We are on House Hunter's International Tonight!

Loving the beauty of Bruges, Belgium
Checking out some scenery in Roeselare, Belgium with the HHI film crew
We made them do our signature pose
Tonight is the night!

Chris and I had such a great time (such fun) filming a House Hunter's International episode detailing our move from Serbia to Belgium and our apartment hunting experience. We filmed for four full days in between Serbia and Belgium, and we were able to involve so many of the amazing friends that we have made along the way. We can't wait to see our friend's faces on TV! This episode was filmed quite a while ago, so it will be interesting to see the finished product. 

Anyway, on the west coast, HGTV will show our episode at 7:30pm and 10:30pm tonight. In Kentucky, our mugs will be on TV at 10:30pm and again at 1:30am. Get all of the exact information here. Feel free to tune in!! You may be seeing the episode before we do since we have to record it and watch it on Thursday morning. 

The Statesman Journal in my hometown of Salem, Oregon also wrote a piece on us. Read that article here if ya want. 

Thanks for reading (and watching). 
Lana and Chris McCoy

Want to see the episode? I posted it here


{Sneak Peek Istanbul}

Hagia Sophia at night
I turned 30! 

Actually, I hit the big 3-0 at the end of September, but this season in our lives has been a whirlwind that seems to finally be calming down. Sort of. It is just starting to sink in that I've hit that age when most women freak out about wrinkles, job security, settling down and babies. I have the wrinkles, but the other things are so far from my mind these days! Chris and I had been planning a birthday trip to Istanbul with two of our dear friends from Belgium since sometime in June. All of a sudden, we were thrown a curve ball when the opportunity to move to Regensburg, Germany popped up. It was not an easy decision, and we talked it over and over together. After a couple weeks of weighing the pros and the cons, Chris accepted and started the new job a week before our scheduled trip. Needless to say, instead of spending my time researching restaurants and scenic look-out spots in Istanbul, I was frantically packing, and cleaning, and turning off utilities and breaking the apartment lease. 
There never is a dull moment for this little expat family!


Doesn't Mallorca Sound Wonderful About Now?

Towards the end of May, we booked a spur of the moment (stupid cheap) Ryan Air flight to Mallorca, Spain. I told Chris that it would be a delayed present for his 28th birthday; but let's be honest, it was more of an excuse to escape a miserably long Belgian cold spell. Spain had also claimed a special place in our hearts and a prominent spot on our travel calendar after a trip to Barcelona (If you're interested, find some of our Barcelona info here, and here). 

I think there was still snow on the ground as we boarded a flight bound for Spain's largest island. I had heard about the neighboring party island (Ibiza), but the only reason we chose Mallorca was because there was a direct flight from Brussels to Mallorca for less than an Italian dinner for two (Italian is about the cheapest sit down dinner option you'll find in Europe). My type A-must-research-every-detail-of-a-trip-to-a-new-city-personality sort of took a vacation, and I threw planning out the window! I mean, how hard could it be for us to get down to a beach, lay out our towels, and relax on the warm sand?!

I learned my lesson (again), because what we wanted and what we walked into were so completely far off from each other!

 At the airport, we caught the local bus #21, and within ten minutes we were walking into the lobby of Java Hotel. Our accommodation was right in the middle of Playa de Palma, and while the hotel itself was newly remodeled and reasonably priced, the long stretch of beach outside of the hotel was less than relaxing! What we had wanted was a slow couple of days sprawled out on the sand followed by seafood dinners at beach front restaurants. What we actually got was this:


Antwerp(en), Belgium

Antwerpen has the prettiest train station that I think I have seen in Europe!
We always get asked what our favorite cities are in Belgium, and the answer always starts out the same. First and foremost, we are in love with Bruges. The preserved medieval city seems almost too beautiful to be real life; it feels more like a movie set than a place people actually call "home." As soon as I saw Her, I knew that I wanted to live close to Bruges (check out Bruges herehere, and here). So, yeah, Bruges would be our #1 place to visit in Belgium, but then of course there are other fantastic cities like Ghent and Antwerp that cannot be missed when visiting the land of strong beer and rich chocolate. 

Antwerp (English) - Antwerpen (Dutch) - Anvers (French)

When visiting Antwerp, it's not uncommon to see the city spelled all three different ways, but the most often used version is the Dutch one. According to legend, Antwerpen got Her name after the mighty giant who used to demand a toll for passage into the port city. Those who refused to cough up the money would pay by having their hand cut off and thrown into the river. Eventually the money-hungry giant was killed and his own giant hand cut off and thrown into the river, thus giving the city the name "hand-werpen" ("to throw" in Old English). Eventually that evolved into the modern day name of Antwerpen. You'll see hand statues and hand illustrations all around the city if you keep your eyes open for them.

Chris and I enjoyed a lovely weekend in Antwerpen checking out a few local restaurants, meandering through annual fall festivals, sipping sangria at the city "beach," and getting acquainted with Belgium's second largest city. While Antwerpen is not as visually stunning as Bruges and Ghent, it does have an artistic vibe that invites one to stop, relax, and stay a while. 

Planning a trip to Antwerpen? Here are some of our city notes: