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Belgium, Spa and Togneren

February 18, 2006

(Written March 13)

Dear Friends and Families,


It seems like we've done nothing in 2006 that was not house-related and, hence, reported in the house part of this website. Actually, it's more than "seems" -- it's true. Our life IS our house. I hope this changes soon.

Anyway, we did make one February shopping trip a bit more interesting than others by going to Tongeren in Belgium to look at the famous Sunday antique fair. This was a three-day weekend for Marianne, so we stretched a simple trip into two overnights at a spa. Actually it wasn't "a" spa, it was THE Spa, the spring-water resort town in Belgium that gave the English language the word "spa".

It was a dreary, rainy weekend, so we managed to stay indoors most of the time. When we arrived in Spa, we were greeted by a small scale street race. There was a rally being run through the same streets we were driving on but, by the time we understood that this was a (not so) famous race, the cars had all gone past and I missed my picture opportunity. Sorry, I'll do better next time. The Belgium Formula 1 is run on these same streets in September.

Marianne had looked on the internet for a bed and breakfast and chose an old house that looked it might even give us some remodeling tips. As it turned out, the big house was full, so we were given the converted gardner's house, a bit more humble in decorations but it was a whole house for just the two of us. Pretty luxurious. We could not have been more comfortable on our rainy days.

On Sunday, we did the Tongeren antique thing. The place is famous but I suppose we were there off season, so we managed to buy little more than an old house bell and old brass handles for our kitchen cabinets. We did get the address of a shop that sold old Belgium tiles, but THAT story really is somewhere else.

This diary will be just this little story, plus a few pictures, and a list of related web-links. Nothing special, but enough to remind us of the travel life we USED to live.

Keep traveling,

John and Marianne



A general site about Spa http://www.trabel.com/spa/spa.htm
The race we watched, sort of. http://www.spa-francorchamps.be/en05/home/index.php
The race in Spa we probably will not watch. http://www.thegrandprixclub.com/Formula_1/Belgium.htm
Our hotel (recommended!) http://www.hotels-belgium.com/spa/letapefagnarde.htm
A general site about Tongeren http://www.trabel.com/tongeren.htm
And, about the antique market http://www.tongereninfo.net/enantiekmarkt.htm

Travel Pictures




Good travel includes good food. Our Spa restaurant reminded us that eating is always better were folks speak French. I'm not sure I like snooty French restaurants back in America, but the small places in Belgium and France can not be beat.


The main building of the Hotel Fagenarde is a wonderful big white house, where we enjoyed our breakfasts in an elegant but homey setting. Meanwhile, we REALLY enjoyed our gardner house, complete with a living room.


On Sunday, we made it up to Tongeren by 9:30, too late for a convenient parking place but that just gave us an opportunity to see more of the place -- the oldest town in Belgium.


The market itself was disappointing. This was our third or fourth visit and, despite our need to buy, we found the pickins relatively slim. Maybe better next time. I'm SURE there will be a next time.

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