Brussels, Belgium

Jackie's World Travel

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The first Country people think to plan for a trip to Europe is probably not Belgium. Although the capitol of Brussels is quite well known, primarily for it being the headquarters of the European Union,  it’s not a huge tourist destination. While planning our trip to England, we couldn’t decide which city we wanted to spend the last two days of our trip. London’s chunnel is a two hour underwater straight shot to two places on the European mainland- Brussels or Paris.  Although we ended up choosing Paris, my thoughts never left Brussels. I started researching and found Belgium is an amazing country – so amazing that I decided to book our next to trip there, adding Amsterdam at the end of it.

On this trip I got that “first time” feeling that I hadn’t really experienced since my first time to Europe. I think it’s because this trip was…

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Where in the World?


I have a dream. I have traveled quite a bit the past few years, and of all the places I’ve been, Prague is where my heart is. The magic of Prague is REAL. I always think about how Disneyland is said to be the most magical place on earth, but what makes it magical are the replicated storybook villages in the park and the movies, very often based on European countries and other far away lands. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Prague and the country of Czech Republic are still quite an untapped gem for tourists – but I think that’s what makes it so great.

Christmas just ended and I always think of Prague during Christmas time. Not because I went there during Christmas time, but because it is a my dream to go back to Prague during Christmas time. I want to take my little girls there when they are older. Preferably OVER Christmas. I want to see the gorgeous Gothic spires covered in white, the colorful buildings, the Charles Bridge, the majestic castle upon the hill with the icy river below … but most of all, I want to go to the Christmas market in the Old Town Square. I want to buy a few of their famous hand-carved Marionette puppets and eat their delicious brats with the sweet ketchup . .. for some reason, everything is different when it’s cold – yes, sometimes it’s more miserable, but there often seems to be an even more nostalgic feeling to Europe.

SO NOW MY QUESTION TO YOU ISWhere do YOU want to go? If you could go anywhere in the entire world for free, where would it be? Don’t think too hard about it … what is the FIRST thing that comes to mind? I know, it’s a hard question, especially if it’s the ONLY place you will go in your lifetime. But I would absolutely LOVE to know where YOU would go and WHY.

Where do you dream about? What makes you excited? What SEASON do you want to experience this part of the world? Each season comes with a distinctly different feel. Who would you want to take with you? Would you want to go alone and then come home and tell everyone about your great adventures? Or would you want to take your entire family? Would you spend your money on high-end restaurant experiences or eat cheap food on the run? Will you be active? Will you spend the majority of your time hiking, kayaking and rock climbing or will you spend it relaxing and meditating? Or perhaps socializing and drinking?

Please feel free to post your responses in the comments below. I would love to read them!

A far away land called Now

Bliss in the City

My friend has just announced she is taking a sabbatical year to go to Asia and learn all about the art of being happy.

She stares at me possibly expecting words of praise and admiration.

I stare back at her wondering what it is she couldn’t find over here in London and why it is that so many before her have ventured down the road so often traveled.

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The Guinness Brewery

Jackie's World Travel


The famous Guinness Brewery is an obvious must see on anyone’s first trip to Dublin, but after I had gone, I wished I would have done my research on what I was really going to be seeing to avoid disappointment.

The Guinness Brewery in Dublin is not like taking a tour of the Coors Brewery in Colorado. For those who have not been to the Coors Brewery, you get to tour the actual brewery where you can see the workers and the actual process of the beer being made in the factory. Being an ignorant first time traveler that hadn’t done enough research, I was expecting the same thing from the Guinness Brewery. I couldn’t wait to see the happy Irishmen bustling about brewing their famous drink in the Country of its birth!

At my own fault and to my regret, I was mistaken and sadly disappointed.


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Just a thought …

Many European buildings have grand, intricate and artistic architecture that will blow you away. Every time I go to Europe I think to myself, “Do these people realize where they live?!” As an American from a very young country, we just don’t have what they have. Not only is the architecture breathtaking, but most of it is historically important. I could see where a local could easily take it for granted. It would be easy to do so when you don’t know anything different, and when it’s literally everywhere you turn! I’ve seen many cathedrals that took several HUNDRED years to build! 

In the United States, we tear down and build up in a matter of months. It seriously upsets me every time I see a perfectly fine building being torn down and a new one of similar structure built in the same spot. In Europe, the concept of tearing something down is nearly unheard of. They build on top of everything making it bigger and better, making great use of their resources. In Europe, they take their time making something worth while, knowing that it may not be finished in their lifetime. How amazing is that? When they make something new, they try to be creative and give it their all, not just build another square metal building. They are constantly restoring, refurbishing and renovating. Just think how much history would have been lost if Europeans hadn’t seen the value in preserving their buildings?

In my local city, we had several amazing historic buildings built in the late 1800’s (which is old for us) that were later demolished. If we had persevered these buildings, we would have been on the same road as Europe to eventually have very old and historically valuable structures. How can we ever hope to have these if we don’t ever give them a chance? I hope this way of building and preserving continues in Europe, and doesn’t die with the old world.

Reject B&K’s Appeal To Erect A Building For Breeding Beagles For Research

I have two beagles at home, one that I rescued. This tugs at my heartstrings. Please help put an end to this and sign the petition if you feel the same.

Lynne's Art and Soul

Please sign the petition tonight and pass it on to your friends.  5,000 more signatures are needed before tomorrow so there isn’t much time.  B&K want to erect a building where they can breed beagle puppies for research.  Beagle are largely used in toxicity (poisoning) tests for drugs and chemicals. They will be born just so they can be tortured.  Puppies should be in loving homes, not subjected to this barbarity.

Please help to get this appeal rejected.  Sign the petition.  Now.  Thank you.

Beagle mum and puppies

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What Does It Matter!

Love this

In Flow with Otto

Why bother about trying to define what photography is? And does it matter whether a photo is digitally altered or not – in the end who gives a damn? In my post The Heart of Photography last week I initiated a discourse about what is and what is not photography. I didn’t try to come to any conclusions but my intent was to raise some open and relevant question. The comments and the debate after I had written the post were both engaging and diverse.

Many of those who commented were not troubled by the possibility that the digital era of photography has opened up for huge alterations and manipulations of the photographic expression, they saw it either as an extension of the artist’s vision and the artist’s interpretation of the moment of capture, or simply didn’t care – they want to take their photos and don’t feel the need…

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Une Generation Perdue

I am just eating this blog up!!!! A great post from another fellow Irish blogger

Critical Dispatches

The house on Gunnersbury Park was the first place I lived in London, and it was one of the filthiest pits in the city. For starters, it was much too small. There were over 25 bodies living there and we only had 8 rooms between us – and that’s not even mentioning the backpackers, dilletants, idlers and debauchers who were always turning up on the doorstep in need of a place to stay. Name a country and you can bet we had one of their sons or daughters sleeping under our roof at some point. We were all good friends and we did everything together. You could cook with the Italians, argue politics with the Portuguese, samba dance with the Brazilians, gamble with the Polish and get dismally drunk on discount wine with the Australians, in the same evening. At one point we had an entire Lithuanian family spend the winter living in…

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