Benelux countries / Beneluxi maad

Benelux is a political-economic alliance between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Nowadays the name Benelux is primarily used with a meaning of their cultural, economic and geographical cohesion of these countries. Since all these three countries are quite small, I decided to visit all of them in one trip.

Benelux on Belgia, Hollandi ja Luksemburgi vaheline poliitilis-majanduslik liit. Tänapäeval kasutatakse nime Benelux peamiselt silmas pidades nende maade kultuurilist, majanduslikku ja geograafilist ühtekuuluvust. Kuna kõik kolm riiki on oma pindalalt väiksed, otsustasin kõiki ühe reisi jooksul külastada. IMG_6334One of my best friends is from Belgium, so it was the main destination of my trip. Belgium is even smaller than Estonia, but about ten times more people live there. Belgium capital city Brussels, is known for the headquarters of the European Union and International Secretariat of NATO what are located in the city. There are many more beautiful and fascinating attractions in Brussels. Victor Hugo has said that the main square of Brussels – Grand Place – is the most beautiful squares in Europe. All baroque and gothic style building on this square are really beautiful.

Minu parim sõbranna on pärit Belgiast ja seega oli reisi põhi sihtkohaks just Belgia. Belgia on oma pindalalt isegi Eestist väiksem, inimesi aga elab seal ligi 10 korda rohkem. Belgia pealinn Brüssel on tuntud selle poolest, et seal asub nii Euroopa Liidu peakontor kui ka NATO rahvusvaheline sekretariaat. Lisaks neile on linnas palju ilusamaid ja põnevamaid vaatamisväärsusi. Linna peaväljaku, Grand Place, kohta on Victor Hugo öelnud, et see on Euroopa kauneim väljak. Kõik barokk- ja gootistiilis hooned sellel väljakul on tõesti väga ilusad!IMG_6350IMG_5733IMG_5762IMG_5897The oldest inhabitant of Brussels is the Manneken Pis’, a little sculpture by bronze has been the symbol of the city since 1619. According to the legend it has saved the city from a devastating fire. I thought that this sculpture is big, but actually it is really small.

Brüsseli vanim elanik ehk Manneken Pis’ ehk pisikese pissiva poisikese pronksskulptuur on olnud linna sümbol juba aastast 1619 ning legendi järgi on see päästnud linna hävitavast tulekahjust. Mina muidugi kujutasin ette, et see on suur kuju, aga tegelikkuses pisike poisike 😀 IMG_5713IMG_5724IMG_5812The streets of Brussels have endlessly number of souvenir shops selling traditional Belgian products. The Smurf comic is from Belgium, but there are too few Smurf themed souvenirs. I am a real Smurfs lover and hoped to see more Smurfs themed things. In one of the souvenir shops the selling man couldn’t believe his eyes when he accidentally saw that I have a Smurf tattoo.

Brüsseli tänavatel on lõputult suveniiripoode, kus müüakse Belgia traditsioonilisi tooteid. Koomiks “Smurfid” on pärit just Belgiast, kuid Smurfi teemalisi suveniire on kahjuks vähe. Mina kui suur Smurfide armastaja oleks lootnud näha rohkem Smurfi teemalisi asju. Ühes suveniiri poes aga ei suutnud müüja oma silmi uskuda, kui ta kogemata nägi, et mul on Smurfi tätoveering 😀IMG_5704In addition to endless souvenir shops there are endless amount of French fries and waffle cafes can be found on narrow streets. French fries are also from Belgium, although because of its name it could be expected to have a French origin. Waffles are a traditional Belgian dessert. They are so delicious and can be chosen with all kind of flavors. Belgium is also known for its chocolate and beer. There are more than 600 beer sorts in Belgium.

Lisaks lõpututele meenepoodidele leiab kitsastelt tänavatelt ka lõputult friikartuli- ja vahvlikohvikuid. Nimelt ka friikartulid on pärit Belgiast. Kuigi friikartulite inglise keelse nime järgi French fries võiks eeldada, et need on prantsuse päritolu. Vahvlid on traditsiooniline Belgia magustoit, need on imemaitsvad ja võimalik valida erinevate maitsetega. Belgia on tuntud ka oma šokolaadi ja õlle poolest. Belgiast võib leida üle 600 õllesordi, üks parem kui teine!IMG_5705IMG_5820Belgium is also known as a country of comics. Until the year 1930 all the published comic books in Belgium were either French or American origin. After the publication of Belgium own comic book “TinTin”, only Belgium made comics were published in the hereafter. There is comic styled street art in Brussels.

Belgia on ka tuntud koomiskimaa. Kuni 1930. aastani olid kõik Belgias avaldatud koomiksid kas Prantsuse või Ameerika päriolu, kuid alates Belgia oma “TinTini” avaldamist, avaldati edaspidi ainult Belgias loodud koomikseid. Igal pool Brüsselis võib näha koomiksiteemalist tänavakunsti.IMG_5689The Atomium is probably the most famous sights in Brussels. The monument depicts nine iron atoms in the shape of the body-centred cubic unit cell of an iron crystal, magnified 150 billion times. The landmark building is constructed for the Brussels World’s Fair EXPO. I thought that this monument is tiny, but actually it was huge.

Atomiumi monument on ilmselt Brüsseli kõige kuulsam vaatamisväärsus. Monument kujutab endast hiiglaslikku, 150 miljardi kordse suurendusega aatomimudelit ning püstitati EXPO maailmamäituseks. Mina kujutasin ette, et see momument on pisikene, aga oli hoopis hiiglaslik 😀IMG_5767

European Union neighborhood.

Euroopa Liidu linnaosa.IMG_5811IMG_5816IMG_5819IMG_5830There are several places for panoramic views in Brussels. We went to the platform next to the court of justice.

Brüsselis on mitu panoraamvaate kohta. Meie käisime justiitskohtu juures oleval vaateplatvormil. IMG_5806IMG_5863IMG_5864IMG_6351Brussels is a beautiful city to just walk around.

Brüsselis on väga ilus lihtsalt ringi jalutada.IMG_5722IMG_6353IMG_5676IMG_5711IMG_5718Bruges

Bruges is one of my favorite cities. It is about one and half hours way from Brussels. Bruges is also called Nordic Venice. The city is decorated with canals, reddish brown stone houses and flowers.

Brügge

Brüsselist umbes poolteist tundi mere poole sõites leiab ühe minu lemmik linna Brügge. Brügge kutsutakse Põhjala Veneetsiaks. Linna kaunistavad maalilised kanalid pruunikaspunaste kivimajade, roheluse ja lilledega.IMG_5851IMG_5932IMG_5943IMG_5967IMG_6347IMG_5940IMG_5843IMG_5849When visiting Bruges I recommend to visit De Halve Maan  – half moon brewery. The Brewery has been running as a family business since 1856. They are brewing a Bruges city beer – Brugse Zot, which we also drank there. There is also a unique museum in the brewery. There are guided tours every day.

Brügge külastades soovitan kindlasti minna De Halve Maan ehk poolkuu pruulikotta. Pruulikoda on töötanud aastast 1856 perefirmana. Selles pruulikojas valmistatakse ka Brügge linna õlut – Brugse Zot, mida ka meie seal jõime. Pruulikojas saab lisaks õlle nautimisele külastada unikaalset muuseumi. Giidiga ekskursioonid toimuvad iga päev.IMG_5866Belgium is a well-known festival country. In addition to one of the most famous festival in the world – Tomorrowland, there are almost every week one smaller festival also. I visited Cactus Festival in Bruges. Not that I am a huge fan of festivals and know a lot about them, but what I really like about Belgium festivals is the fact that when you enter the festival area, you can buy certain number of coupons what you can exchange for drinks. Different drinks take different amount of coupons. It makes the life easier for both bar workers and festival visitors. People don’t have to look for the exact money or calculate how much money you have to give and change you have to get.

Belgia on tuntud festivalide riik. Lisaks maailma ühele tuntuimale festivalile Tomorrowland, toimub riigis pea iga nädal vähemalt üks väiksem festival. Mina külastasin Brügges toimuvat Cactusfestivali ehk Kaktusfestivali. Mitte et ma väga festivalide külastaja oleks ja teaks neist midagi, aga Belgia festivalide juures mulle meeldib see, et festivalialale sisendes saab osta teatud arvu joogikuponge, mida hiljem jookide vastu vahetada. Erinevate jookide eest tuleb anda erinev hulk kuponge. Teenindajate ja festivali külastajate jaoks teeb see elu lihtsaks. Ei pea otsima täpset raha, ega arvutama palju raha peab andma ja tagasi saama 😀

IMG_6292IMG_5944IMG_5939IMG_5935Outdoor cinema in Aalst, with Belgian cherry beer of course.

Välikino Aalstis, muidugi koos Belgia kirsiõllega:DIMG_5831Amsterdam

I took a bus from Brussels to Amsterdam. The bus ride takes about two hours and 45 minutes. The one-way ticket was around €10. I had no certain plan in Amsterdam what to do and see. I just walked around in the city. I think that Amsterdam is more known for its Red Light District and “joy cakes”. Before visiting this city I had no expectations. I was thinking can this city offer anything to be too, since I am not interested in those things what I mentioned before. But I was really positively surprised after visiting the city. Everything was so pretty there. All these houses, architecture, canals, flowers, boats are so beautiful.

Brüsselist Amsterdami otsustasin minna bussiga. Buss sõidab umbes kaks tundi ja 45 minutit ning ühe suuna pilet oli umbes 10 €. Amsterdamis mul kindlat plaani polnud, kuhu minna ja mida vaadata. Jalutasin niisama mööda linna ringi. Minu meelest on Amsterdam pigem tuntud oma Punaste laternate ja “rõõmu koogikeste” poolest. Ma ei osanud enne seal käimist midagi sellest linnast oodata ja seega mul polnud suuri ootusi. Pigem mõtlesin, et kas sellel linnal on üldse midagi ka mulle pakkuda. Kohale jõudes üllatas Amsterdam mind aga tõsiselt. Seal on nii ilus!! Kõik need majad, arhitektuur, kanalid, lilled, paadid..IMG_5970IMG_5976IMG_5982IMG_5983IMG_5984IMG_5990IMG_5991IMG_5992IMG_5996IMG_6053IMG_6054IMG_6056IMG_6352

Luxembourg

We went to Luxembourg by car. My friend lives about half hour drive from Brussels, and it took around 2,5 hours driving to get to Luxembourg. I knew almost nothing about Luxembourg. I just wanted to visit it because it was so close to Belgium, new country for me and new interesting place to see. Luxembourg surprised me even more than Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Luxembourg country is as big as Estonian island Saaremaa, the world’s only remaining grand duchy. Luxembourg has a completely unique culture, as it is at the exposure area of the German-Romanian cultures. The historic part of the capital is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are also many castles and fortresses in the country. Our travel day was rainy. Because of the rain and dark clouds the city looked very mysterious with its black roofs.

Luksemburg

Luksemburgi läksime autoga. Minu sõbranna elab Brüsselist umbes poole tunnise sõidu kaugusel ning sealt Luksemburgi oli umbes 2,5 tunnine sõit. Luksemburgi kohta teadsin ma veel vähem kui Amsterdami kohta. Ma tahtsin lihtsalt seal ära käia, kuna see oli nii lähedal Belgiale, uus riik minu nimekirjas ja huvitav ikka uut kohta näha. Luksemburg üllatas mind kõige rohkem! Riik ise on Saaremaa suurune, maailma ainus säilinud suurhertsogiriik. Luksemburg on täiesti omanäolise kultuuriga, kuna see asub germaani ja romaani kultuuri kokkupuutealal. Pealinna ajalooline osa kuulub UNESCO maailmapärandi nimistusse ja on terviklikult vaatamisväärsus. Riigis asub ka mitmeid losse ja kindlusi. Meie reisipäev oli väga vihmane. Vihmas, tumedate pilvede ja mustade katustega majadega nägi linn välja väga sünge ja müstiline.IMG_6110 IMG_6270IMG_6071IMG_6182IMG_6191IMG_6216IMG_6229IMG_6232IMG_6233IMG_6291IMG_6199It is possible to visit The City Skyliner, the world’s biggest 360 degree rotating mobile observation tower. The observation platform moves slowly up and down 360 degrees around its axis. I added one YouTube video what you can see here..

Luksemburgi linnas on võimalik külastada The City Skylinerit, mis on maailma suurim 360 kraadi pöörlev mobiilne vaatlustorn. Vaatlusplatvorm teeb aeglaselt üles ja alla liikudes 360 kraadise ringi ümber oma telje. Lisasin selle kohta ühe YouTube video, mida näeb siit.IMG_6115IMG_6167IMG_6231IMG_6228IMG_6234IMG_6235IMG_6265IMG_6267IMG_6295

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