Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Antwerp, Belgium

We have run into a delay to meet up with the van. The ship doesn't arrive until the 29th or 30th of April. Then there is a holiday on Monday, so we can't get the Sprinter until Tuesday morning. We decided to go to Antwerp to meet with our shipping agent to complete the paperwork to ensure things go smoothly on Tuesday. We have seen everything in Brugge and needed to move on.

Windmill in Brugge

I love store windows. We walked by this one several times. I love these guys.

Michelangelo's Madonna of Brugge in the Church of our Lady. It is beautiful but hard to see, to far away and behind a thick piece of glass.

 Provinciaal Hof in Grote Markt, Brugge

Antwerp is a large city compared to Brugge. We have only just arrived, but it looks interesting. We arrived in Central Station which is located in the diamond district. There are jewelry stores in every direction you look. 

We had dinner at Bier Central in an old beer keg. A restaurant with a lot of character and good food.

We will start exploring tomorrow. The forecast is for cold temperatures, thunder storms, rain, and hail. Should be fun. We can hardly wait to get the Sprinter and head south for warmer weather and sun shine.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Brugge, Belgium

We flew from Baltimore to London a couple of days after the Sprinter shipped. The van went to New York City and is now crossing the Atlantic. Tomorrow the ship stops in Germany, then on to Zeebrugge. We meet up again on the 29th of April, a few days later then originally scheduled. We both miss the convenience of having our on vehicle, but we are enjoying ourselves. 

We stayed in the London area with our friends Chad and Champa. We met them through the Silk Route Network. They like to travel the world in their Sprinter also. Next month they leave to tour South America in their Sprinter. We had a wonderful time visiting with them.
After a couple of days in London, we headed to Brugge on the Eurostar. The train is fast. You hardly realize you went under the channel. The train took us from London to Brussels. From there we caught a train to Brugge. The transportation system in Europe is great. Trains go everywhere and are frequent.

Brugge is a beautiful city. It has canals and bridges everywhere. We have enjoyed walking around the past two days. It has been very cold, with several passing hail showers yesterday. Today the weather is forecasted for heavy showers. We think we will visit a couple of museums.

 Minnewater (Lake of Love)

There are sidewalk cafes everywhere. It must be really nice to eat outside on a warm day. You would absolutely freeze to death now.

We need to ride this ferris wheel. If the weather clears the views should be fabulous.

Window for a kitchen store. They have fun stuff for the kitchen.

Of course there are chocolate shops everywhere. It is totally amazing what they do with chocolate.

These chocolates are for you Don. A new set of tools. I am not sure how useful they are, but they sure would taste good.

Strolling the city of Brugge.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

More of Washington DC

We spent a day at the National Zoo. The zoo is nice, but it is not Woodland Park Zoo. Every time we visit a zoo, I measure it against Woodland Park and it almost never measures up. 

There were some good points about this zoo. The pandas - this is Mei Xiang having lunch.

The seal lions were fun to watch. This one kept playing with all the kids in the viewing area.

Bill felt sorry for this eagle and lent him his cap. The sun was bright and it looked like he was getting a sun burn.

Lunch time. Our favorite place to eat - food trucks. There are a lot of them in DC. Everyone we have tried is good.

We visited the National Building Museum. This is where they have one of the Inaugural Balls when the president takes office. The space is huge and very grand. We took the historic building tour. Our guide was wonderful. It was very interesting and we learned a lot.

The Capital Building under renovation.

The orchids in the United States Botanical Gardens were fabulous.

We wanted to see the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial with the lights on so we spent Friday night wandering around after dark. It was great. A beautiful evening with tons of other people doing the same thing. We had a good time.

Selfie of Patti and Bill looking at the Washington Monument.

The sun setting, the wind blowing, and the moon making an appearance.

The Lincoln Memorial - this is such a wonderful memorial.

While we were there, a school choir group sang. It was very emotional when the sang The Star Spangled Banner.

What a great view!

Thursday, April 14, 2016


We spent one day walking around downtown Baltimore and visited the Baltimore Museum of Art. The weather was really cold. Even had short snow showers a couple of times. I think it would be a nice city to spend more time if the weather was warmer. We rode the bus everywhere. The people were very friendly and helpful. We used Google Maps to navigate the bus system. If you have ever used it for that then you know how helpful it is. It tells where the bus stop is, which bus to catch, where to transfer, and you can track where you are just like driving in the car. How simple is that? How did we survive before smart phones?

Downtown Baltimore

Inner Harbor

The Thinker

Art Quilt at Baltimore Museum of Art. Picture doesn't show it, but I really liked the quilting.

Washington DC

 We traveled to Washington DC on the MARC train. Only took about an hour to Union Station where there is a red line Metro Station. Our Airbnb is close to the Medical Center stop on the red line. It could not have been easier. It sure is nice to have good public transportation when you are without wheels. All of Washington DC is easy to get around. The Metro goes everywhere. Walking is good also, but there is a lot of it. So far we have visited several memorials, the American History Museum, and the American Indian Museum. Does anyone have any favorites you would like to suggest?

The Jefferson Memorial

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

FDR Memorial

American History Museum - Archie and Eidth Bunker set. Do you remember All In The Family?

American Indian Museum

The White House - It is hard to get a good photo with all the security measures.

There was a lot of commotion down the block from where we were looking at the White House so we decided to check it out. Luck was with us, they were filming an episode of NCIS and guess who was in the scene, Mark Harmon. I love that show.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Baltimore Maryland

We arrived in Baltimore on 4/6/16 at 6:00 PM, just as Bill had scheduled. We spent the night in a Walmart parking lot near the shipping docks. What a relief to have the drive across the US done. We made it in 5 days. All we did was drive the interstates. 

Our first day was really bad. We were questioning if we should even make the trip. We hit the road at about 10:30 the morning of April 1st.  Before we got to Central Point the DEF warning light came on. We stopped at the Pilot gas station and added 2 1/2 gallons (bad sign) and drove to Klamath Falls. The DEF warning light was still on and in addition the engine light came on. We added another gallon of DEF. The light still did not go out. After several phone calls we decided the best thing to do was to go back to Medford to the Mercedes dealership. We arrived Friday evening, camped in the dealership lot, hoping they would be able to work on it in the morning. Their service department was booked solid for Saturday service.

We got lucky. They took pity on us and worked on the van first thing in the morning. The problem was fixed and we were on the road 24 hours later then originally planned. Now we had a day to make up. We had to drive longer each day so there was no time to get out and walk. 

We did get in one unexpected stop. We found we were in the area of our bike trip on the GAP trail, Pittsburgh to Washington DC. We visited West Newton, our first night on the bike trip after riding 34 miles. Still looked the same.
 The Trail in West Newton.

 Trail mileage sign.

This is the B and B we stayed in.

The van has now been delivered to the shipping docks. The Sprinter is waiting to be loaded and  start the journey across the Atlantic. We are going to spend time in Baltimore, Washington DC, London, and Bruges until we meet up with the van again.

I made good use of the 1st couple of days on the road. I finished Sprinter Quilt 2 - Etcetera ......
Sprinter Quilt 1 - Stepping Stones stayed home. There was not room in the van for 2 quilts.