Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brussels and Valkenburg

It was kind of an exciting weekend for me! On Friday the whole group (18 of us) went to Brussels, Belgium for a conference at the European Union headquarters. After that, we broke off into groups and explored Brussels. Brussels is a great medieval town! The streets and buildings are very old and beautiful. There is a small statue called Mannekin Pis that is a little boy peeing into a fountain. There is a myth about this boy ending a war because the soldiers were laughing so hard at him. Needless to say, Brussels is full of crappy gift shops filled with little naked boys peeing. Keychains, magnets, t-shirts, chocolate, you name it. Peeing boy. Mannekin Pis.
Friday night, Jill Jensen and I were supposed to catch a flight to Berlin for the weekend. We found out our flight was canceled! So we got a transfer to Geneva. GENEVA! That is in Switzerland! We were pumped about an adventure until our flight was delayed several hours until past midnight. Can you get a hostel past midnight in Geneva? NOPE. So we decided not to go. The airport paid for us to stay and eat at the Sheraton across the street. The next day we called the airline to see about a refund. The airline swears up and down that the flight left. Um, excuse me? No it didn't. Everyone we talked to at the airport said that all flights to Germany were canceled on Friday night. Even the airport website listed our flight as canceled. But the airline said that they have a record of the flight getting to Berlin with over 100 passengers on it. Okay. So we got credit on our account for a flight anywhere they fly. Look out London and Ireland next weekend!!!
Today was a Memorial Day celebration at the Maastricht cemetery. On the train from Brussels airport I met an elderly couple from Denver who were on their way to Maastricht for this ceremony. Mary and Rich. Rich's uncle was lost at sea during the war and it is customary for a dutch family to adopt a grave and honor the dead several times a year. Today was the first time that Rich and his family got to meet this adoptive family. I think that is awesome! I had a good time talking to Mary and Rich about Europe.
Today I went to Valkenburg, a town just a short train ride from Maastricht. I went with two girls, Jill and Kelli. We climbed castle ruins, took a chair lift to the top of a tower and tobogganed down. We shopped. We had a blast! We have a small trip planned for Wednesday, then London and Belfast this weekend! Whew!

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