London: First Two Nights

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus

Koen and I spent last week in London. The last time I was in London with time to really explore was 10 years ago! So although I’d been before, it was really like visiting for the first time.

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New York City Days 13 & 14, September 2013

One last Bahn Mì from Saigon in Chinatown

One last Banh Mì from Saigon in Chinatown

Day 13 was our last full day in NYC because we needed to head to the airport after lunch the next day. So we spent our last real day eating my favorite lunch again from the trip – Banh Mì from Saigon in Chinatown, and then heading back to Midtown to buy presents. I also wanted to visit the Ralph Lauren stores on Madison Avenue as well as his daughter’s candy store, Dylan’s Candy Bar. As a thank you to Christina for letting us stay with her so long, we spent our last evening seeing Mamma Mia on Broadway! The next morning we needed to pack and get our things together. For our last lunch we decided to go back to San Gennaro’s for steak and mozzarella sandwiches. Luckily we planned a lot of time between leaving Christina’s apartment and our flight. It turns out the exact time we wanted to head to the metro station was during the huge parade for San Gennaro! The crowds were gigantic and we were both with two suitcases trying to fight our way through. Then we had to talk to the police officers to try and convince them to let us cross through the parade because if we had would wait another hour it would be too late. So rather than taking 5 minutes to get to the metro station it took us 30 minutes – but we made it! At the airport we decided to have one last burger from the Shake Shack! Now we are both looking forward to going back to NYC in September!

 

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Beyoncé Concert!

Beyoncé concert!

Beyoncé concert!

This Christmas my husband surprised me with a ticket to see Beyoncé in Antwerp! If you don’t know, Queen Bey is my absolute favorite and this was my first time seeing her live! Koen doesn’t have the same enthusiasm, so I had a girls’ night with Barbara dancing and singing! Love being part of the Bey Hive!

 

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Tristan und Isolde in Antwerp

Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp

Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp

For my birthday, Koen bought special box tickets for Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde! Because it was opening weekend, there was also a 45 minute lecture before the opera began with dramaturge Luc Joosten, who went into detail explaining the history, development/inspiration, and theme.  Koen and I both thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon and if you’re close to Antwerp or Ghent, you should definitely try to find tickets before it closes!

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Carmen in Ghent

My friend Sarah, another American in Antwerp, is a member of the Flemish Opera. When she told me they would be performing Carmen (Georges Bizet) this month I had to go! By the time we looked into tickets, though, they were sold out in Antwerp – but luckily there were still tickets available in Ghent! The Flemish Opera performed first in Antwerp, and Koen and I were in Ghent for the opening night.

Carmen was the first opera I ever saw (via VHS in one of my music classes), so it was exciting for me to see it performed live for the first time! I knew from the promotional photos that it was going to be set in modern times and with a trailer trash theme. Luckily the theme worked a lot better than in 2001 when Carmen was turned into a hiphopera!

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Opera, Ghent

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