Revised on Aug 12, 1:00 PM Local Time
Regardless of the title of the post, I’m sitting in a little cafe in Lubeck, Germany, writing this post.
If you read this post, you’ll quickly discover that its almost completely void of any real information. And… That’s because, Nancy, Xavier and I had a ball yesterday, and visited the F1 Track at Spa, in addition to visiting the war museum in Bolgne, and then on to Luxemb0urg, so that I could add one more country to my growing list.
But, the real problem is that, having checked into my lodging for the night, I’ve discovered that the property does not have Internet. Now, this is a pretty big issue, considering that it was listed on Booking.com as having Free WiFi, when in fact, it has no Internet access at all. So, I grabbed my PC, and headed out for dinner, hoping to find a cafe with WiFi.
As it turns out, the first cafe I came to, looked like a nice place, but when I asked about WiFi, the woman said that I would need to talk to the Chef. Presumably, this is not because Chefs know a lot about Wifi, but more likely because the Chef spoke English. And, in fact, she spoke English pretty well.
Well enough in fact to tell me that they do not have WiFi. I guess my little puppy dog eyes helped me get help, and she offered to let me connect to the Internet, using her phone as a hot spot, as long as I let her know when I was done, so she could change the password.
And so, here I sit, in an outdoor cafe, having just finished a meal of salad and ribs, writing this blog post.
My plan is to head to Travelmunde’ from Lubeck, and to find a big hotel, which provides WiFi, so that I can sit in the hotel all day, blogging, etc.
Now, I can already see some of the comments on this post. Someone is going to ask, don’t I have anything better to do than to sit in a hotel blogging, and the answer is No, I don’t. You see, Travelmunde is a small city, which seems to serve only one purpose. It is a huge port city, on the Baltic Sea, which takes in cargo, and has numerous ferrys, which deliver passengers to Nordic countries, and presumably a few other places.
So, I’m hoping I can find a Marriott, or a Sheraton, or something, which is big, and generally an American hotel. But, time will tell.
I’m now going to write the post for today, the 11th, but of course, I’ll write that separate. Both posts will be updated while I’m on the ferry, which will leave Travelmunde, and travel across the Baltic sea for 30 hours, until it arrives in Helsinki.
Wish me luck…
Newly inserted content
As promised, I’ve found WiFi, and am now able to render and upload the videos, and insert pictures, etc. So, without any further ado, here goes…
My day of sightseeing
I’m a Formula 1 fan, and so when I rode the bike on the E43 highway, which has 2 exits for Spa Frankorchamps, a world class, famous Formula 1 track, I thought about stopping and having a look around, but I decided to head straight to Nancy’s place. As it turned out, on this beautiful Saturday morning, the first thing that we did was to drive to Spa, to have a look around.
At this track is one of the most famous of all turns in F1. The turn is called Eau Rouge, and it’s known for demanding that the driver “fully commit” to the turn, or suffer the consequences of losing out to your rivals, who were able to commit. So, Eau Rouge is a very fast turn, and the drivers talk about the pucker factor for this turn.
As we entered the track, our worst fears were realized. There were people at the track. Lots of people, but they were not there to watch a race, they were there for some kind of heritage event, paying tribute to Volkswagens, and Volkswagen collectors. So, rather than being able to see race cars on the track, we saw a bunch of old, beat up volkswagens, dating back to the mid 40s. Not really my cup of tea, but to each his or her own.
But, as a result of having the bugs at the track, viewing was much restricted. So, I took two videos, which represent the turn, and what I was able to see.
Belgium / Spa Racing Museum
Belgium is a proud country, and they are very much interested in supporting all of the great sportsmen and women who have come from Belgium, and made it to the highest levels in their sport. And so, there is a museum, located under the Abby in Stabilot, which pays tribute to all of the cars, great drivers, and even their most famous cyclist, Eddy Merckx. The Belgians do love them some Belgium superstars.
Bastogne War Museum
After visiting Spa, we went looking for some World War II historic locations to have a look at. To some degree, by accident, we ended up on Bastogne, where there is a War Museum. I’m told that the museum has just been redone, and as a result, it was nothing less than fantastic.
The entire museum is delivered in a somewhat custom format to each person that comes through it. You’re handed a listening device, which seems to use Near-field communications to understand where it is, and it starts giving you an audio track, which is relevant to the exhibit you’re standing in front of.
In essence, there are narratives from the point of view of a 9 year old by, a 28 year old school teacher, a German officer, and an American corporal, all of whom tell you what’s happening, from their point of view. Each exhibit was like this, and it was awesome.
The Americans, largely lead by George Patten, liberated Belgium, and in particular Bastogne. The battle of the bulge took place in and around Bastogne, and the Americans were helped by the Belgian resistance, and by working together, they managed to defeat the Germans, who would be put on their back feet, and who would suffer a stunning defeat.
The Belgians have never forgotten what the Americans did, and there are American flags all over Belgium. It’s really heartwarming, and it made me proud to be an American.
As a result of all of this, there is a huge monument located just outside the museum, which pays tribute to all of the soldiers that died, and to the 50 states that they were from. The video below is a recap of the monument, and of the battle.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I am always trying to take in the local food, so that I can better understand the customs, and the culture. I mentioned this to Xavier, and he immediately launched a plan. He said that there is a particular kind of local food, which all Belgians eat, and love. And, he knew just what to get, and where to get it. So, we headed to a local, fast food kind of place, and Xavier ordered for us. He ordered Stof vlees frietjes. This dish is kind of like a sweet beef stew, served alongside french fries, which are covered in mayo.
Now, I love french fries with Mayo, but the Belgians put a huge amount of mayo on their fries, but they were excellent. The beef stew was also very good, albeit, a little bit sweet for my tastes.
Let’s fix the maps and routes
And so, with a long day behind me, I setup the laptop, and made changes to the route that would take me to Lubeck, and prepared for tomorrow morning.
Too bad about Spa, would have been really nice to have seen cars on the track.
Fries with Mayo based sauces are the bomb.
Really enjoying your travels. It starts my day off very nicely.
Yeh Alex, seeing cars run up the hill at Eau Rouge would have been great, but I don’t believe that most of the VW Bugs would even make it to the top of the hill, never-mind fighting the inertia…
And the fries were awesome. Love me some mayo.
We miss you here… next time we meet in Spain !
OK, you’re on. Next time, we meet in Spain.