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

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

 

Homesick for no reason

Its been about 5 months since we moved to Belgium. At first I didn’t want to go back to the States, because I was just enjoying this life abroad too much. But after being here for few months now, I must admit I miss my home badly. I mean, I am extremely missing everything about America. My home, my neighborhood, my work, the surroundings, familiar faces, speaking English, last but not least TACO BELL (their Mexican Pizza and chalupa) …. everything. We came to Brussels for 2 years (well, atleast 2 years, may be 3/4 years… who knows) but now it seems too long. Even my 6 years old daughter is homesick sometimes. She is enjoying her school way more than I expected here in Tervuren, Belgium. But when she comes home, she keeps talking about how she could do things back in the States that she can’t do here. Also, We have visited too many places in a very short time after moving here (we are very lucky in that sense). But even that is enough for now. I forgot some of the places we have gone to earlier this year or even middle of this year. My daughter already hates going to the airport and flying a plane. I can’t blame her. She went to places with us that sometimes don’t even interest her. Other than flying, luckily she does like visiting new cities, staying in the hotels, eating out, and buying souvenirs (just like her mom :)) Also, as everyone says, and I know it too, she is being exposed to so many different cultures, religious, and people, that it will shape her personality in a very unique way. Hopefully that will make her someone who is very flexible and open to everything.

But back to what I was saying, I am really, really missing my home in Portland, OR. Then again, that’s what happens when you move to a new place. I remember when I moved to the States in my early teen years. First couple months I liked everything about America… the school, the stores, people, the fact that I could drive at 16 years of age, all the junk food from the menu of American fast food restaurants, and finally, the freedom that came without any costs and boundaries. Then a phase came, when I was missing Bangladesh so much that I wanted to leave my parents, siblings behind and just go back to Bangladesh where I grew up. That period didn’t last for too long either. I still missed Bangladesh at heart, but at the same time I started enjoying all the things that America had to offer me. I was young and reckless, wanted to do anything and everything to see how much I can spoil myself. And America was THE place for it. Then as time passed by, the childhood time in Bangladesh were nothing but sweet memories. I missed that country but didn’t want to go back there again.

So now… I don’t want to visit new places anymore, don’t want to learn French , don’t want to memorize anymore new Dutch words, don’t want to be too far away from my home, don’t want be an ex-pat anymore… Uhhh, fortunately, I know these feelings will change shortly 🙂 I will give it about couple more months, then I know, I will enjoy living this European life again. And that will be a permanent feeling. Then a time will come when we have to go back to the States and I will miss this present life of Belgium very much. Yep, that’s life. We don’t know what future holds for us, that’s why we keep missing our past, thinking our past was the best thing that ever happened to us. If we only knew that may be, just MAY BE, future is better than the past, then we don’t have to go through this feeling of emptiness.

Ok, Ciao for now

Waiting in the waiting room – A visit to doctor’s office

My daughters and I had our first visit to the doctor’s office in Tervuren, Belgium yesterday. Good thing the doctor is within walking distance, very close to my daughter’s school. Here (or at least with this doctor) you don’t need any appointment. Just show up at his door whenever you are sick and need some treatment. Ofcourse it has to be within his working hours…very convenient I thought.
When we got inside his office, I thought I would at least see a receptionist/clark/cashier…something. But here the doctor does everything all by himself. No need to carry your insurance card all the time. You just pay a small amount of cash (23 euros in our case), get a receipt and that’s it. Ofcourse we will file all the claims every few months to our insurance company for reimbusement.
Back in the states I always thought going to a doc’s office is a big deal. First you have to find a doctor within your network (depending on your insurance benefit), then you have to show up 5/10 minutes early, depending on the paperworks, bunch of forms that you have to fill out before you get the treatments, then stand in the line with your insurance card, pay the co-payment, sometimes doctor’s office will bill you if any portion of the claim wasn’t paid by the insurance company. Not to mention, you are never call inside the office right when you have the appointment time (never understood, why do they give us appoinments if they can’t keep it). But I thought in Belgium (or may be all over Europe) going to a docter is very hassel free and rather an easy process. Even though there is no appointment system, usually you will get to see the doctor within 30 minutes (usually a lot less) of your arrival. Another good thing is that same doctor will see our whole family…yeppie. No need to find multiple docters within our network. Never enjoyed going to a doctor before… 🙂

Friday Market in Tervuren, Belgium

I love going to farmers’ market. When we used to live in Buffalo, NY, there was a farmers‘ market every saturday morning near an old church. I remember driving 10 minutes to go there and buying fresh vegetables, fruits, cheese, bakery, and lots of other good stuff. I didn’t get that in Portland. There were lots of farmers’ market where we lived but nothing really close-by nor their prices were cheap.

After moving to Tervuren, I finally found a market that is very cozy, diverse, full of friendly people, offers great price, and has variety of items. There is a lively, outdoor market every Friday in Tervuren village center. It’s open every Friday around the year from 9 am -12 pm. I have been there couple times and I am making a habit to go there every Friday and do my weekly grocery from there. I saw Dutch, French, English, German…people from everywhere in this market. Some of the vendors here are permanent while others come once or twice a month.

You can find fresh fish, fresh meat, cooked meat, fruits, vegetables, cheese, egg, fresh oven-baked breads (many different kinds), sweets, chocolates, candies there. On the other side, you can also find household items, clothes, jeans, socks, sleepwears, purses, wallets, and many more items here. And the price is unbelievably reasonable.

There are lots of other stores along the street selling interesting and fun items. Everytime I go to the Friday market, I make sure that I go to my favorite pastry shop, where I can pick up some waffles, pastries, chocolates, and fresh baked goods for the family. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but its hard to resist the mouth watering delights in that bakert. I look forward to go to this patisserie every week.

The thing that I mostly enjoy when I come to this Friday market is that there are lots of elder ladies who come for their groceries too. They bring their large trolley bags, do their weekly shopping/grocery. Then they stop at the nearby cafe/pastry shop with their girl friends for some coffee or treats. I hear them talking in Dutch or French, laughing there lungs outs, enjoying the weather, sipping their coffee/tea. I leave when my work is done there, may be go to couple shops on my way to the car. But these ladies may sit there for hours. Then when they are done chatting, they will just pay the bill and go to another restaurant for lunch. So beautiful … wish when I age I can have a similar environment to go to relax and sip my cup of tea with a piece of dark chocolate. You don’t need a perfect place to have good time, just need to enjoy little things in life that can give you some perfect moments.

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,420 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 479,508 hits
%d bloggers like this: