Sunday, June 29, 2014

Horses, Chickens, Bunnies, and the BIGGEST Pigs you ever saw!

Today in Soignies there is an "Agricultural Festival", unfortunately it's currently raining cats and dogs outside, however when we went earlier today it was relatively dry (which means a few sprinkles but for the most part it was nice). There were horses everywhere - especially mares and colts.
They were still unloading some of the horses - so we got to see them get another mare and colt out of this trailer...they didn't really want to come at first so when they finally did come out, the colt did a little jump - which both scared and thrilled the monkey...it was a lot of noise and the big horse was coming straight for us, but when the colt jumped the monkey loved it because it was not something he expected at all!
Most of the horses had their hair done - ribbons braided in...tails cut down...
This colt was very curious, he came over to check the monkey and I out...its mama wasn't too thrilled about it though so she started neighing and hitting the trailer until her colt turned around and came back to her
We had fun walking around and seeing all the horses
The monkey really wanted to ride a horse, unfortunately there wasn't any riding happening so we just enjoyed looking at the animals.
After seeing the horses we were getting ready to head over to the "CHICKENS!" but someone became sidetracked by the flowers...
We did eventually get to the chickens, ducks, and bunnies, but the monkey wasn't as into them when we were standing right in front of them as he was when he was talking about seeing them...
Then it was time to walk through the stands and see all the goodies! We bought cheese, sausages, honey, and wine before heading up the "hill" to see the "Pigs, mommy!" And these pigs were HUGE! It also started to rain a bit while we were looking at them, so I only got a couple of pictures...but these pigs were about the size of 4 of my monkey...we walked past a few that were in their pens and their snouts were almost as big as the monkey's head...they were HUGE...and yes we made pig sounds to the pigs to say "Hi" we also talked about how much bacon and ham these pigs would make (because we like bacon and ham, and these were not cute little piglets...). The amazing thing about these pigs is that they appear to be super lean, it's similar to the cows here too - they look like body builders! It's crazy how muscular they are - "crazy" simply because it's not something I'm used to seeing...sure I've seen huge pigs at the state farm, but those pigs just look big and squishy...I don't see every ripple of muscle on their bodies...these pigs it was taking 2-3 adult men to move them back into their pen after they walked around getting "judged" by the judges, and as they walked it was 1 solid body that moved.
But since it was raining and it was getting closer to lunch time, it was time to get the hungry hungry hippo (the monkey) home for lunch and then down for his nap...and it was just in time for the downpour to hit!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mechelen

Last Friday Rusty took a day off and we went up to Mechelen to see all the churches...
I read somewhere that there were tons of churches in this town, and since the Monkey LOVES churches I figured we should go check this place out! Of course I should've paid attention to church hours because NONE of the churches were open (they all open at 1p)!
But we had "fun" walking around them...the monkey walked on the grass, sat/climbed on the little walls, knocked on the doors and on the carved stations of the cross outside the church (saying "OPEN! Jesus!")
It was a beautiful church on the outside, so I'm sure it was on the inside as well. And sorry, I have no clue which church this was! (The map they gave us at the information center didn't jive with the directions the woman at the information center told me. When I walked into the office the 2nd time she seemed surprised that I couldn't figure stuff out and said "Oh aren't you the typical woman - you can't read a map!" but the thing was - I could read the map, it was that what she said wasn't what the map was showing and so I wanted to verify so we didn't walk all over kingdom come to find the place we were looking for. And the reason I went back in was I told Rusty where she said we needed to go and he said we needed to go the opposite direction - so with 2 different opinions I just wanted to verify, especially since she was the "local who should know"...)
Unfortunately for this kid Jesus never opened the church door for him...
But never fear - if he doesn't answer the door he must be at the Stations of the cross outside right?!
But nope, he didn't answer there either...
But just because he didn't answer didn't mean the monkey gave up!
We admired the architecture...and the blue sky which decided to appear!
Then, while I was still admiring the church, he found this little, what he considered to be "a play area" on one side...
I actually do have to amend my previous statement about all the churches being closed, because the cathedral was open, but there was a wedding taking place we couldn't go in it either, however we could take a peek inside.
Let me back up a minute though - because before we saw these two churches (and others that were also closed) we had found the Brusselpoort (Brussels Gate) - which is the last city gate in Mechelen! We walked around it and through it...unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the gate from across the street - you know, where you could actually get a picture of the whole gate! But it is literally like a little island with traffic flowing around it on all sides...
The buildings, like most of the buildings in the Grand Place (pronounced "platz" - it's basically the center old town) of all the towns we've been to in Belgium, are beautiful and very detailed - some even with statues in them...(and yes this is also true of other cities/towns throughout Europe)
But to get to the Grand Place there were waterways to cross over, with beautiful flowers...the monkey wanted to stand and watch the ducks, as well as look out for fish to jump (because he was sure they were going to jump)!
And like most Grand Place layouts - you have a big church (in this instance a cathedral) and the Town Hall...
AND just so you remember that you're in Belgium - there was a small Manneken Pis in a window...this time he was an angel!
Close-up of Town Hall...
Up close of the Cathedral on the other side of the Grand Place...I really just like the fronts of all the buildings!!
Two statues - Mother and Child on the left was in the little courtyard behind the Town Hall, and Op-signoorke, on the right, was in front of Town Hall in the Grand Place (you can click the link to read more about him).
Then of course there were the little side streets with their statues and architecture...
I have to say I do want to go back and see inside the churches! The town itself was alright, but there are a couple of churches that have Rubens in them - I want to see them! But at the same time, with this kid in meltdown central when the churches are open, we'll have to see if we get there again or not...most likely we'll go exploring other places first!