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Belgium: The Land of Chocolate

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Alrighty, let me just start out by saying that Belgium was pretty amazing. We we first arrived we went on our tour of a chocolate factory. We learned about the entire process of how they harvest the coco beans, and how they make that into the different types of chocolate. (white, milk, dark). Then we watched one of their employees make chocolate right in front of us, which we got to try (that was totally my favorite part).

Walking around Brussels was different then you might imagine. I originally thought it was going to be all historic, but I was surprised to see that it was a definite mixture of old and new. In other cities there was definite separation between the older and the newer districts, but in Belgium, specifically Brussels you could see one old building and then a modern looking one right next to each other. 

Some of the most notable landmarks they have we went to see. We saw the Mannequin Pis, (which is a little boy peeing who apparently saved the town by peeing on a fire), and the Atomium, which is a huge building shaped like an atom where you can have dinner in if you're willing to pay 50 euros for a salad. 

We also went and saw the European Parliament, where the EU does a lot of their decision making. Unfortunately their main center where they all meet was closed due to construction, but we still had a lot of educational information that I found pretty interesting. We learned about how they are set up, with a sort of checks and balances between three decision making groups, and how the parties are constructed and how they use their time. 

I think my favorite part of Belgium was Brugge, a medieval city near the sea. We went and walked around the city, and went on a boat tour of the canals. Everything in the city was beautiful. They had amazing buildings and shops, and I could have spent a week just being in that one place, but of course I said that about most of the places we went! 

This entire trip was really a fantastic experience, and I am so glad that I got to have this adventure with a really fantastic group of people!

-Faith

The Royal Luxembourg

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 Bonjour-  This is Tatiana
Two days ago I was in Luxembourg, a small country in the heart of Europe.  I would like to share my amazing adventure I had at the Wenzel Walk in Luxembourg. It started at 8:00 A.M having a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, and the weather was warm and clear for seeing sites. The walk start from the Bock Promontory which is one of the few Rock on which Siegfried, Ardenne, built his Castle in 963. This started the county of Luxembourg from the entrance to the top of the Castle with ground galleries. it's one of the few fortifications left is call the Bock Casements. We had picturesque a walk through the tunnels, it was and amazing experience to see where the soldiers used to live and eat. The next day, we visited Vianden Castle which was constructed in various sections, between the 11th and 14th centuries on the foundations of a Roman 'castellum' – a small detached fort. It is one of the largest and most beautiful feudal residences of the Romanesque and gothic periods in Europe. Until the beginning of the 15th century it was the seat of the influential Counts of Vianden who could boast their close connections to the Royal Family of France and the German Imperial Court. We spent two hours exploring Vianden Castle in the morning and left for Brussels to see the sights including the Mannequin Pis.  Our next article about Brussels will come from Faith. – Merci!


Wine or Sparkling Water...who knows?!(4)

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*Beware: Spell-Check Needed!!

6/17/13

Imagine yourself reclined in a carved wooden chair staring at a calm, well-paved city street wrapped in a blanket of warm breeze. I sipped on a glass of sparkling water from picturesque vineyards on distant hills under dimmed city lights in a district of Stuttgart that managed an unemployment rate of 0%--An ultra-impressive feat that amazes me every time I think about it. My amazement soon drowned in the sight of two identical black on white Audi R8's that rolled up to a stop light in front of me, revving at each other, generously complimenting laughter and meaningful conversation sprouting from a table of wine gusseling Stuttgart locals (Lutheran) most likely making jokes about inconsiderate Bavarians (Catholics) from Münchin who drink beer like it's the only substance that sustains life on this earth...which I can see myself getting used to. 

Alright, back to the automotive magic--after all, the impatient, supercharged V10, 550 horse power engines were still waiting for their bill of rights--a green light. As the rear-engine monsters of the road squealed their $16,000 Pirelli racing tires, a moment of clarity arose. In the last few days, we had toured two of the most powerful car manufacturers in the galaxy, let alone the solar systems or god forbid even the earth. Both the BMW and Audi factories are the embodiment of automotive majesty. We were in the home of Porshce, Einstein and Schiller. As an overly ambitious gear-head who loathes German engineering, thrives on accuracy, and prefers William Shakespeare over Susan Collins any day of the week, I was and am having the time of my life. 

So there I was in my comfy chair; priceless cars whizzing bye, warm air caressing me, and endless hills of vineyards in the distance. My experience in Germany has been short, but exceptionally sweet. Tomorrow brings castles and chocolate..yes!

Kind Regards,

Joseph

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