Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All is Calm, All is Bright

Our little town in the states was all lit up with holiday decorations as we strolled down Main Street along with our fellow citizens for the Holiday Walk, the kick-off to shopping and celebrating, which happens every year, on a Friday evening, right after Thanksgiving week. There were carolers and ice sculptors and Santa Claus and horse-drawn carriages...and even a movie star and his new girlfriend (we are a small town, but just charming enough to draw even those with an entourage).  All bundled up in my new white scarf, black suede boots and cozy down jacket, listening to a carol or two and dipping into Books on the Common to buy a few gifts, I found myself getting in the mood for Christmas.  How can you not get in the mood, with half the town out in the cold winter air, singing songs and greeting friends, children with their eyes wide open as Santa goes by on a sled through town.  I mean, come on, it felt like that scene in Funny Farm with Chevy Chase, where he and his wife decide to sell their house in New England after their dreams of moving to the country, so Chevy can write the great American novel, are a total bust.  When they find a potential buyer, they talk the whole town (and promise to pay each citizen $50 to depict 'small town' values) into bringing to life, a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting.  I love that movie.  And I love that our little town reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting and that it's not an act.  It is, indeed, a sweet little New England town, right down to the white painted houses, black shutters, the town post office where everyone chats while they are in line to buy stamps, the diner, the ice cream shop and the gazebo in the park.  It's like a movie set, and sometimes I think someone might yell, "Cut!"  And the movie is a wrap.  Is is possible to be in love with a town?  Well, my heart flutters every time I go home, so it must be love.  Or maybe I just appreciate it because I live in another country most of the time these days.  Or maybe I see it differently, because I live in another country.  Antwerp has its charms as well.  We flew back to Antwerp a few days after our walk along Main Street, arriving on a Saturday morning, the city still sleeping as we drove along the Scheldt River to our flat overlooking a small harbor.  The moon was setting over the city, and holiday lights were still sparkling as the day began to peak through the overcast skies.  The riverfront had been transformed into a winter wonderland, tidy merchant shacks had been set up and there was a giant Ferris wheel, lit up and rotating slowly nearby the castle (yes, we have our very own castle in Antwerp...) and there was even a makeshift ice rink complete with bales of hay to sit and rest upon between laps.  Tiny white lights were strewn all along the sidewalks and I felt like we were getting the pre-opening-night-sneak-peak as we drove by, the only folks around, those who were setting everything up for the first day of celebration -- which was that day.  We were a bit punchy from the overnight flight, so when we arrived at our building, we got a burst of energy and cleaned our whole apartment and pulled out the few holiday decorations that we'd had shipped over when we moved into our flat.  Our goofy Charlie Brown style faux-Christmas tree, it's branches all bent and decrepit, magically came to life as we found a few ornaments and a string of lights.  Voila!  Christmas in Belgium.  We napped a bit and then walked down to the river to join in the festivities with our other fellow-citizens...and I must say, it was all too familiar to our sweet little New England village celebration.  Santa was there to thrill the children, the street vendors were selling hand-knit hats, warm macaroons (just like my grandmother made), hot chocolate, wooden toys, and of course, waffles, chocolates and beer.  Even the castle had a tree inside its courtyard, near the statue of Jesus on the cross.  It was lovely, and we felt welcomed back to our other hometown, in northwest Flanders where friends were greeting each other much the same way they were in our small town in Connecticut, a kiss or two or three on the cheek, with a hello! how are you?  Merry Christmas!  Only, in Dutch of course.  My life on the lane is calm and bright, happy and merry, and just as festive on both sides of the pond.  Gelukkige Kerstmis, Seizoenen Groet!  Merry Christmas, Season's Greetings!
Grote Markt, Antwerpen
Shopping along the Scheldt River

Ice Skating Under Twinkling Lights

Antwerpen, BE

Ice Skating in Antwerpen

Carolers in Ridgefield, CT

Cheerful Storefront in Connecticut

Grote Markt, Antwerpen

Antwerpen Lit Up

Het Steen, Antwerpen's Petite Castle


Window Shopping in Ridgefield
       

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Home Is Where You Hang Your Hat

Porch in Connecticut


A few weeks ago, Mr. Lane and I landed in Brussels at dusk and as the sun was setting on Belgium, we headed north towards Antwerp, tired from our travels and ready to be back home.  Coming around the corner and up out of the tunnel into Antwerp, its dim, glowing lights welcomed us home, and what a sweet, sweet sight....ah...I was home, for one day.  The plan...to repack then back to Brussels Airport to begin our final leg of what was feeling like, a world tour.  But, for now -- we were home.  Home.  It's where you hang your hat, keep your stuff, clean your clothes, sleep in your own bed.  Home.  After the final leg to Naples, Florida, next up for me, home-home, in Connecticut for a few weeks.  Survey the damage from the recent, freak snow-storm and welcome my youngest, home for Thanksgiving from college in Boston, along with some of his floor-mates.  Can't wait for the house to be filled with a bunch of university kids looking for home cooked food, a quarter-less washing machine, and a regular-sized bed -- all of which I will happily provide.  Ah, home.  So thankful for home, whether in Belgium or in the states.  As we all move towards Thanksgiving, let's be grateful for our homes...wherever they may be, down your own lanes, safe, warm and filled with what is important to you.  My life on the lane is filled with travel and discovery and jet-lag, but mostly my life on the lane is all about being home. 

Happy Thanksgiving from My Life on the Lane...to you and yours and your life on your lane.     

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Riprendere Vita...on the Lanes of Italia

 

I've been traveling quite a bit lately, feeling like a rock star on tour, in a way...if rock stars are middle-aged Americans who wear somewhat sensible shoes and suede vs. leather jackets and who can't remember all the words to the songs anymore! Let's see, about a month ago we left our home in Antwerp and with just two, two-day trips back for clean clothes, we have traveled to Lille, France, New York, Connecticut, Boston, Cleveland, New York again, London, Brussels, Lake Como, Milan and Venice and we are now enroute to Naples (the Florida one) via New York and Atlanta, then back to New York to Connecticut, and then back again to Antwerp. Of course then we will head to California for Christmas, why not? Seems fitting for aging rock stars, right? Or at least a corporate executive and his author-wife who have lost their collective minds and are trying to zig-zag through as many time zones as possible ('fall-back' happened for us in England). I'm tired but inspired, jet-lagging with tail-wagging. Okay sorry, that last line proves I'm exhausted and maybe not cool enough to be a rock star after all. I'm writing from somewhere over the Atlantic ocean, wings stretched (ba-da-dum) on to the next place, Florida...for an industry meeting, which to me, means a few more chapters (writing not reading) poolside, hopefully sipping mojitos. Instead of talking about all the places I've been lately, I'd like to share a bit of Italy with you, not only because it's one of my favorite places on earth, but because I learned some new things this time. In the past, I've been to Florence, Pisa, Siena, Tuscany and all its splendid hill towns -- but this trip, I was lucky to see the northern region, from the Swiss border all the way to the Adriatic Sea. Even though it rained almost the entire trip, I found I'm still, undeniably in love with Italy. I feel alive in Italy -- my senses, my heart, my mind all awaken and I find myself 'feeling' my way through each day. We arrived late in the evening to our hotel at Lake Como, and with the rain, a heavy fog was covering the steep mountains surrounding the lake. Out on our veranda overlooking the lake, the rain was falling lightly and boats skimmed the surface of the water, heading home for the night. We slept good that night, a light wind against the French doors surrounding our room. In the morning, we woke to the most magnificent view of the entire lake region, the fog lifting, leaving a blanket of clouds that only added more texture to the peaceful mood of Lake Como. Mr. Lane was off to meetings and I was off to Milan. A driver, Giampaulo, picked me up mid-morning and we headed back forty-five minutes to the fashion capitol of Italy. Milano is a historically rich city with cathedrals and palaces, famous designer boutiques and up and coming little gems that all devine fashionistas would love discovering. It's also a foodie heaven, with cuisine from Italy considered to be among the best in the world. You'd be hard-pressed to find a bad meal in Milano. If it's shopping you want, the department store, La Rinascente, can be found among the designer stores in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. This is Italy's equivalent to NYC's Bloomies or London's Harrods. The department store carries many of Italy's most popular brands, as well as, many others from around the world. If you're in a brousy mood, you can take a stroll around Cordusio-Magenta, a lovely neighborhood with small boutiques housing creations by Italian designers such as Massimo Crivelli. Of course, bring plenty of euro if you plan on actually buying anything. I bought just one special gift for one special person and easily surpassed my budget...but it was worth every penny, and I can't wait to see him open it at Christmastime :) Don't forget to take a Gelato break (I didn't forget...twice!) with flavors like dark chocolate, hazelnut, banana or orange zest ...yummy-perfecto! If you're more the cultural type, Milano will not disappoint...the city boasts wonderful antique shops bursting with furnishings from the High Renaissance period. The Municipal Modern Art Gallery has exceptional collections from the 19th and 20th centuries, including works by Picasso. If you are lucky enough to secure an advanced appointment, you can view Leonardo da Vinci's 15th century masterpiece, The Last Supper, at the Refectory of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie (icbellagio.com). The entire city is a juxtaposition of ancient and modern. Sky scrapers are going up to house fashion designer's growing need for larger headquarter offices, right next to gothic shorter versions that housed great innovators from centuries past. The financial district is home to Italy's stock market, Borsa Italiana, where banks house most of the surrounding buildings. Milan is the capitol city of the region of Lombardy and the province of Milan and is the second largest city in Italy.  This accounts for the many strikes and demonstrations in the news. In fact, there was a demonstration going on when I was in town, but my driver, Giampaulo, had a cool gadget that provided a constant stream of info about traffic and city related issues, so he knew where the strikers were at all times and kept me safely away from those areas (the demonstrators can be quite violent if not passionate). That day, they were striking against the bail out of Greece and the domino affect it would likely have on Italy's already weak and corrupt economy. Cost of housing per square meter in Milano is skyrocketing and only the very rich can afford most addresses in downtown Milan. You'd never know, other than by the cries from demonstrators, that Italy is suffering along with the rest of the world -- economically. The city is set up like a spider web, with rings of traffic encircling neighborhoods with the main arteries feeding down into the historical center where the largest cathedral in Italy, Duomo di Milano dwells. This Gothic church took nearly five centuries to build. The Piazza del Duomo surrounds the grand cathedral. In the evening, opera fans marvel at the gilded interiors of the 18th-century theater, La Scala, considered one of the world's most important music houses. The theater also boasts its own museum, with the history of Italian music from the 17th to 20th centuries. Before or after you hear the fat lady sing, you can grab a delicious bite at II Salumaio di Montenapoleone, a Milanese eatery nearby La Scala -- deliziosa!! If you are a wine-ufficiale, then a stop at L'Ulmet for a glass or two to leave you feeling relaxed and satisfied. Ahhh, vino! Le nostre preghiere sono state esaudite! (our prayers have been answered) I was surprised to see canals stretching through parts of the city that were originally constructed for shipments of marble to be transported to the center of town when the Duomo was being constructed or was it when the palace was going up? Well, whenever it was...a long, long, long time ago, complex waterways were developed, some of which have been buried under now, to make way for new buildings and roads. There are a few canals left, with ancient boats, reinvented as restaurants, still floating, although tied up, kind of sadly, on the low tide. The canals are no longer used for boat traffic, and unfortunately, in some areas, now seem to be used as trash receptacles...which is always sad to see. Milano is a bustling, wealthy metropolis, with a graffiti'd middle-class shoving up against its skinny, super-model sides...a hotbed for unrest and controversy. I must say, after a day of walking around Milano, no matter how interesting and gothic-modern, I was very content to return to the restorative and spiritual shores of Lake Como late that afternoon. I wrote into the early evening, a light rain tapping against the tiles outside on my terrazzo.  Mr. Lane returned from his meetings and invited me to join him and the staff from his division offices for dinner at Il Gatto Nero (a restaurant supposedly frequented by local-resident-movie-star-extraordinaire -- George Clooney) We both changed into dinner clothes (I was careful to wear something George would find attractive, even though it seems he's not attracted to my age-group, even though he's my same age) and were greeted by his colleague in the lobby for the very steep drive up the mountainside to the restaurant. Winding back down proved trickier knowing the driver had several swigs of Grappa with his cappuccino after several glasses of wine with dinner. But what a way to go if you were going to go...the incredible view, the mountains, it felt like we were suspended above the lake...if we propelled off the side of that cliff, if the car had lost it's grip (remember, it's raining and slick)...well, then all I could do was hope and pray that George Clooney would hear my screams and catch me -- rescue me and nurse me back to health at his gorgeous movie-star villa, which according to our dinner-mates was clinging to the same mountainside we were now traversing, like new skiers making our way down the slopes, back and forth, turning and crossing, turning and crossing, a few feet lower each time (I swear I saw dirt and rock falling down the hillside from our tires...Mr. Lane said I was crazy, but he too had shared in the Grappa-fest, so what did he know?). But alas, we made it back down to our hotel (George hadn't been needed after all) and by that time, the rain was coming down hard, but we found our way to our suite and out onto the veranda for one more look at beautiful Como. I didn't mind one bit that my best silk evening jacket (the one that would most certainly have caught George's eye) was getting drenched as Mr. Lane kissed me, like an Italian lover, right out there in the rain, leaning against the railing, the lake lapping against the ancient stone wall, two stories below, neither of us coming up for air, even when the wind knocked over the trellis behind us....no, for a few lovely days, we lived like passionate Italians, throwing caution to the wind, drinking whole bottles of wine as if it was Perrier, staying up late, laughing, saying things like, ciao and grazie a and scusi! Referring to each other as Bella and Ricardo (more romantico than Mr. Lane, si?). Ahhhh, Italy, I love you. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, we found ourselves driving (Giampaulo at the steering wheel once again) three hours east, through white-wine vineyards to Venice, city of love. My heart be still. I can't tell you much about the rest of our trip, (privacy please) but it was wonderful, I can tell you that...and Venezia far exceeded my expectations. It was more beautiful than I ever dreamed and even more special than anywhere I've been in a long time. Do hire a gondola in the rain, late at night, off-season, when the only city lights are dim candles illuminating the centuries-old villas...and oh, be sure to choose the gondola with the guide who sings and whistles the greatest Italian love songs ever written, and who takes his time weaving through the canals and is the last gondola back to the dock. Perfetto! My life on the lane is winding, and ancient and romantica and deliziosa (and sometimes even a little dangerous) Ciao-Ciao!
Venice
Beautiful Designer Shop in Milan

Milano in the Rain

Lake Como in the Rain

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice Doorway

Lovely Lane in Venice


El Duomo Milano

Monday, October 17, 2011

On Architecture

Where we live in Antwerp, restoration is on-going with buildings being meticulously remodeled and (unfortunately) in some cases, torn down and completely rebuilt. Seems everyday, there is a new project begun in the waterfront area and throughout the city of Antwerp. Architectural styles of Baroque (with Flemish Baroque having its own distinct styling), Romanesque, Gothic, Neoclassical (which began under Austrian rule in the 18th century), Art Nouveau (Brussels led the world in Art Nouveau during the 1890's) and Art Deco can be found all around Belgium. Some of the newer contemporary architecture falls a bit flat alongside more ancient counterparts, however there are some modern jewels which blend and even sometimes explode within the modest skylines of Belgium. Here are some favorite architectural splendors, subtle and spectacular from the low countries. My life on the lane is rectilinear, semicircular, pointed, stylistic and juxtapositioned these days, and I'm enjoying all design concepts -- old and new.


Brugge, Belgium

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent, Belgium



Ghent, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium

Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp, Belgium

View of the MAS, Antwerp

Antwerp, Belgium 

Antwerp, Belgium

Brugge, Belgium

Friday, October 14, 2011

My First Acquisition of Antwerp Art

I love my new painting by Paul Van Soens, Antwerp artist, who also happens to be our landlord.  I fell hard for this abstract painting on display at Mr. Van Soens art studio and gallery, Insularte, which is at the street level of our building.  I'd been admiring the painting for weeks with Mr. Lane as we passed by on our evening walks.  I came home the other day, with company, and there it was...Mr. Lane had asked Mr. Van Soens to place it in our flat to surprise me.  How sweet is that?  It's the perfect touch to our modern, loft-like apartment.  It hadn't occured to me that the painting had colors similar to the cover of my novel, Restoration, until it was hanging on the wall above the fireplace and a copy of my book was nearby.  No wonder I was so drawn to this particular piece.  Mr. Van Soens has many wonderful pieces on display in his studio, but this one spoke to me.  I think the dark, embossed area looks like cobblestones with the horizon floating above, very peaceful to me.  I'm in love.  I'm in love with all art these days in Europe.  I can't help myself...art surrounds me all day, everywhere I go...I'm immersed in oils, water colors, sculptures, statues, frescos, murals, even graffiti moves me.  The new European artists inspire me, as they go up against the great masters in history.  It makes me think about literary greats and how writers, just like artists try to imitate and match the masters when crafting their words.  Does art imitate life or life imitate art?  Do words imitate art and life?  Everything and everyone interact and inspire everyone and everything.  My life on the lane is inspiring and artistic and absolutely lovely. 





Adjusting to Life in Another Language


We got 'told' in Dutch about
our inproper disposal of
glass bottles, note was
taped up in the elevator
for all to see in our building
 (Bottles were mostly wine
and beer...stupid, drunk
Americans)
Living as an expat can be challenging, and I now have a newfound respect for all the foreign folks who seemed lost in so many ways back home in the states.  I hope I was helpful enough when asked directions in the past or asked where the best restaurant was in broken english or with hand gestures while out and about in LA, NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta...etc.  I must have one of those friendly, helpful faces, because I am often asked for help in public, even here in Belgium.  I have had people approach me for directions in more than one city here in Europe.  But, more often than not these days, I'm the one asking...and in my broken Dutch or Frenglish or my idiot attempt at German, please...don't try this at home.  I find that if I smile a lot and help them along with their English, people can usually tell me what I need to know.  And lately, I must say, some words in Dutch are just rolling off my tongue, which surprises ME the most and I want to give myself a star everytime I remember the correct way to ask for something or greet someone or thank someone or say good-bye (tot ziens).  I'm also getting very good at the three-kiss (drie keer).  Right cheek kiss, left cheek kiss, right cheek kiss.  It's not as easy as it sounds...I have a good-sized nose that tends to get hooked on people's cheeks or worse yet, sometimes I even bump their nose with my nose in the process.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, people in Belgium like to kiss on the cheek when they greet a friend or colleague they know (in a social situation or even sometimes a professional situation).  Some folks will shake hands if they know you are American, which seems uncomfortable for them, especially men shaking a woman's hand. So, I'm getting good at just going in for the kill...kiss, kiss, kiss.  Sometimes the language barrier is funny and sometimes embarrassing, and I find myself trying to be more careful about what I say, so not to be misunderstood, which for me, is an interesting exercise in self-control.  I think I'm getting even more polite and certainly more politically correct.  Lots of Europeans like to tell me what is wrong with American government and what needs to happen for the world economy to be fixed.  Not a lot different from the rhetoric I hear back in the states and just like at home, I strike a smile and nod and wait for them to feel like they've had their fair-say.  I'm just not that politically conversational -- at home or abroad.  I vote, study the issues, but it's a private matter for me, just like religion and well, some other things too.  At least out in public, that is...if you know me well, I'll share my views (it's the Norwegian gene in me to play my cards close to my chest).  That all said, the funniest thing happened this week.  We've been careful to research and figure out (well, I had anyway, because I tend to be anal about domestic things) the different color bags to use to dispose of our trash and recyclables here in Antwerp.  We'd heard (again, really just me) that they are strict about their policies and we not only wanted to avoid high fines, but also because we like being green.  We've been carefully separating our plastics, bottles, cans, garden debris, paper and all other trash.  Since we travel so much, we hadn't noticed that our glass was being set out in the hallway near the refuse closet in the lobby of our building.  Someone was nice enough to dispose of it properly for some time now, and we don't know who that was, but whoever it was, they finally got mad enough to leave a note in the elevator with our bag of glass in the lobby.  We didn't get it at first, because the note was in Dutch and the glass was now in a box instead of our bag, so we passed right by it for a few days.  Finally, we got on the lift the other night, and their was a longer, more intense looking letter with lots of explanation points!!!  I told Mr. Lane, someone must be in trouble, because this letter looked threatening.  It was late, but I was curious, so I took the note into our flat and tried to translate as much as I could (the handwriting was not very clear, probably because they were so angry when they wrote it).  From what I was able to translate, it seemed as though some idiots were putting glass into the plastics-only container, which was dangerous and could cause someone to cut themselves if the glass broke inside the container and that these disrespectful people were obviously too lazy to walk their glass to the proper disposal site.  What?  Disposal site?  It's a plastics-only container?  "Honey! I think this note is for us..."  Of course, Mr. Lane was already asleep by then, so I woke him and made him go down to the disposal area with me and retrieve all of our glass debris (and we'd had a party recently, so there was quite a bit).  I'm a rule follower, so later, after searching the web, I found that Antwerp has these really ugly receptacles around town where you put your glass.  I'd seen one at the end of our lane, but didn't know that's what it was...so again...Mr. Lane was retrieved and off we went, after midnight, mind you, to find our neighborhood receptacle.  There it was...right there all the time, that ugly roundish looking thing that blocked my view to the west when turning onto the main road from our flat.  "Ahhh, here it is," I said to Mr. Lane, "help me load our glass...the green opening is for colored glass and the white opening is for clear glass."  We both looked at each other and laughed, the six foot tall container was completely full, and so was the next one at the end of the next lane.  Completely cobblestoned out in our flip flops and tired from a very long day, we grumbled all the way back to the flat with our box of glass containers.  Yes, we are still waiting and checking daily for the receptacles to be emptied so we can race down with our glass debris.  These are the moments that we miss all the wonderful services right at your doorstep in America.  We removed both our apology sign and the Dutch language warning sign and placed them in the paper recycling container...we hope this was the correct way to handle the situation.  If we can figure out who was disposing of our glass all this time, well, of course we will bring them flowers and Belgian chocolates, and hopefully we will become friends...and then of course, there will be another person to kiss, kiss, kiss, each time we meet.  My life on the lane is all about recycling and kissing and translating and speaking in Dutch.  Begrijpt u mij? (do you understand me?!)  Tot zo! (bye for now)...
         

Monday, October 3, 2011

Belgium is Not Boring

One of the most beautiful, well-kept secrets of Northwestern Europe is the countryside of Wallonia (Southern, French-speaking Belgium), the Ardennes and Luxembourg (the city and entire country of Luxembourg where they speak French, German and Letzeburgesch).  I'm here to tell you (and I'm really here -- I'm sitting at my desk on the fifth floor, overlooking a harbor designed by Napoleon Bonaparte in Antwerp, Belgium) that Belgium is not -- at all -- boring.  I've heard this a lot in the past year-and-a-half, and mostly from people born in Belgium.  When I tell locals that I moved here from the states, they often  respond with a smirk, "Why?"  I find myself defending Belgium and reminding them of the many lovely aspects of their country.  They continue smirking, as if, one day, I'll get it -- I'll understand what they believe to be true.  The Belgians, by nature, have a self-deprecating sense of humor and love to poke fun at themselves.  On the subject of drunk-driving...a Belgian citizen told a visiting travel writer that it's too scary to drive sober in Antwerp (of course he was being facetious...the Politie take driving under the influence very seriously and road stops for sobriety checks are very common in Belgium).  But,  I do see what they mean, some of what is referred to as Gothic, ancient, medieval...is really just ugly and old.  But, growing up in California, the only buildings of historical architectural importance that I remember, were the Missions.  So, the fact that I can walk out my door and see a harbor designed by Napoleon, with buildings lining that harbor that date back centuries, not years, but centuries...well, that just thrills me every time I go cobblestoning (my new term for walking in Europe).  The Southern region of Belgium also does not disappoint, but rather, exudes an entirely different flavor from Flanders altogether.  In the north, you have sophisticated Brussels, hip and fashionista-ish, yet ancient, Antwerp, medieval Ghent, and romantic Bruges and lovely smaller villages like Lier, Diest and Turnhout.  But south of Brussels, in the Walloon region, you have the gorgeous rolling hills and villages of the Ardennes.  There are castles and chateaus at every turn, and colorful little hamlets dotting the countryside all the way through the hillsides and forests to Luxembourg.  What is boring about that?  Nothing.  And here are the pictures to prove it.  My life on the lane in Belgium is vivid, alive, splendid and stimulating.


Picture Perfect Castle in Vianden on the border of Luxembourg and Germany


Village of Vianden



I love the couple embracing outside this lovely Inn

Cobblestones and Flowers...my favorite

Had the best BBQ spareribs and beer at this cafe in Vianden


Now that's a great lane...

Many of the buildings still show damage from WWII

Beautiful Luxembourg City