Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bruges

Bruges
 

Just an hour away by train from where I'm staying in Brussels, Bruges is a perfectly preserved medieval town in northwest Belgium and a UNESCO world heritage site.  Bruges is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North because of its canals.  The canals connect the city to the North Sea and trade routes.  These trade opportunities made Bruges a prosperous city in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries until the canals became filled with silt which made it difficult for ships to travel through.


The tower of the Church of Our Lady is the tallest structure in the city.


With its narrow cobblestone streets, bell towers, bridges and swans, Bruges looks like something right out of a fairy tale!


Bruges is certainly popular with tourists, but it's more than just a tourist destination.  It's still inhabited by about 20,000 people and many of the buildings now house modern day shops and hotels.




We took a boat tour through the canals which was a great way to view the city.  I was really surprised at how big the city is. 


So many of the doors and windows were decorated with pretty window boxes and I couldn't help taking pictures of a few of them.  There were flowers everywhere!





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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Belgian National Day

Belgian National Day
Belgian National Day
 
Belgium's National Day is celebrated on July 21.  Its a holiday that commemorates the signing of the Belgian constitution and the beginning of the Belgian constitutional monarchy.  It's a day of national pride much like our July 4th.  Mr. Pin Junkie and I had no idea about any of this and just got really lucky.  We popped out of a metro station and there was the royal procession . . .

Belgian National Day

and King Philippe of Belgium!

Belgian National Day

We went over to the park right next to the royal palace where there were many groups that were performing re-enactments and demonstrations like these soldiers representing the Napoleonic wars.

Belgian National Day

Belgian National Day

This group representing soldiers from World War I were great at posing for the cameras!

Belgian National Day

Belgian National Day

Then it was time for the parade.  The king made an appearance again to review the troops.

Belgian National Day

All the troops passed by in their parade best and really looked great!

Belgian National Day

Belgian National Day

There was a lot of military equipment on display too.  These tanks were a crowd favorite and were really loud!

Belgian National Day

We didn't stay for the fireworks show because by the end of the parade, we were tired of the crowds and needed something to eat.  We did get a quick look at the royal palace though.




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Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Home Away From Home

Our Home Away From Home

After eleven hours of travelling, I'm finally in Belgium!

We arrived in Brussels right before a big music festival and the airport and metro stations were packed with young people and all of them speaking so many different languages!  I heard French, German, Flemmish, and a few others I couldn't recognize.  Belgium itself has three official languages:  French, Dutch, and German.  In town, I'm mostly hearing French.  I'm trying to remember to say bonjour instead of hola, oui instead of si, and s'il vous plait instead of por favor, which is much harder than it sounds while my brain is in a heavy fog of jet lag.

While I try to get acclimated to a new time zone and my new surroundings, I thought I'd share a peek at my home away from home in Brussels.  The windows are open and I can hear the sounds of the neighborhood:  people talking in the street, church bells ringing, and music playing.  Our lovely apartment comes with everything we could possibly need including fresh croissants for breakfast!


Later today will be an excursion to explore our neighborhood.  We'll also make a visit to the grocery store to buy some snacks and things to stock our sunny and bright kitchen which is fully equipped and is nicer than our kitchen at home. 




I keep looking out the windows at the views of the narrow brick apartments and people walking home with their shopping to remind myself that I'm really here!   Still can't believe it!



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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pin Junkie Pin Party #76


Welcome to The Pin Junkie!  
 I'm on a mission to do the things I pin on Pinterest and try something new every day!
 I'm so glad you're here to party with us!


Here's what I've been up to this week:
the-best-books-to-read-this-summer http://www.thepinjunkie.com/2014/07/easy-bunting-tutorial.html the-right-way-to-use-pinterest

The next time you hear from me I'll be in Belgium!

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There were so many great projects shared at last week's party!  Thanks to everyone for sharing your projects, recipes and tips.  I can't wait to see what you will share this week!  But first, take a look at some features from last week's party.

10 Truths of Why My Blog is Not Successful
10 Truths of Why My Blog is Not Successful


How To Be An Imperfect DIY'er
How To Be An Imperfect DIY'er
by Angela at The DIY Homegirl


Tissue Paper Tassels
Tissue Paper Tassels


Microwave Lemon Bars
Microwave Lemon Bars
by Trish at Mom On Timeout

Word Search Pillow
Word Search Pillow
by Sarah at TOMFO



If you were featured this week, please grab a button and show it off!

The Pin Junkie


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Now it's your turn to share what you've been working on.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to link up your projects, crafts, and recipes! 
The rules for this link party are easy!
Here's what you need to know:

1.  Link back in some way.  You can get my blog button in the sidebar.
2.  Link up something YOU made - it can be a craft, recipe, or project as long as YOU did it. (No giveaways, contests, or link parties please).
3.  Follow The Pin Junkie on Pinterest, GFC, or Facebook.
4.  Link directly to a specific post - not your main blog (Keep it family friendly, please)
5.  Show some love by checking out some of the other links and HAVE FUN!

By linking up to The Pin Junkie, you are giving permission to share your post and images on my social media networks and feature them on The Pin Junkie.

If you'd like to receive email reminders about when the party starts and keep up to date on important Pin Junkie news, just sign up with your email below. 



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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Right Way to Use Pinterest

The Right Way to Use Pinterest
The Right Way to Use Pinterest

1.  Pin with restraint
I know it's fun, but don't go on a pinning spree.  If you pin everything in sight, you'll fill up your followers' feeds with your pins, which they won't appreciate.  Pinterest will also block you if you pin too much at one time, so avoid over pinning.

2.  Pin selectively
Don't pin every single pin on someone else's board.  If you find yourself pinning a lot from someone, be nice and follow them.  If you repin a lot of content from someone's board, even if you follow them, they may block you.  Some people don't mind if you pin half their board because they are flattered.  Others don't like this AT ALL.  They feel they have put a lot of time and effort into creating and curating their board and don't want someone else taking their pins.  (To me "taking" pins doesn't really make sense because 80% of content on Pinterest are repins.)  Don't be a copy-cat and pin original content when you can.

3.  Share
Don't be stingy.  I think most pinners understand that Pinterest is a community that works best when people share.  I also think some pinners can be a little over zealous with the blocking feature.  There are times when you might need to block someone, but try to use this feature sparingly.

4.  Be nice
If you make a comment on a pin, be respectful.  If you can't say something nice, don't comment.  Enough said.

5.  Follow the rules on group boards
Often the rules for group boards will be posted at the top of the board.  Follow the posted rules or you could be removed from the board.  Board administrators may have limits to how many pins you can post per day.  Be sure to follow those limits.  If no limits are mentioned, limit yourself  to 3-5 pins at a time.  Don't over pin on group boards and don't pin content that doesn't relate to the theme of the group board.

6.  Pin correctly
Make sure pins have links back to the original source.  Don't pin from Google or other search engine results.  Pin from the permalink and not from the main url homepage.  That way when someone repins your pin, they can easily click through to the correct web page.

The Right Way to Use Pinterest


More great Pinterest info! 

how to find group boards on Pinterest how-to organize Pinterest boards how-to-get-invited-to-pinterest-group boards




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