Brussels, Belgium

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The official founding of Brussels is usually considered to be 979.  The town grew rapidly and extended towards the upper town (higher ground) where there is a smaller risk of floods.  In 1225 work began on the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula.  The Grand Place was where Brussels traditionally conducted its business.  In 1407, they began construction of the City Hall at this location and eventually, the square was filled with a variety of Guild Halls representing all of the trades.

Grand Place

In 1695, during the Nine Years’ War, French King Louis XIV sent troops to bombard Brussels with artillery.  Together with the resulting fire, it was the most destructive event in the entire history of Brussels.  Most of the Grand Place was destroyed (with the exception of the City Hall) along with 4,000 buildings.  The Guild Halls were all rebuilt within five years, an impressive accomplishment. Continue reading

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Cologne, Germany

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Cologne, Germany’s 4th largest city, is located on the mighty Rhine River, historically one of the great rivers of the continent and among the most important arteries of industrial transport in the world.  As one example, while we were here, we saw 5 or 6 river cruise boats anchored in Cologne.  The city was founded and established in the 1st century AD as a Roman settlement.  When Cologne began building its underground transportation system they discovered extensive Roman ruins.  In the year 310 AD under the emperor Constantine I a bridge was built over the Rhine at Cologne.

Cologne Cathedral

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Munich, Germany

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Bavarian National Theater

Munich traces its founding to the year 1158.  In 1240 the city would pass to the House of Wittelsbach which would govern Munich (and Bavaria) for the next 700 years.  Munich prospered as a salt trading center but would be hit hard by the plague in 1349 and it would persist for the next 150 years.  The coopers (barrel makers) initiated a ritualistic dance in an effort to bring an end to the plague since their trade was suffering because people were afraid to leave their houses and therefore were not drinking as much beer.  This dance continues to be performed every seven years but it is reenacted 3 times daily by the little figures in the Glockenspiel high up on the main tower of the city hall.

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Burnaby, British Columbia

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Burnaby is located on the east side of the city of Vancouver.  While here we stayed at the Burnaby Cariboo RV Park.  It is immediately adjacent to the Burnaby Lake Regional Park just off the Trans Canada Highway.  We visited the city of Vancouver on our car trip back in 2014.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

In North Vancouver you will find the Capilano Suspension Bridge.  This is a tourist attraction with the primary feature of a suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River.  The bridge is 460 feet in length and 230 feet above the riverbed.  The other features are Treetops Adventure which is a boardwalk and elevated footbridges among old growth forest and Cliffwalk which is a narrow walkway cantilevered from the cliff’s edge, extending out over the open canyon.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a beautiful place but it felt a little too staged for my tastes.  There are many places where you can get a comparable experience without the admission price which was about $69 USD for the two of us.  However for those who are unable or unwilling to do a little hiking, then this provides a convenient way to get the experience.

Sea to Sky Highway

On another day we did a day trip west to the end of the Trans Canada Highway at Horseshoe Bay.  From there Highway 99 turns north on what is known as the Sea to Sky Highway.  Immediately, you encounter jaw dropping beauty along the shore of the bay.  And it doesn’t stop as you continue north passing through Brittany Beach, Squamish and Whistler.  Along the way, a short walk gets you to Shannon Falls which at almost 1,100 feet is the third tallest waterfall in British Columbia.  The Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort was home to the 2010 Winter Olympics.  It is a large ski resort with extensive facilities and village development.

Next stop:  Arlington, WA