Friday, August 28, 2015

Review of Traveling through the Netherlands and Belgium

Bruges Canal
Traveling through the Netherlands and Belgium was fun and there are a lot more places to stay, things to do and fabulous restaurants. I’m thinking that I may have to make a return trip, soon. For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Staying in the B&B: Brussels and Bruges

Everyone rides the train in Europe and few understand that folks from the US are mostly
Live news report
clueless about how to use this sort of transportation. So with the help of a few kindhearted souls we made our way from Maastricht to the interesting city of Brussels.  Being near the border of France, the city is officially bilingual; and English is very common, as well since there are so many tourists. Historically a Dutch-speaking city, Brussels has seen a major shift to French since Belgian independence in 1830. Founded by a descendant of Charlemagne in the, 10th century Brussels has grown from a fortress town to a fair-sized city and, in effect, the capital of the European Union (EU) as well as headquarters for NATO. While we were there, a great debate was occurring about whether Greece was going to adopt the austerity measures set out by the EU or whether they were going to go ahead as usual.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Magical Maastricht

Maastricht, the capital of the province of Limburg in the Netherlands and the birthplace of
Hell's Gate built in 1229
the European Union, is a really nice city. It straddles the Maas River where the Jeker River joins it, providing lovely views of the river from the many bridges. Maastricht is much smaller, cleaner and nicer than Amsterdam although it has its full complement of bicycles; fortunately, the riders here are much more polite. This is a very historic town with 1677 national heritage sites within its borders, and although we didn’t see them all, we enjoyed many of them. The town still has a part of its original wall, connected to Hell’s gate, which dates from the 1200s and is the oldest city gate in the Netherlands. Early on Maastricht was conquered by the Romans, but later became a religious center and finally an industrial city. It was also the site of this year’s International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) 44th Annual International Conference and the 17th International Forum on Research in School Librarianship. Hearing the research at these meetings is always enlightening, as is getting to speak with the people conducting the studies. It’s also a lot of fun to reconnect with folks I haven’t seen in a year and to meet new people interested in how learners use the library resources.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Around Amsterdam

One of the canals
Two of us arrived in Amsterdam after a not so positive adventure transferring from American Airlines to British Airlines through Heathrow. Although the airlines tell you that you can make your flight if you have at least 90 minutes, this is not actually the case during high season. We did make our plane, but our luggage did not. It showed up at our hotel a few hours later, in good repair, so we were able to continue our adventures on a more positive note. The lesson from this, plan for a two, or better yet, three hour lay-over in Heathrow rather than sprinting through the airport and sweating through internal security that does nothing in a hurry. You’ll arrive at your destination a bit later, but without the anxiety of trying to make a connection that could depend on the whim of a security person, bus driver, or gate clerk.