Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Waterloo - I was defeated you won the war!

Today we went to the spot where the battle of Waterloo was fought. Wellington, and Blucher, who where the English, and Prussian marshals, Against Napoleon from France. The battle was on June 18, 1815, with 120,000 French and 240,000 Allied troops! Over 11,000 died that day with 50-70,000 wounded and another 3-5,000 dying from wounds over the next days. The French were routed and this ended Napoleon's reign. He went to exile in St. Helena and died in 1821 there.

Waterloo is about 15 km south of where we live in Brussels. Here is another handstand shot in front of the Lion.

To commemorate where Prince Guillaume of Orange was wounded, there was a HUGE cone mound (40.5 meters high, and 226 stairs to climb it) on the top was a Big lion cast out of all the discarded cannon balls. With our pass we could go to 2 films, climb the mound, a panorama, a wax museum, Wellingtons Headquarters, and Napoleons headquarters. but we didn't get to Napoleons headquarters.

On the left is a picture of a map with the battlefield in the background, and on the right is a picture of the panorama. Red is the Allies and blue are the French.
On the left is a picture of a sign for Wellingtons headquarters, and on tree right is a picture of a plaque of Uxbridge losing his leg by a canon ball  and said "I say, I've lost a leg" and Wellington said "by God sir I think you have." I think that was the funniest part of the tour in Wellingtons headquarters.
In the picture on your left I am showing how big those Leaves are. And on the right we are looking at a fancy bakery before going home. It's one of two Belgian bakeries/chocolateries selected for the Shanghai Expo in 2010!

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Apple Pie Gang!

This past week we went to the church to help make apple pies. On Wednesday and on thursday we helped peel the apples on the peeling machine like in the picture. On Monday we helped make the pies and wrap them and on Thursday next week we helped clean up and sell the pies!

In this video I am peeling the apple.
On the right Jacob is spreading out the dough for one of the crusts and on the left is a picture of part of the peeling gang on Thursday.
On the left someone is putting the crust in the tin and on the right I am holding one of the 550 pies!!
On the left is a picture of one of the covered pies with some sugar and an apple on top. On the right mommy is taking out a batch of 12 pies.
Here is a picture of some of the pies in the cooling room.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

My First Cross Stitch!

Meet my friend Snowy! He's not quite ready yet but he's already looking pretty sharp!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

My Latest Art Exhibit

I've been drawing Smurfs lately. Because when I was bored I Just Looked up "How to Draw a Smurf" or something like that.

I've also done Yoshi and and a Gooma, from Mario! I've done a few Blue Toads as well, but they couldn't join the party.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Big Bus Pull!

On one of our days in London we saw a band, police bikes and mounted police starting to congregate. We investigated a little and found out that there was going to be a BIG BUS PULL to raise money for the Veteran's Association. There were about 16 - 20 soldiers and police who pulled a big double decker bus full of people for 1 mile lead by the band and mounted police. It looked like very hard work!

Try dragging this massive flickr album around!

Sunday, 20 November 2011


Nov 19, the boys and I did the all-important Belgian pilgrimage to watch a real Euro cyclocross race. This was the 25th edition of the GP Hasselt, part of the Gazet van Antwerpen season series (one of three season-long points series of races, along with the Superprestige and the World Cup). And at CX races in Belgium, there's nothing like clogging your arteries with a cone of frits topped off with mayo and ketchup! Bonus that <14 is free entry at the race, and <12 travelled free on the trains on weekends!
Many of you reading this will know that, for the past four years or so, cyclocross has dominated my passion for cycling, so it's hard to describe how much I've been looking forward to watching one live in Belgium. I've whetted my appetite so far by watching live TV coverage every weekend, but CX is a 4-D sensory experience, whatever that means... We spent the early Juniors race checking out different vantage points for watching and photos. The great thing with CX is that you can walk all around and see the race multiple times over 60 minutes from different vantage points. Plus even standing in one spot, you can often see half the course. Not here in Belgium though, as there's too many crowds! Not to worry though, the organizers have several jumbotrons set up too.

A big messy CX flickr album!

And here's the "Roadside Pez" article I wrote for PezCycling News!

25 years of the GP Hasselt, and Sven Nys has won EIGHT of them! Check it out, that's the last seven in a row and 8 out of 9! No wonder his nickname is the Cannibal of Baal. The shot on the right is at the sign-in, where Nys parked his bike right in front of us. That amount of close-up access is definitely one of the special things about cycling. There's no chance you'll get this close to the stars in any other sport!
CX races feature both natural and man-made obstacles, with the purpose to force riders off the bike, jump off the barriers, and remount. One typical obstacle are sets of two barriers, max 40 cm high. Here in Hasselt, they used two massive logs. Being on a wide fast section, many riders chose to bunny-hop them. That was Bart Aernouts's plan too, but he completely biffed it hopping the second log on the 7th lap, right in front of us, and took down Sven Vantournant too.
In the grand cycling universe, cyclocross is a a tier below road racing and the heartland is absolutely in Belgium, and more specifically the Flanders region of Belgium. But being a bit fringe is still huge. Most of the big name riders have their own hard-core fan club that travels to all the races. We even saw young Espoir riders (<23years) with their own fan club! And forget boring hockey jerseys with the player's name on them, or scarves with Manchester United on them. You can get official Telnet-Fidea (a big cyclocross team) scarves with your favourite rider's name!
Another sign you're a big shot is when you have your picture plastered on your own bus and also your own table (never realized chocolate waffles were the breakfast of champions - must try it more!). Stybar, from the Czech Republic, is the two-time reigning World Champ. Even though there are teams in CX, it's very much an individual thing, as each rider has their own camper buses, mechanics, support team, etc. They even warm up by themselves on the trainer beforehand rather than in a group.
The perk of being World Champ is that, with the rainbow jersey, there's no mistaking you for somebody else! You get to wear it for the entire year if you win the Worlds race. Again, cycling gives you such close access you can pretty much get sweat on you watching riders warm up.
Every course in CX is different depending on the location. Some are very hilly, while Hasselt is pretty much dead flat and fast. Of course, the weather plays a huge role too, as the same course can be tremendously different if it's raining or frozen (wait until winter really arrives!). There was a long sand pit here in Hasselt, which is just SOOOO hard to ride through.
So did the Cannibal of Baal pull off an eight-peat? Close but no cigar. New kind-of-the-roost Kevin Pauwels has gone ballistic this season, and won it in a close sprint ahead of World Champ Zdenek Stybar with Nys 1s back in third!

Friday, 18 November 2011

British Museum

By Jacob, Zachary and Debbie

One of the great things about London is that a lot of the museums are free. Jacob says the British Museum is one of his favorites. We went there twice and still only saw a small portion of it.

Our Second London Flickr Album!

Rosetta Stone
One of the greatest treasures of the Museum is the Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta Stone is a rock with 3 types of writing that provided the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics It was found by French soldiers in 1799 at Fort St. Julien, el Rashid (Rosetta) Egypt on the western Nile Delta. It is a grey granite rock weighing 760kg. It is incomplete and was thought to be about 50 cm taller. There are 53 lines of Greek script, 32 lines of cursive demotic Egyptian script and 14 lines of ancient hieroglyphics. By comparing the known Greek with the others, it was possible to decipher the hieroglyphics. The inscription on the Rosetta Stone is a decree written in 196 B.C. on the first anniversary of the coronation of Ptolomy V who became ruler when he was 13 years old. 

We bought a 800 piece puzzle of the Rosetta Stone and Mom thinks it is the hardest puzzle we have ever done. At least as hard as deciphering the actual Rosetta Stone itself.

There was a large collection of Assyrian gates, carvings. There was a sculpture of the head of Sargon the Great and carved reliefs of the battles of Ashurpanipal.

Cyrus Cylinder
Another very interesting thing we saw was the Cyrus Cylinder. This is a clay cylinder with an account of the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 539 B.C. It was written in Babylonian script and was designed to be buried in the city walls of Babylon.  It has records of the kings of Babylon and then part in Cyrus' own words starting "I, Cyrus, king of the world..." Cyrus is the king talked about in Isaiah who released the Israelite people from their 70 years of captivity and allowed them to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple and walls there.

Hokusai Wave
There was also an exhibit about Hokusai's print "The Great Wave", also called Under the Wave, off Kanagawa. This was a colour wood block print by Katsushika Hokusai in 1831 and is unarguably the most famous Japanese print of all. It shows Mount Fuji in the background and a great storm wave towering over 3 fishing boats in the foreground. 
The British Museum is so huge and comprehensive because the British Empire was so good at grabbing and taking things from places throughout the world - the ultimate sticky-fingered discount! And it wasn't even just little small stuff they'd sneak in their pockets. We're talking massive Egyptian statues and whole Greek temples! Imagine paying the shipping on this stuff!
It wouldn't be the British without lots and lots of mummies. No King Tut though. The mummies are the second most popular thing at the British after the Rosetta Stone. Luckily, it was a Sunday and the crowds weren't too overwhelming.
The British also had an exhibit 'from metal to medal' about the creation of the London Olympic medals, from mining the ore through to design and casting. Hey, the medals are designed by an artist named Lin CHEUNG!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Nevsky Prospect

Done with Zachary
Nevsky Prospect is one of the main streets in St. Petersburg, so let's take a walk on a beautiful Wednesday since everything in the city is closed! There are at least 6 cathedrals on Nevsky Prospect. One is called the Armenian cathedral and another is called the Kazan cathedral. On Nevsky prospect we found a Lego store. It was very small but  everything was close together so there was a lot of Lego. They had lots of different sets and they had some Lego games. On Nevsky Prospect there are also a lot of restaurants and shops. We walked down this street the day we got to St. petersburg and it was dark and rainy and we were all tired. Also on Nevsky Prospect is an 18th century shopping mall and it is a kilometer deep. It is called Gostiny Dvor and started out as a place where tradesmen lived and worked. There is also a Monument to Catherine the Great and it is beside the Russian National Library. Across from the Catherine the Great monument is the Stragonoff Palace. Behind the yellow building is the huge Alexander Theatre.

The Bridge across the Fontanka River is called the Anichkov Bridge. It has 4 horse statues named the Horse Tamers, designed by Pyotr Klodt and an intricate iron railing.
It is said that the Armenian Cathedral was paid for by the sale of one diamond by Catherine the Great. That must be one big rock!
This is a statue of the famous poet Alexander Pushkin, who died in a pistol duel. He's in front of the massive Russian Museum, which is guarded by these tough-looking lion statues.
The Kazan Cathedral took 10 years to build; it took from 1801 till 1811. It is a Russian Orthodox church and was modeled after St. Peter Basilica in Rome. It also has approximately 90 columns outside.