11 May 2012

Carnavale de Binche (21 February)

This is Carnaval!  Mardi Gras if you will.  Most people here celebrate the entire week.  The Carnaval in Binche is one of the most famous in Belgium.  We had a week of vacation, and all got dressed up in random costumes and went out to look at funny people throwing confetti!

Fun Exchange students!  Since I had been sick, it was one of the very first times I got to meet the newies!

The parade was a lot of different groups dressed up, starting with the group of small kids, all the way up to the "gilles" with the plumed hats!

They were extremely heavy!

By the way, after the giant hat-ted gilles, the famous part of the Carnaval de Binche are the oranges.  Everyone in the parade throws oranges to the crowd!

I even got hit in the mouth by one!

I don't know where the confetti came from, but it was already on the floor, so we threw it back into the air.

By the end of the night, this is what was left in my pockets.  3 blood oranges, my sunglasses, and 5 different flavoured Galler chocolate eggs.

I had my own camera, but it's battery died, so I have a second batch from somebody else's camera.  This is the station.

Exchange students with gilles.

Their wooden-shoed marches made rhythmic mini-parades all day until the main parade started!

Flying oranges.

Shopowners and inhabitants of the Grande Place at Binche know to put screens up so the oranges do not break the windows!

The finale was everyone swaying to the snare drum beat and throwing oranges to the crowd.  They didn't taste bad either, the oranges.  Though we were surprised that they were blood oranges.
It was easy to find and collect the oranges, there were thousands.  It was just more fun to hand them out than to feel obligated to eat them oneself!

10 May 2012

Bastogne 22 February

We love our Rotary district, 1630!  They plan excursions for us to interesting things around Belgium.  The kind of thing that we want to be able to say we've been to see.  That and we get to hang out with the über cool other kids.

First we visited a farm near Bastogne.

Saw some sheep, goats, alpaca, llamas,  some chickens.

and bunnies!

There's something about this that is run by mentally challenged people, and they also have an exhibit about wool and fabric.

Finally we visited the museum of the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne.  Saw some very interesting rooms and recreations and exhibits.

There is even an American memorial site with the names of all the states and stuff on it!

The Americans found it more interesting than most of the other countries who were there.

20th Fevr. Brussels with the Pollains

A cold, sunny day, my host mom Sylvie goes to a funeral in Brussels.  Marie, Cyril and I get to walk around Brussels for the day!

train station

train station.

Me ^^^                                                          Grand place

Hotel Amigo.  I was told this is where the famous, rich, and politically important get put up when they come to Brussels

Comic books are a really big deal to Belgians!

Mannequin Pis.  Naked this time.

A neat building between Central station, and the Grande Place

17th photo.

We're not sure what most of these buildings are... We know we're near the palace though.

The Palace of the King of the Belgians.

In one of Brussels many parks!  (Right before Cyril bit the dust in jumping over that grill there)

A piñata party!  I don't know why it's there.  I got to explain
to my host siblings what a piñata was!

Parliament house, right across the park from the palace.

A famous street sculpture in Brussels

The Belgian national anthem.  It has French, Dutch, and German versions.

We also got to visit the Atomium on this sunny sunny day!

That's me with Sylvie!

The Atomium was built for the world's fair in 1958, and is modeled after an iron atom.   Today, each ball contains a bit of an exposition.  Currently, it is about water conservation.  There's a little restaurant on the top, and some balls have meeting rooms in them.  Most of them even have 2 levels inside.

be. stands for Belgium.

Some stats

This is the stadium where I came to see the Belgian team play the US way back in September! 

A somewhat famous little attraction near the Atomium, Mini-Europe.  Like Lego-Europe, only not made of Legos!

That dome is the dome one can see in the 17th picture above.

The inside of the top.

The elevator had a glass ceiling.

Escalators between the balls!