyed during the two World Wars and were replaced. The church is 70 meters long and 30 meters wide. Its spires are 72 meters high (Wikipedia).]


[Simon Stevin (a Belgian mathematician) Square in Bruges (20 miles west of Ostend) with the Church of our Lady. Having visited here twice now, Bruges is one of our all-time favorite cities . . . ]

[The Markt (“Market Square”) of Bruges is located in the heart of the city and covers an area of about 1 hectare. Some historical highlights around the square include the 12th-century belfry and the West Flanders Provincial Court (originally the Waterhall, which in 1787 was demolished and replaced by a classicist building that from 1850 served as provincial court and after a fire in 1878 was rebuilt in a neo-Gothic style in 1887. In the center of the market stands the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck (Wikipedia).]

I could sooner reconcile all Europe than two women. ~ Louis XIV

[The Arendts Garden has modern sculpture representing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which are described in the Book of Revelations, the last book in the New Testament of the Bible. Though some interpretations vary, the four riders are seen as symbolizing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death (]

[The Church of Our Lady in Bruges, dates mainly from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. This church is essentially “…a monument to the wealth, sophistication, taste, and devotion of this most Catholic city, whose history and faith stand today celebrated in this wonderful building.”  Its tower, at 115.6 metres (379 ft) in height, remains the tallest structure in the city and the second tallest brickwork tower in the world (after St. Martin’s Church in Landshut, Germany) (Wikipedia).]

The white people should go back to Europe, and the country should be returned to the American Indians. This is the future I would like to see for the so-called United States. ~ Bobby Fischer

[Literally, a Rose between two Oberts . . . ]

It is easier for women to succeed in business, the arts, and politics in America than in Europe. ~ Hedy Lamarr

I don’t really have a type. Men in general are a good thing. ~ Jennifer Aniston

Even phantoms don’t inhabit Bruges any more. It’s as though the living are the ghouls now, the zombies. It’s so uncannily empty, silent, lifeless… ! ~ Cathy Dobson

[Rose crossing a canal bridge . . . ]

On a New York subway you get fined for spitting, but you can throw up for nothing. ~ Lewis Grizzard

[Enjoy a carriage ride through the heart of the city of Bruges, along the canals, and historical small bridges, relaxing to the gentle sound of the hoof beat of the horse. The coach-driver explains the city to you, and halfway the trip, the horse is getting a rest at the Beguinage where you can descend (]

Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. ~ Mark Twain

[Three-time winners of the Tourists of the Year award!]

Facebook just sounds like a drag, in my day seeing pictures of peoples vacations was considered a punishment. ~ Betty White

[The Church of Our Lady, who brick spire reaches an astounding 122 meters, houses the Madonna and Child from 1504. It is one of only a few of Michelangelo’s works to ever leave Italy within his lifetime. The sculpture was originally meant for the Siena Cathedral in Italy but was purchased in Italy by two Brugean merchants and brothers, Jan and Alexander Mouscron, and donated to the Church of Our Lady in 1514 (]

[In the same church, the body of Charles the Bold in Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Kerk in Bruges next to his daughter Mary of Burgundy (1457-1482).]

What’s not to love about Bruges? ~ Rose & Dick

A memory: Brussels is 60 miles SE of Bruges. About halfway between them is Ghent. We stopped at a restaurant in Ghent on the way back to Brussels. There was one other couple in the restaurant sitting some distance from us. On their way out, they stopped at our table and asked if we were Americans. We asked them how they knew. They said after we cut our meat, we put our knife down and transferred the fork to our right hand before eating. Apparently only Americans do that. Who knew? And isn’t it silly?

[Saying adieu and merci to our hosts in Kraainem . . . ]

The only way to learn a language properly, in fact, is to marry a man of that nationality. You get what they call in Europe a ‘sleeping dictionary.’ Of course, I have only been married five times, and I speak seven languages. I’m still trying to remember where I picked up the other two. ~ Zsa Zsa Gabor


[The London Underground (also known simply as the Underground, or by its nickname the Tube) is a rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent counties. The Underground has its origins in the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground passenger railway. Opened in January 1863, it is the first line to operate underground electric traction trains. The network has expanded to 11 lines, and in 2017/18 was used for 1.357 billion passenger journeys, making it the world’s 12th busiest metro system. The 11 lines collectively handle up to 5 million passenger journeys a day (Wikipedia).]

[The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, England, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art, and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been widely collected during the era of the British Empire. It documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national in the world. The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of Sir Hans Sloane.  It first opened to the public in 1759 on the site of the current building. Its expansion over the following 250 years was largely a result of expanding British colonisation and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the Natural History Museum in 1881. Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Elgin Marbles of Greece and the Rosetta Stone of Egypt (Wikipedia).]

[The Rosetta Stone . . . ]

[The guy in the pork pie hat is the one from the ancient civilization . . . ]

[It’s OK. We all see it. We all see it . . . ]

The streets of London have their map, but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner? ~ Virginia Woolf

[Piccadilly Circus is a road junction and public space of London’s West End in the City of Westminster. It was built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with Piccadilly. In this context, a circus, from the Latin word meaning “circle”, is a round open space at a street junction (Wikipedia).]

[The Horses of Helios (and the Super), also known as The Four Bronze Horses of Helios, is a bronze sculpture of four horses by Rudy Weller. The sculpture was installed in 1992 in a fountain under a canopy at the base of the building at 1 Jermyn Street, on the corner where Piccadilly meets Haymarket, near Piccadilly Circus in London (Wikipedia).]

Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl, But she doesn’t have a lot to say, Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl,
But she changes from day to day . . .

I want to tell her that I love her a lot, But I gotta get a belly full of wine, Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl, Someday I’m going to make her mine, oh yeah, Someday I’m going to make her mine!

[So, toodle-oo from Westminster Abbey.]

If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize to all the widows and orphans, the tortured and impoverished, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. Then I would announce, in all sincerity, to every corner of the world, that America’s global interventions have come to an end, and inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the USA but now — oddly enough — a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims. There would be more than enough money. One year’s military budget of 330 billion dollars is equal to more than $18,000 an hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born. That’s what I’d do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I’d be assassinated. ~ William Blum

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