July 31, 2008

Today Is A Great Day For...

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the grass is making my nose itch..today is a good day for some nice catchy rocky/poppy/indie songs. Partially inspired by StuBru playing on the radio at work, these are the songs that will make today a good day, heck even a great day.

In no particular order :

The BlackBox Revelation - Gravity Blues : Belgian band. Young guys, Runner's up at Humo's Rock Rally* in 2006. They have even played in the US and will be playing in Belgium/ The Netherlands and Germany in sept/august. I also love the video for this song.

The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name : Ok, this song has been out a while, but I still love listening to this song driving in my car with the sun on my face. It makes my head bob even in the morning, and that's a rare thing.

Freaky Age - Where Do We Go Now : This is a Belgian band of guys who are only like 16 years old, but this is one catchy song. They are playing a whole bunch of dates this summer/autumn, so maybe I'll go check them out.

Air Traffic - Time Goes By : Not necessarily a band that has come up with something that's totally new, but I can't help really liking their album Fractured Life and Time Goes By is perfect for singing along in your car (or at your job, depending on your collegues) while banging your head.

A Brand : Time. I really liked their first single,Riding your Ghost in 2004, but Time shows that they have grown as a band. Great song.

If you haven't heard about some of the songs, you should definately check them out and let me know what you think!

* Humo's Rock Rally is an important contest in Belgium for rock bands who are starting out

July 23, 2008

Belgian Pride - sort of

Last Monday was the National Day of Belgium. Now, I'm not a very 'nationalistic' person and I don't remember ever watching any parades on the national day. The only moments I feel some sort of Belgian pride is when for example the Belgian soccer team wins, which in the past years has pretty much not happened at all.

For many things Belgium is not an inspiring country :

* it rains here most of the time (even when the weatherman says it won't);
* politics have been kinda crazy the past year.
I'm not actually sure if we currently have a government or not;
* the quality of the roads could definately be better;
* the fact that we are so small that most people have no clue where it is.
I still regularly see American journalists on tv referring to Belgium as the capital of Brussels.
I don't blame them, the Belgian government does just not do enough to promote the country correctly.
Having said that, I do think journalists should do their job and do some research.
* Belgian soaps, tv shows are mostly really boring

But on the national day I did think about all the things that do rock Belgium :

* Belgian Chocolate : THE best in the whole world, no competition.
* Belgian Beer : Again, the best in the world.
* Belgian Waffles : ditto
In general Belgian food is just really good.
* Sports : Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters ( tennis), Kim Gevaert ( Running), Tia Hellebaut ( High
Jump), ...
* Art : Victor Horta, James Ensor, Henry van de Velde, Rene Magritte, ...
* Music : K's Choice, Deus, Ozark Henry, Jacques Brel, Arid, Hooverphonic, Toots Tielemans,..
* Some political decisions: Euthanasia law, gay marriage/adoption law, anti-discrimination law,
first country in the world to ban clusterbombs, ...
* Social Security, facilities, education are all quite good and of a high level
* There's no dubbing movies/sitcoms in Belgium, we have subtitles.
* Some beautiful cities: Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges,...
* ...

So when I make the comparison between the good, the bad and the ugly, I must admit that Belgium is not such a bad country to live in after all. I still want to move though...

July 22, 2008

Bookclub : Dan Brown - Angels&Demons

I finally finished Angels&Demons by Dan Brown. Since last summer I was stuck on page 400-something. I took it with me to Italy as I thought the atmosphere would help me to pick it up again, considering that it deals with a bunch of 'historic' facts that have to do with Rome.

And so it did. I finished it quite fast actually. I'm still not sure what to make of this book.

It's entertaining and once you get caught in the story you really want to read on. It's also nice to read about places like Piazza Navona, cause you can exactly imagine them. But some things that happen are just a bit too unrealistic for my taste.

To other people who've read this : what did you think about this book?

Back to the Chocolate

Yes yes yes.. I have been slacking on the blogging.. that's because I was enjoying my time so much in Italy I didn't have much time to do anything but just that.. enjoy..
I did lots of stuff - about which I do intent to blog later - but for now it's all about sadness.
I'm back in Belgium. The country of chocolate and beer but unfortunately also the country of rain in July (I actually had to put on the heating today cause I was freezing).
I would blog about the crappy weather more, but right now I need to do some serious wallowing...

July 07, 2008


Almost a week ago it was my birthday... it was quite a treat. The Italian cooked lunch for me and did the dishes! I was explicitly told not to lift a finger, which was easy.
In the early evening we went to the 'Giardino degli Aranci' to find some shadow and enjoy the beautiful view of Rome you get from up there.
We took a little walk around Piazza del Popolo and we met someone famous!
It went like this.

Me : oh my god, do you know who that is?
Italian : who, what, where?
Me : That's Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi.
Italian : Who? ah yeah that comedian you like. Go to them and ask for a picture no?
Me : Noo, I'm too shy and I'd look like some crazy person.
Italian: Come on , it will be fun
Me - After thinking long about it : ok

So we went up to them and took a picture and she was really sweet actually.
Afterwards I told the Italian, you know that Portia will be in Nip/Tuck right?
And so he cursed and regretted the fact that he didn't take a picture with the hot girl who will be in the series he likes.

After that we had dinner at 'Il Margutta'. A vegetarian restaurant, the best vegetarian restaurant I ever ate at. I never really bothered looking for vegetarian restaurants in Rome cause :
1. You can find a lot of vegetarian things to eat at pretty much any restaurant in Italy
2. The Italian used to be an avid meat eater

But because The Italian has changed his ways (not under my pressure!) and has become an aspiring vegetarian, we went to 'Il Margutta'. I read about it on the Red Scrapbook blog and it seemed nice. It's a bit expensive though, but because it was a special occasion, we went for it anyway. It was absolutely wonderful. Service, food, drinks, everything was perfect.

So I had a really great birthday... well apart from the fact of getting older ofcourse...

July 02, 2008

Amalfi, Ravello, Paestum, Atrani etc...

Last weekend we went to the Amalfi coast. We found a little bed & breakfast the day before and got lucky they had one room left. We arrived around lunchtime and dropped all our bags at the b&b and went on our way to see Ravello. Very cute little city, with amazing views.

Having not read a thing about the Amalfi coast before leaving, we didn't realize these little towns were all so small and you could actually see them in an hour. We had lunch in Ravello and went on our way to Amalfi. In the evening we had a great dinner at 'our' b&b. It had a spectacular terrace filled with lemon trees and amazing views on the coast line.
The day after we decided to head to Paestum and then head back 'home'.