Saturday, June 21, 2003

Belgium, Bitburg, and other adventures...

Yesterday we had to drive a friend to Liege, Belgium to pick up an antique desk that he purchased. It was a pretty drive...the autobahn took us past Maastricht, Netherlands, which looks to be an interesting city. And the next biggest city was Liege, which I thought was really cool. We got to our destination (after several wrong exits off the autobahn) and the woman spoke only German and French, so between our friend, who speaks okay German, and me with my very rusty French, we were able to communicate with the woman and get the sought after desk.

We got back kind of late, but starving, so Lance and I met our friends Scott & Sheila at Il Genio's in Birgden...a charming little Italian place that (unlike everything else here) actually stays open late. There was a pretty large group of Germans sitting in the restaurant...they were the only ones there besides us. As they left, they walked past our table and said a friendly "Tschuss!"...if I spelled that right...(Which is like saying "Cheers!" when you are in England)...that's the typical way you say goodbye to someone here, something that I often forget to say.

Today we got up early, picked up Scott & Sheila, and headed to Bitburg, which is about a 2 hour drive, partially through Belgium. This was a gorgeous drive through a mountainous area...little villages nestled in the valleys. I really wish I could've taken pictures, but it's illegal to stop along the autobahn unless your car breaks down or something. (I've only taken 2 pictures since I've been here...all the cool stuff I've seen by car). We got to Bitburg, and our exit took us past the Bitburger Brewery (probably the most popular beer in Germany...there are Bitburger signs EVERYWHERE and lots of people have their logo "Bitte ein bit" on their cars). But our destination was the Bitburg Air Base. We got a lot of desperately needed items there that we couldn't get at the bases around here (and there are 3 bases within a half an hour of each other here) and since their commissary is larger, we did a huge amount of grocery shopping and now have our cupboards, fridge and freezer filled (and yes, we brought a cooler so stuff wouldn't spoil on the way home).

We took a different way back...didn't go through Belgium at all, just stayed in Germany the whole way. It was a longer drive, but also very pretty. And our route took us past a really cool looking castle (which again, I couldn't take a picture of, since we were whizzing past at about 75 mph).

As we dropped Scott and Sheila off, an ice cream truck came down their street. I don't know why I thought it was funny that they should have them here in Germany, but for some reason, I found it highly amusing. But they actually sell ice cream cones, rather than stuff like ice cream sandwiches and fudge bars.

There's a "Pop-Rock Oldie" festival tonight in Birgden, which we plan to go to. They started setting up last night and they have bumper cars! We are interested in seeing if they are going to be singing the songs in English or in German...the main feature is a band called "Good Old Lovers," so we're guessing English. They do love their English language music here, after all. Most German and Dutch stations play American music...and the deejay between songs sounds like "Blah blah blah blah BRITNEY SPEARS!...blah blah blah"'s just funny. And I also like the polka techno...pretty funny stuff. And we found a Dutch karoake show on tv that is pretty funny...they sing most of the songs in English, but they do Dutch versions of some of the American songs, which is pretty hilarious. I also like when we find the Muppet Show in French...but the Dutch stations tend to show American tv with Dutch subtitles, which is good. And MTV has German we can at least watch some television besides CNN Europe (although Fresh Prince of Bel Air is pretty funny dubbed over in German, even if we can't understand it).

Well, I think that's it for now. Tomorrow is a day of relaxation, since we've been so busy. Next weekend...COLOGNE!!!! I can't wait! We're taking the train...Lance is anxious to show me the big cathedral and we want to visit some museums and I think he wants to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe again. I'm pretty sure we're going on Saturday, since Sunday is his birthday and I think he wanted to spend it here at home.

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