Month: January 2006

January 20, 2006

Brimming Brussels

Filed under: — Natasha @ 11:55 am
Brussels

I really like Brussels. Although I usually go down there for business, I try and stay longer just to walk around downtown. Brussels is only two and half hours away by train from Amsterdam and it’s enough of a change to feel like a mini-vacation. I speak French, but after years in the Netherlands, I also speak Dutch. Shopping in Brussels is what I call Belgian roulette. If I walk into a shop and look around slowly, people switch to Dutch. Then I answer back in French, but they hear my Québ&#233cois accent, not being able to place it. Then they switch back to Dutch. Then they hear my Dutch, which is very ‘Amsterdam’, with a slight English accent. Then I try and switch back to French, then I give up. For cool places to go, I recommend checking out Time Out.

(Photo: Rue des Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat, a touristy restaurant street)

January 3, 2006

Munich

Filed under: — Natasha @ 10:00 am
Munich Olympic Stadium

Of all places to spend New Year’s Eve when you live in Amsterdam is Munich, Germany. One Dutch friend of mine just emigrated there and two old friends from Québec just moved there. It was also very easy to steer the conversation towards the ill-fated Olympics of 1972 because the view out the window was that of the amazing Olympic Stadium itself. No, I haven’t seen the movie, but I did not like the reviews I read. I’m also sheepish when it comes to going to the cinema.

What struck me was the obvious retro atmostphere of the Olympic Park, as it reminded me of Montréal, which hosted the 1976 Olympic Games. Unlike Munich, a well-established, rich German city, Montréal was a teenage Canadian city, aching to be accepted as a world-class city. Forget all that; the Munich stadium is smallish, easy to walk around and the tower overlooking the stadium provides a spectacular view.

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