nostromos bLog






* all entries (444)
* concerts (28)
* misc (119)
* techtalk (18)
* travel (241)
  `-bruxelles_07 (8)
  `-canada_14 (22)
  `-hongkong_09 (13)
  `-iceland_10 (14)
  `-ireland_16 (7)
  `-japan_13 (22)
  `-paris_06 (1)
  `-poland_10 (3)
  `-russia_10 (12)
  `-scotland_15 (11)
  `-sweden_09 (10)
  `-taiwan_12 (22)
  `-tokyo_08 (14)
  `-usa_09 (10)
* zoo (38)
  `-abroad (8)
  `-linz (3)
  `-misc (11)
  `-schoenbrunn (16)


07(03), 06(03), 05(02), 04(02), 03(02)
12(02), 11(01), 10(08), 09(03), 07(17), 06(01), 05(04), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(06)
12(05), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(02), 07(04), 06(01), 05(02), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(02), 09(09), 08(16), 07(02), 06(03), 05(04), 04(03), 02(03), 01(02)
12(03), 11(01), 10(02), 09(01), 08(23), 07(03), 06(02), 05(01), 04(02), 03(02)
12(03), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(23), 05(02)
09(04), 08(01), 06(01), 05(02), 04(02), 03(01), 02(01)
11(01), 10(02), 09(15), 08(01), 07(02), 06(04), 04(12), 01(06)
12(05), 11(01), 10(06), 09(12), 08(02), 07(02), 06(01), 05(01), 04(10), 02(01), 01(05)
12(02), 08(01), 07(15), 06(02), 05(03), 02(02), 01(03)
12(05), 11(01), 07(24), 06(06), 05(03), 04(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(01), 10(07), 09(01), 08(04), 07(05), 06(04), 05(06), 04(01), 03(04), 02(06), 01(04)
12(04), 11(02), 10(03), 09(04), 08(03), 07(04), 04(01)
07(01), 05(01)
08(01)
10(01)

Thu, 03 Jan 2008
airport (0 comments)
our last day wasn't too exciting at all. we checked out the hotel, drove to the airport, waited several hours there, plus an additional hour for the delayed departure and finally got home to austria. here are some pictures of this wonderful trip to bruxelles.

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Wed, 02 Jan 2008
shopping tour (0 comments)
today we slept long (breakfast is until 10:30 here at the hotel, which is pretty cool), and went to town after having our "petit dejeuner", to go shopping. the only thing we really planned was to see the female part of the pissing trilogy. we already saw the boy, the dog, so there was still the girl to find. our guide said it is located in a dead-end street somewhere in the centre of the town. since the girl is not on the tourist-guide signs one can see all over the town - and they help tourists really very much when doing sightseeing - it was a bit hard to find her first. additionally, when we got there, there were only two japanese and three italians in the very narrow and dark street, so not really much people searching for the girl, as it seems. the fountain with the pissing girl unfortunately was locked away by iron bars, and the statue itself was a squatting girl with spread legs, but it was not pissing. guess it was because it's winter (although the boy actually was pissing). je suis tres triste!
shopping was - of course - fun, though we didn't really buy too much. most of the cloth shops here are the same as in austria, like H&M, esprit, zara, pimkie, C&A (yeah, i bought a trouser there - wohoo!), nafnaf, benetton, etc. after several hours of pure pleasure we returned to the hotel again and had loads of fun with tv series and movies again. so far we had fun with "friends", "knight rider", louise de funes movies, "buffy", "CSI miami", "CSI [someother-place]", "naruto", "pokemon", etc, etc. - if you think we're watching loads of tv, you're wrong. later that day we made use of the hotel's shuttle-bus that drives from the hotel to the centre of bruxelles to get something to eat. zombiequeen ate a quiche and i had a burger. both things were very good.

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Tue, 01 Jan 2008
tour 04 (0 comments)
as already planned in 2007 we started our fourth tour through brussels. this time - according to the guide - the "european side" of the town had to be explored. first stop was the old railway station "gare du luxembourg", or, to be more precise, the front of the building, as the rest was knocked down to make way for some EU-buildings. and that's exactly what you get in this district: huge new skyscrapers like the EU parliament and the building that houses the council of europe. fortunately there are loads of parks too, so it's not only concrete and glass, but also some green spots here and there. additionally there are really very run down houses too in this area, so that's a really weird mix you get there. on the way to "parc du cinquantenaire" one passes very old art nouveau houses, which really look cool.
in the huge park there's also the military museum and the museum for art and history, which both were closed today. additionally there were huge old buildings (monuments) there, which we didn't know what they were for, but they very as impressive as big. one of them reminded me of the brandenburger tor in berlin somehow.
after that we passed another EU-building and drove home, as the weather was not that good today and thus the buildings and parks were not that impressive but rather dull and drag. besides that we were pretty tired from our past tours, so we went home and enjoyed again some tv series and movies in original versions (some english, some french, like an original version of a louise de funes film, which we both enjoyed pretty much). no plans are yet made for tomorrow. i guess we will go shopping and have a relaxing day in bruxelles.

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Mon, 31 Dec 2007
atomium (0 comments)
since all museums are closed today and we didn't want to do a guided tour, we decided to have a relaxing day and drove to the atomium by tram. the atomium is located in the north of the town and it takes about 20 minutes to get there by tram. the area for the world-expo 1958 is pretty big, yet we were unsure what was all included 50 years ago. but for sure the atomium was, and a little history guide handed out at the entrance tells us, that actually it was planned to be destroyed after the expo (as all the other things built for each country), but due to it's popularity it is still standing today. there was a renovation in 2006, i guess they polished all the metal plates of the big scale (165.000.000:1) metal atom. the construction itself consists of nine bigger spheres, each of them is accessible by stairs or escalators. the two main spheres are additionally accessible by elevator.
the atomium's height is 102 metres. inside the spheres is a cafe, a restaurant, an exhibition of a designer that designed chairs (wtf?), a children's sphere (school classes can stay in this sphere over night), and the entrance hall. all in all it was nice and a little impressive. additionally we saw a cat there too. afterwards we had a good meal at a chinese restaurant that tasted pretty different from the usual chinese food one can get at those restaurants. having a nice after lunch stroll through the nicely illuminated city. they have a skyscraper too where one can send an SMS and then the message gets displayed along with a pattern one can choose too. though the idea is not new, the dimension of this one was new and impressive to me. see yourself:
and of course a happy new year to all the readers of this bLog! i for myself had a very great start of 2008 with zombiequeen :)

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Sun, 30 Dec 2007
tour 03 (0 comments)
first stop on our third tour brought us to the "galeries st hubert", one of the oldest roofed shopping malls of the world, and also pretty expensive, so we didn't buy anything there. instead we walked on to the comic museum, "centre belge de la bande dessinee". the exhibition was about belgian comic drawers mainly, but also a few french artists were shown. so we got to know all about lucky luke, tintin and milou, alix, marsupilami, and loads of other more or less famous comics.
passing the "place des martyrs" we came to the "saint jean baptiste au beguinage", an old and pretty ugly church from the outside. as it seems it is currently renovated, we did not go inside.
afterwards we were heading to the "tour noire" and "st. catherine", the black tower (though it was not really black at all) and another church, dedicated to holy catherine. in front of the church was another christmas market. located on the "marche aux poissons", the fish market, it had a cool round-about, with steampunk-like figures the children could sit, ride, and fly on.
loads of mulled wine, waffles, christmas stuff, arts and craft, and all the stuff one can find on a christmas market was there. additionally the citizens of bruxelles could ice skate on a big ice rink.
we decided to take a break, went home to our hotel room, were watching movies again, this time "le fabuleux destin d'amelie poulain" ("the fabulous destiny of amelie poulain") in the original french version. glad i've already seen it in german, so i knew what it was all about. later we had a pizza and took another walk through the center.
another exhausting but wonderful day has ended, and after watching "lord of the rings" in the french version, we went to bed.

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Sat, 29 Dec 2007
tour 02 (0 comments)
as planned we took tour two as suggested by our bruxelles guide. this tour started at the most famous citizen of bruxelles, namely "manequin pis", the little pissing boy. no idea why it's so famous, but our guide said it has over 600 costumes for all kind of occasions. and today it was dressed up in a strange costume too, guess it was some kind of christmas dress? so we paid the boy a visit just as everyone does, and i'm sure many others were asking themselves the same question i was asking myself: wtf is this all about? oh well, but we are kind and nice tourists, so we've been there. manequin pis: done. afterwards we went on passing by the "palais de justice", a really beautiful old building surrounded by run down and abandoned houses with broken windows and loads of waste in front of it - pretty strange scenery there.
next stop was again "grand'place", again pretty crowded and full of life. near there we saw the first cat in bruxelles. a talkative red tomcat. very cute and looking for someone to pet him - so lovely. additionally we went into a church that was along our tour. actually we don't know which one exactly it was or what it was called.
after that we took a break from our tour again and did another shopping trip through the shopping malls and streets of bruxelles. again we found pretty cool shops with all kind of wonderful stuff. after that i tried some burgers at "quick", the french (and belgian) version of mcdonald's. the burgers actually looked and tasted just like the ones from mcdonald's, but it's a bit cheaper. then we continued our tour. next stop was "cathedral st. michel". a quite big cathedral surrounded by some skyscrapers and modern buildings, mostly banks and the like.
taking the long tour made us pretty tired, so we went home, passing by "place de la bourse" again, but this time there were loads of projections on the building.
at the hotel we spent the rest of the evening watching tv series and movies in the original version with flemish subtitles.

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Fri, 28 Dec 2007
tour 01 (0 comments)
since our guide suggests various tours through bruxelles, with an average duration of three hours, we decided to take tour 01 today. this tour shows all the main tourist attractions one should see when going to bruxelles and is located right in the center of bruxelles. as we found out, bruxelles is rather small so one can go to most important places by foot. yet we considered buying a tourist bruxelles card, as it includes entry fees to some museums and the fees for the public transport system. the tour started at the "grand place", a huge place surrounded by very old and beautiful houses. most of them were old guild houses. of course loads of tourists were there, and we were right among them!
afterwards we were told to go to the "mont des arts", a little hill with loads of arts stuff (yep, that's what the translation means). since we both are not really into arts and crafts, we have passed this hill very fast, and came to the "place royal", which is the place for the royals (hard to guess, right?).
next to "place royal" is the "palais royal", the royal palace. those places are rather unspectacular, yet beautiful buildings.
afterwards we came by the stock market building and were drinking a mulled wine and a hot chocolate at the christmas market there. afterwards we moved on to the "parc de bruxelles", which is a huge park right in the center of the town. since it's winter it's not that beautiful as in summer i guess, nonetheless there was loads of trees, sculptures and shut down fountains.
located at the end of the park is the "palais de la nation", the house of parliament. next stop was "jardin de botanique", the botanic garden, which includes another big park we crossed.
then we came by several impressive buildings. since we already were a little exhausted, we didn't read on in our guide, but just were walking and enjoying what we saw. among the things we encountered was the pissing dog, another statue of the pissing beings series. our guide says there's a dog, a girl and of course the world famous little kid - all of them peeing. well, maybe those belgians have some weird fetish, who knows.
we didn't finish our tour as we didn't find the last spot to visit, namely the st. michel cathedral. but i guess we will have a look at it tomorrow, since tour two is in the same area as tour one. instead we returned to the stock market building and went shopping instead at a very crowded shopping street with loads of clothes shops (which zombiequeen enjoyed a lot).
finally we arrived at the hotel again and were pretty tired. so we spent the evening watching cool tv series in french, like knight rider, cartoon series and at prime time "lord of the rings" in german, since they offer one german tv channel.
day two done, we like bruxelles so far.

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Thu, 27 Dec 2007
going to bruxelles (0 comments)
so, today was the day zombiequeen (aka "karo") and i (aka "nostromo") were going to fly to bruxelles (aka "bruessel"). so i got up pretty early, wasted more than one hour with our water-heating system, since i wanted to take a shower. but it was in vain - no warm water for me that morning. ok, so i went to the railway station, bought a ticket to vienna and was going to vienna on the "EC - Europaeischer Computerfuehrerschein" train from linz to vienna - wohooo! zombiequeen fetched me from the central station in vienna and we drove to her parent's house. there we wanted to print out our flight- and hotel-reservation since the travel agency said we should do so. unfortunately zombiequeen got all the needed mails on her mail account from the university of applied science which, of course, had a planned downtime for maintenance. great - no mails, no information, no e-tickets for the airport. but we thought a passport should be sufficient to get our tickets. and luckily it was. the bigger problem was the hotel reservation. since we booked the hotel in september, we didn't even remember the name of the hotel. so, what to do? at first we called the booking agency, but lady in germany said she needed the booking-number to do any research. oh, guess what - we didn't have that one either, since it was in the email. ok, plan b was to ask michele to keep the sysadmins asking and annoying to finally get some access to the damn mail-server, so we could get the information we needed so desperately. our flight was scheduled for 17:55, the admins said it would be fixed at 17:00 by the latest. so we went to the airport and were hoping the admins could fix it and michele could get all the information for us. fortunately, both of them managed to do a great job, so we got the name and address (thanks again to michele and google-maps) of the hotel. so we finally were prepared and were boarding the plane happily. the flight itself was rather boring - the usual stuff one can expect from a flight to any destination within europe. so we arrived at the bruxelles airport and started the quest to seek our luggage. yeah, you know those signs with a piece of luggage showing you the way to those conveyor belt where you get your luggage back? yop, we followed them. and followed them. and followed them. and after a veeeery long walk through an almost empty airport (all shops were closed, and even "pizza hut" was closed) following those signs, we finally found our luggage. quest one solved! we decided to take the train to the town center, since it seemed less confusing to us then searching several bus-lines and the stations they are stopping at. the first surprising thing: the transfer from the airport to the city center was pretty cheap, 2.80EUR per person. if i remember correctly, this was the cheapest transfer i have ever had from an airport to the next town. it seems there are loads of railway stations in bruxelles, so we got off the train at the one that was closest to our hotel ("gare midi"). next quest was to find the exit of the train station. another pretty long walk through almost empty hallways and corridors. but of course we also finished this quest and got loads of experience points! on the map the distance from where we got off to our hotel seemed not that much, we decided to walk. so we saw very narrow houses, loads of africans, turkish, and other "foreign" people in this district. our bruxelles-guide (in paper form) said, that in the center of bruxelles loads of poor people (among them loads of immigrants) live. and that's exactly the impression we got. ok, admittedly, it was dark and already late when we were walking down those streets, so let's see what our impression will be tomorrow, seeing the scenery at daylight. as a side note: in austria it's just the other way round: people living in the center of a town are usually the richer ones, and around the town center are those ghettos with all the skyscrapers and the like. here it's the outer parts of the town where richer people prefer to live. day one is done. we are pretty tired and therefore are going to sleep now. we haven't made up any plans yet what we are going to do tomorrow, but i'm sure it will be interesting. so stay tuned!

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