Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sunday Morning Antique Market in Waterloo, Belgium (Apr 19 & May 17)

Shannon and I have ventured down to the town of Waterloo a few times before realizing that they have a great Sunday morning antique market. Being antique buffs, we were excited to hear about this market from the American Women's Club of Brussels and even more thrilled that it's only around 30 minutes away. You can find a bit of everything here from tables, old coffee grinders, hardware (old fashion door knobs, hinges, ect...), glasses, furniture, trunks, wooden wagons, clothes, flower planters, paintings, clocks, cabinets, mirrors, and the list goes on. The first time we went it took us almost 2 hours to see everything, and some booths had even closed-up since we got there so late. It only goes until noon or slightly after and is located in the Carrefour parking lot in Waterloo. On our initial visit we only came with a small amount of cash which was probably a good thing because it's hard for us to walk away at times! Our second trip down to the market, we found a cool cast iron door knob and Shannon picked out an old brass gun wall decoration (if you don't know Shannon, he loves anything gun related!). I almost bought an old cast iron 'letter slot' contraption that you see on several of the old doors throughout Europe for their mail. We also spotted the 'guts' of a grandfather clock which Shannon wants to build a clock out of someday, but decided it was too expensive. I already bought an old German coffee grinder, but need to find a good one for my sister-in-law at some point as she hinted at liking them as well. I'm sure we'll be making more trips down to this market along with the antique market in Tongeren which I blogged about earlier this year.

One of several ornate tables
Iron flower planters
A variety of old coffee grinders which are seen often in Europe
Some beautiful wooden trunks which have been restored or are reproductions
Shannon searching through all the old hardware, trying to find something for our dream house which he hopes to build when we move home!
Checking out the military hats
I liked this fruit painting
Some day we will own one of these massive wine racks...I think they're so cool!
I also like the old irons
More antique hardware from old homes or buildings
Old fire engine pedal car actually manufactured in the USA
Some interesting candle light fixtures
Wagons, desks and skis

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Spring in Groot-Bijgaarden" Flower Show (Apr 18)

After Shannon had dropped off his cousin, Christine, and her friends at the airport, we decided to head to the annual Flower Show: Spring in Groot-Bijgaarden (aka 'Floralies: Printemps à Château de Grand-Bigard' in French). It's basically an amazing flower exhibition which goes on for one month (Apr 9 - May 7) at the castle of Groot-Bijgaarden where over one million bulbs of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and others were planted under the direction of specialists from The Netherlands. There were also greenhouses with lots of flower-beds and bunches of flowers made of freesias, callas, amaryllis, tulips, alstromerias, roses, gerbera and chrysantemums. In addition, we saw several orchids in the chapel upon our arrival.

Even though we technically had to return a second time to the castle that day, it ended up being for the best as it became more sunny as the day went on. Our first attempt of visiting the castle ended shortly after Shannon tried to take a picture of me at the entrance of the castle and sat down in some bird poop on the bridge's railing while trying to steady his camera! I felt so sorry for him and it was so bad that we had to return home for him to change! I had to drive the car back so he could sit with his pants half-way down in the passenger seat to avoid getting any 'bird crap' on the leather seats. When we finally returned to the castle, the skies had turned from gray to blue with lots more sunshine, so we think it was a sign!

We had a great time taking in the breathtaking flower gardens around the castle's grounds. We even brought a picnic lunch of hummus, bread and cheese and some other stuff we around the house. It turned out to be a fantastic day. Next year, it will be a toss up if we return here or go to the famous Keukenhof Gardens in The Netherlands like we did last year. I guess we'll have to see how much traveling our new baby let's us do!

Here is the website of the castle if interested:

This is probably not the nicest photo to start off with, but it's how our day began! (you can see why we had to return home initially, dam bird poop!)
Entrance to castle
Orchids in the chapel
Some of the castle's beautiful grounds
More of the castle
Nicely groomed gardens
The tulips were so vibrant!
After our picnic lunch, we staged a photo
Some gorgeous hyacinths
Shannon experimenting with his camera The tulips were planted so thick making them even more striking
Walkway of tulips
I loved these multi-colored tulips
Getting close and personal with the flowers!
Some more vibrant colored tulips
Shannon being artistic
These pink tulips were pretty cool
I tried to see if they smelled, but didn't notice much scent
Labyrinth of flowers
Relaxing in the labyrinth with the daffodils
There were bunches of flowers everywhere among the sculpture gardens
Shannon in the sculpture gardens
You can see the bunches of flowers better here
Mixture of tulips
An interesting variety of a tulip
Some more detailed sculptures
I thought these were neat made out of wine barrels
Indoor exhibition
I loved all the gerbera daises!
Just some more interesting tulips, like you haven't seen enough yet!
These tulips reminded me of Shannon's flames on his pickup back home! (Which we sold to a young kid before we left)
Some crazy tulips!
Example of how flowers were planted everywhere from the borders to clumps in open green spaces
Valleys of flowers
Arches of hyacinths

Almost done as we've finally wrapped back around to the entrance!

We were fortunate that some people didn't mind taking a quick photo of us
Another front view of the castle with some beautiful hyacinths planted next to the moat

Ok, we made several people take our picture! Hill of flowers with castle in background
The lion back at the entrance on the bridge says GOOD BYE come again some other day!