Saturday, March 31, 2012

Le sapin de Noël

By the time Thanksgiving was over Jim and I had purchased our plane tickets to spend Christmas in the US.  I'll admit I had mixed feelings about going home.  On the one hand this would be our only Christmas together in Switzerland, on the other I hadn't seen my family and friends since August.  In the end we decided to go back.  But in return I demanded our own Christmas tree.   Even if I had to buy all new lights and ornaments and it died while we were gone, I wanted my own tree.

We picked up the tree at Jumbo a Home Depot esq store in Geneva.  And I found the lights and ornaments at Ikea and a local department store.   It was a little sparse but over all I liked the tree. 

looking a little pathetic when we came back from Xmas

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Remember Thanksgiving?  Cold, breezy November where it mostly rains and you need the heat on in the car early in the morning.  

This past Thanksgiving started off little less "American" for me.  Jim was sent to Amsterdam for work so I spent the actual holiday with the people I work for.  Krista took off early from her job but since Anna still had school it seemed like every other day.  We made a few appetizers and desserts and watched the Thanksgiving parade at 3pm (horray for Slingbox).  The kids mostly played and I went home around 9 and that was that.

The next day I was off and was greatly surprised when the postman ran my bell around 11am.  I had a package! 

Fayelle had sent me a giant box of Thanksgiving-ness (and a few Christmas things).  I was so ecstatic.  I now had a few essentials for having Thanksgiving in Geneva, plus some other great things, like Terra chips which I ate in less than a day.  Horray for cousins!

Jim returned home Friday night and on Saturday we were invited to a real American Thanksgiving with some other Expats.  We headed to Lausanne to join Dorothy and Bob at Lindsey and Jeff's apartment for dinner.  Jeff also works with Jim and he and Lindsey have an adorable baby named Oliver.  

It was a pot luck dinner except for the turkey which we bought cooked from a butcher in Lausanne.  It turned out amazing, and for the money and time saving factor (not to mention most ovens can't fit a turkey in Europe) it was well worth it.  I made mashed potatoes, stuffing and the best dang pecan pie I've ever had.  Dorothy brought corn bread, pumpkin pie and salad.  And in addition to hosting Lindsey made corn and sweet potato casserole.  Mmmmm.

Pecan crack pie

The turkey box

blurry turkey, but very tasty

our feast

Americans unite

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Belgian Beer

With over 450 varieties of beer in Belgium, you could feel stressed about what to drink in Belgium.  Lucky for us we weren't Belgian beer novices and knew what to look for.  Jim enjoyed many of his favorite beers which are harder to find in the US and sampled a few new ones.  Maybe one or two sour beers weren't my favorite, but over all we had a fun time drinking delicious beer for a weekend.
Here is some of what we tried...

Leffe Bruin
Brugse Zot
Bourgogne des Flandres
Westmalle Trappist
Keizer Karel
Leffe Blonde
Duchesse de Bourgogne
De Konink
Triple d'Anvers
La Chouffe
Lindemans Framboise

Now I'm thirsty!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Belgium : Part Three : Brussels

After leaving Antwerp on Sunday we took the train back to Brussels.  Our flight was leaving early in the evening but we were able to spend a few hours in Brussels.  We walked through some parks, saw the famous Manneken Pis and had just enough time to savor some delicious mussels and Belgian beer. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Belgium : Part Two : Antwerp

On day two of our Belgian adventure we left Brugge by train and arrived late morning in Antwerp.  Antwerp has hands down the most beautiful train station I have seen in Europe.  It is also incredibly huge and has 4 levels of trains. 

obligatory room photo

Cathedral of Our Lady

After we checked into the hotel, we headed out on a very important mission.  Find Jim's all time favorite kebab shop near the University where he studied (8 years ago).  Surprisingly once we got to the school he found the street.  Unfortunately for him, it was now a burger place.  He was disappointed to say the least.

University of Antwerp

The flyer says "Free Beer with every house burger".  Great Promo!

Our next stop was to go to the De Koninck brewery and take a tour.

After checking in advance that they gave tours on Saturday without advance tickets we showed up and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  We also noticed other people waiting.  And after about 30 min I was tired of standing and hungry.  I checked the site again, noticing that the tour was 2 hours!  So we made an executive decision to ditch the brewery.  And go to the restaurant behind the brewery.  Drinking the beer is the best part anyway.  Turns out the restaurant also makes delicious food.

The rest of our evening was spent walking around town, getting a few drinks and finding a kebab shop.  Pretty much Jim's only requirement on the trip was to eat kebabs and drink beer.  I have to admit both were delicious and if we could get kebabs for 4.50 in Geneva we would eat them way more.

picture blurry from excitement

The next morning I wanted to make two stops before going back to the train station and on to Brussels.  The first was to see the castle of Antwerp which was located across from our hotel on the river Scheldt.  And second see the Cathedral of Our Lady.

Cloudy and cold day on the Scheldt

Stay Tuned for... Part Three: Brussels