Monday, November 19, 2012

Travel Goals

Dan and I have set a goal to travel to a new place at least one time a month.  That is really easy right now, as everywhere I go is a new place, but will get more challenging as our time here continues.  Note that I said, at least.  I would go somewhere every weekend if I could, but that may be a little much for our budget.  Especially with me not working right now).

October was pretty easy…moving here was my new place.  But, we did also head to Brussels on day and I went with my neighbor to an incredible zoo that is just around the corner.

Pairi Daiza

According to their website, Paira Daiza means enclosed garden in ancient Persian, or the oldest name for paradise.  I would have to say this place comes pretty close.  It is truly breathtaking.  What?  A zoo breathtaking?  This is unlike any zoo you will see in the US.  I would classify this place more as gardens with animals, than your typical zoo. 

Pairi Daiza started its life as an abbey, founded in 1148.  The abbey was dissolved in 1797 and it was sold to the Counts of Val de Bealieu who owned it until its current owners purchased it in 1993.  The zoo started as a bird garden and there is still an incredible collection of unique birds (Mark and Steven, this place has you written all over it). 

Our neighbors have season passes, so Ava and I tagged along with them for the day.  The season just ended for the year, but in March Dan and I plan to get season passes for our family.  It costs 24 euro to visit for the day, or 47 Euro for the entire season.  They have a great playground, too.  Here are some pictures from our day. 

The park surrounds this beautiful lake, filled with unique birds.

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This incredible building, the home of the Counts, now is home to jellyfish, starfish, and other sea critters.  Yup, it is an aquarium.  We didn’t make it in there on this visit. aquarium

The following two pictures show one of the public bathrooms.  This was definitely a unique bathroom.  The pictures make it look dirty, but it wasn’t.  It was actually quite beautiful (for a bathroom).  It was a little cold though, so not sure I would use them:)


I had this picture on my Facebook page.  As we were leaving we saw this elephant taking a stroll through the park.

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Notice the tower in the distance.  This was part of the original Abbey.  Today, it holds hundreds of bats flying freely, and yes it is an exhibit you can enter. 

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My favorite animal.  This place had the coolest giraffe exhibit.  You can actually climb up to the decks shown in the picture and pet the giraffes.  There were a lot of exhibits that allow visitors to interact with the animals. (Lauren, you would LOVE this).

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Ava and Adelyn had a great day.  I am sure there will be a few more posts about this place in the future.

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Back to my New Place a Month goal.  For November we headed to Germany.

We went to Ramsteim AFB to get some shopping done at the PX.  We have been having a hard time finding a few things we needed for the house and wanted to get a crack at some Christmas shopping for Ava.  This is a much larger base than where we are currently, so there was a bigger selection. 


We spent our evenings in Kaiserslautern.  I was really impressed with this city.  It was beautiful and there was a great selection of restaurants. One night we ate at Spinnradl, which has fantastic traditional German food. 

.imageWe had Indian food the next night.  It was a quick trip, but it gave us a nice taste of Germany.  We plan to get more of a taste next month.  We are going to the famous Christmas market in Nuremberg.  I plan to take a ton of pictures there and I will share. 

That’s not it for November, this weekend we are going to France to check out some crazy Le Crueset sale.  Once a year they have an incredible sale where everything is close to 75% off.  Between fighting people off with cast iron pans I will try to remember to take some pictures. 

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