Friday, October 15, 2010

Welcome to Belgium!

 When the name Belgium comes up, what are the first thoughts that cross your mind?

Go on. Think about it. Write them down on a scrap of paper next to your computer. I'll wait...


Then write them in the comments section on this post, I'm quite curious about them!

When I first came to Belgium in September 1999 all I knew about the place was that they made my favourite chocolate (at the time): Côte d'Or Double Lait.

That French Fries should be called Belgian Fries. 

That Tintin was Belgian. 

And that Cesar thought the Belgians the bravest of the Gauls -much to Asterix and Obelix's chagrin! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Basel-Bâle-Basilea: where Switzerland meets France and Germany!

Map adapted from
Well, that went by in a flash! They say time flies when you're having fun - which is true - but when you're only in a city for 40h and have a packed program (centred around a housewarming party, yay!), then it's like time is even more condensed and everything feels more intense!

So, instead of starting this blog off with Mallorca (back when I started fidgeting with the layout and name in August), or Belgium (where I'm spending the Fall), I'm inaugurating it with a little corner of Switzerland, nudged in a tiny corner (or should I say triangle?) between the French and German borders!

Basel, Basle, Bâle (French), Basilea (Italian, Spanish) might be small (only ~166'000 inhabitants) by most countries' standards, but it is Switzerland's third largest city! In fact, when you consider the "transborder" population, the numbers rise to 830'000 inhabitants and it becomes Switzerland's second largest city! "Transborder" you say? Sorry, my brain is making up its own words again! Most of the people who work in Basel (major pharmaceutical industries and research centres) actually live just across the borders in France and Germany where the cost of living is much lower. Talk about commuting to another country to work! But one of the towns on the French side, St Louis, is basically just a suburb of Basel, and when we drove through there to get to our friends' house, you couldn't tell where one finished and the other started except for the Border control booth... which was empty! (and which is why we went that way instead of via the highway, better for smuggling Belgian chocolate into the country, you don't want the Swiss knowing you're bringing in the higher-quality competition! lol!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Off to Neverland! Second star on the right and straight on 'till morning! 


Sorry 'bout that... for some reason it just popped into my head right after I wrote the title for this post... must have Peter Pan on my brain or something! :p

I'm afraid Never-Neverland isn't on my current travel itinerary, but if do manage to get hold of some pixie dust, rest assured I promise to take you all along with me! :D Until then we'll just have to make do with this little blue marble we live on called planet Earth (I still don't get why it's not called planet Ocean, but that's the oceanographer in me raising her scientific head).

I started setting this blog up back in August and had intended to launch it with a visit to Mallorca, but my cousins kept me so busy there it was all I could do to find a bit of time to check y e-mails and download my photos! Then I wanted to wait until I could set up all the fancy trappings (tabs, widgets, background pics etc.), but was so busy with other things couldn't do that either and the 2 months later this blog has yet to be inaugurated! So I figured hell with the layout, I'll fiddle with it over the next couple of months whenever I have time, and was planning on beginning with a "Welcome to Belgium" post since I'm going to be spending the Fall here... but it looks like I might start with a short trip to Switzerland instead since I'm heading out to Basel this weekend!

The tabs will be set up with general info (the who and why of this blog) as well as some dedicated to continents or countries I'm living in (i.e. Spain and Belgium) with links to related posts. Occasionally you'll see a blog post appear with nothing in it but a country name because I'll be updating it with links to posts about that country as I write about it. The labels will be continent, country and city related to help you find your way around my globe.

I had thought of importing posts already written on my other blog that would fit in here... but I think when the subjects come up I'll just summarize and link to them over there, unless they're 100% travel related in which case I'll just transfer them here and have them "published" on the date they were originally published on the other blog.

What to expect from this new experiment of mine? Well honestly I'm not sure! I'll try to keep it lively and original, and still provide you with some practical or basic information on wherever it is I'm talking about. There will be plenty of pictures since one of the things I like about blogging is it gives me an excuse to do something with all the photos I love shooting. Oh, and keep an eye out for Pol the travelling octopod... he might show up in some of the most random places! ;o)

Hope you enjoy the ride!
CrazyCris, globetrotter extraordinaire.