Cathedral Park and Historic St. John’s Bridge in Portland, Oregon

Cathedral Park and St. John’s Bridge, Oregon: As I am exploring Portland and its surroundings, I came across some pictures of Cathedral Park recently. And ofcourse, I had to pay a visit there. Weather has been pretty nice and warm past few days here. I drove about little more than half an hour to go to Cathedral Park and check out the historic St. John’s Bridge.

Historic St. John's Bridge in Portland, Oregon

Historic St. John’s Bridge in Portland, Oregon

It was still little early in the morning, around 9 when I reached there. Some joggers, runners, and chatters were enjoying the park with no disturbance. Giant St. John’s Bridge left me in awe after looking at it. It’ a majestic steel-suspension bridge from 1929 with two tall Gothic towers. Willamette River runs underneath the bridge.

Looking thru St. John's Bridge's in Cathedral Park, Portland, Oregon

Looking thru St. John’s Bridge’s in Cathedral Park, Portland, Oregon

The park itself is located in the middle of a small neighborhood by River Willamette. It didn’t seem so big but was a perfect place to enjoy an early spring morning by myself.

Cathedral Park and St. John's Bridge in Portland, Oregon

Cathedral Park and St. John’s Bridge in Portland, Oregon

Autumn Reflection on Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

COMMONWEALTH LAKE PARK, OREGON: It’s been about three months since we’ve moved back to our home in Oregon from Europe. We are enjoying our lives here no doubt, but we miss the fact that (along with thousands of other things about Europe) there is no more eager waiting to go to a new place in weekends or holidays. I don’t really look forwards to the weekends anymore, because it’s not like we can drive couple hours and visit a different country, experience new culture, try different dishes, or appreciate old architectures. So, before the weather got really wet and gloomy here in the Northwest part of America, I tried my best to get of the house with my camera and see the unseen of my city…trying my best not to miss my life in Belgium.

Commonwealth Lake Park showed up in my smartphone map as a blue/water area while I was searching for something else. And I jumped and zoomed in to see what it actually was and where it was located. To my surprise, it’s only 10 minutes from my place in Beaverton, Oregon. What? There was this lake in my city and I didn’t even know about it? I had to go visit it while the mesmerizing fall colors were still at peak.

Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Commonwealth Lake Park is a nice little haven for walking, strolling, fishing, bird-watching, or just simple family time for the locals. It was middle of October 2014 when I made my first time trip there. The park was proudly showing off its vivid autumn colors on the trees, grounds, and as reflections on the lake.

Autumn reflection on Commonwealth Lake in Oregon

Autumn reflection on Commonwealth Lake in Oregon

Here are more pictures of my autumn experience in Commonwealth Lake Park. Enjoy…

Chasing mushrooms in Commonwealth Lake Park, Oregon

Chasing mushrooms in Commonwealth Lake Park, Oregon

Mallard ducks in Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Mallard ducks in Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Famous tree of Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Famous tree of Commonwealth Lake Park in Oregon

Our village – Tervuren, Belgium

TERVUREN, BELGIUM: Sorry but Tervuren is not a world-famous city in Europe or even Belgium, like Brugge or Gent. This is just a small village where we spent 3 years of our time as ex-pats. This is where my elder daughter has been going to school for the past 3 years and my little one started her education-career 6 months ago. After countless long trips and journeys, our home in Tervuren gave us the cozy feeling for the past 3 years. We have become very fond of this little place, especially our Village of Vossem within Tervuren.

A musical band round-about, a symbol of our beautiful Tervuren in Belgium

A musical band round-about, a symbol of our beautiful Tervuren in Belgium

Tervuren is a little Flemish town about less than 30 km away from Brussels. The village is pretty well-known among the foreigners for housing many ex-pats families from different countries, especially from the USA and Great Britain. There are two British schools here where hundreds of ex-pats kids come and leave every year.

Main square or the city center of Tervuren, a small Flemish town in Belgium

Main square or the city center of Tervuren, a small Flemish town in Belgium

EATING and SHOPPING: Tervuren City Center is probably where most of the restaurants and good stores are in this village. It’s a shame but we’ve only eaten there once in a pizzeria. But the Friday morning market is a place where I went few times and loved every moment of it. I did my weekly groceries, like fresh produce, cheese, olives, fish, eggs,…and chocolates from here. It’s a beautiful environment and I got to meet locals as well as other ex-pats.

PLACES WE’VE VISITED: We visited almost whole Europe but didn’t even get the chance to properly visit our own village…this is what happens when you procrastinate. But we all will miss this little town very much once we leave Belgium in just a couple of weeks. Hope our daughters will one day come back here again and can remember our old house, their old school, and the neighborhood.

1) CITY CENTER: Tervuren City Center is small but a perfect place to hang around for shopping or meal. I have never been inside Tervuren Church, but it looks pretty old and a historic building here. The new modern City Hall building is located across the church.

City center of Tervuren in Belgium

City center of Tervuren in Belgium

2) ROYAL MUSEUM of CENTRAL AFRICA: This is one of the main highlights of Tervuren. Since Congo was by colonized by Belgium at one point and there was a dominance of Europe over whole of Africa, this museum carries stories of Africa, especially highlighting on Congo. Different sections and displays share the brief period of the history of that colonization of Congo by Belgium. Many paintings, statues/sculptures, photos, artifacts, and life-size animals (not alive) are there to enjoy for both children and adults. There is also a small section for children to do some hands-on-experiments.

The building of this museum itself is very grand and royal-looking. Tervuren Park is located right opposite of the museum on the other side. There was a temporary exhibitions going on when we were there in the Royal Museum. It was called “Spiders Alive” where a whole room full of different species of spiders were brought in glass boxes. The kids had a blast in that room and learned a lot too.

Royal African Museum in Tervuren, Belgium

Royal African Museum in Tervuren, Belgium

The museum has been closed for renovation since last year, summer of 2013 and as planned, it will open to the visitors in 2016. When we were there last year, the ticket was 3 euros per adults and kids under 6 were free. Not sure how this is going to change once the renovation is done and the museum has more rooms and displays in the coming years. At that time there was nothing written in English, all in Dutch and French. It took little more than hour to look around the museum. There is a train station across the museum and also a nice big parking lot for cars.

3) TERVUREN PARK: We have been to Tervuren Park only a few times, but the best one has to be when my elder daughter and I went there on an early morning of fall (in 2012). I don’t think I have ever seen such beauty of fall colors before. We were there a little before sunrise. All the park benches, fallen leaves, and sculptures were wet with morning dew. Different shades of orange and yellow colors of the leaves started shinning and sparkling with the first ray of dawn. It was a fantastic experience for both my daughter and I.

Tervuren Park, Belgium

Tervuren Park, Belgium

 

Sonian Forest is a big forest area (if not the biggest) in Belgium. Tervuren Park has a small portion of that forest surrounding it from every direction. It’s a nice getaway to the forest and majestic oaks, elegant French gardens, ponds, and flower beds. There are some historic buildings in or around this park – one is Spanish House and the other one is Royal Palace. I have been to none of them actually, just saw the Royal Palace from distance which hosts concerts and big events in this area.

Autumn in full swing in Tervuren Park, Belgium

Autumn in full swing in Tervuren Park, Belgium

Tervuren Park is a great area for the hikers, bikers, joggers, or for those who love to bring a blanket and basket of food with loved ones and enjoy it beside the lake. I even saw many people sitting by the lake with fishing poles.

A magical morning in Tervuren, Belgium

A magical morning in Tervuren, Belgium

Magical Efteling in The Netherlands

EFTELING, THE NETHERLANDS: Efteling is one of the oldest theme parks in the world and one of the biggest in Europe which is located in Kaatsheuvel in The Netherlands. The whole park is themed around legends, fairy-tales, magical stories, and folklores. We took our girls there in September of 2013 for some summer fun before their school started and spent a whole day there. You can find rides for different ages, scenes from many folklore stories like Hansel and Gretel, The Red Dancing Shoes, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Gnome houses, and many more. I have been to many theme parks in the USA but this one is really makes you feel like you are in a fairy-tale story book. The park dresses up differently in different seasons, winter is probably one of the best time to see its fabulous lighting and decorations. The day we went there was also a water, fire, lighting, and music show on its lake near the entrance right before the closing time…which was fabulous.

It was about little more than hour drive from Tervuren, Belgium. The ticket 40 euros per person plus the parking. But parking is not a problem here. There are couple hotels inside the park and of course many cafes, restaurants, and snack bars.

Enjoy these picture from our trip to Efteling. But if you have time and kids be sure to visit this place in The Netherlands and be mesmerize as soon as you enter Efteling’s world.

The grand entrance to Efteling
The grand entrance to Efteling
         
"De Bazar" section of Efteling
“De Bazar” section of Efteling
         
A gnome's house in Efteling
A gnome’s house in Efteling
         
"The Long Neck"
“The Long Neck
         
A talking tree in Efteling
A talking tree in Efteling
         
Fire and water show near the entrance at the end of the day in Efteling
Fire and water show near the entrance at the end of the day in Efteling
            

Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflection

This was a perfect theme for me since I just started taking photos of reflections recently. Hope you like them…

First picture is the Royal African Museum in Tervuren, Belgium. Water was unbelievably still and calm…a good ingredient for reflection.

Royal African Museum in Tervuren, Belgium

Royal African Museum in Tervuren, Belgium

Second picture was taken in our Tervuren Park, not too far from the museum above. The trees are partially reflected in the water.

Tervuren Park, Belgium

Tervuren Park, Belgium

 

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