aesballard aesballard

652 posts   876 followers   137 followings

Angela • We Married Adventure  Traveling #aroundtheworld with @michaelsballard in search of our next home. Countries: 46 Currently 🇩🇪 Next 🇫🇷 Read more at

We were admiring the eclectic vibe of Brussels when we stumbled into a sizable crowd gathered on and around the steps of the Brussels Stock Exchange. Initially thinking it was some sort of rally or protest like the one we saw in London concerning Brexit, we approached with caution.

To our great delight, however, it turned out to be the homecoming celebration for Belgium’s World Cup team. People were chanting and singing, waving flags with vigor, and kissing strangers. The football team arrived by motorcade just as we walked up, and the streets were filled with red and yellow and black smoke.

We celebrated the bronze-medal victory alongside the Belgians for a while, chiming in unison with the crowd: “We! Are! Belgium!” at what we hoped were the appropriate times.

But European football homecoming celebrations are quite a long affair as it turns out. And we are not, in fact, Belgium.

So we slipped down a mostly-empty side street to continue our self-guided tour. Read all about it at!

Our time in Brussels began with an unexpected toga party. Read all about our Belgian adventures at!

All of our friends in Tennessee will understand when we say that Interlaken, Switzerland, is the Pigeon Forge to Grindelwald’s Gatlinburg.

Basically, the only way to get to Grindelwald is to go through Interlaken. And, while Grindelwald is nestled right there among all of the mountains, those same mountains in Interlaken serve as a distant, beautiful backdrop.
Wonder if there’s a Swiss Dolly Parton, too?

Look at precious Mike and his brother, Steve, with their beautiful mom in Grindelwald, Switzerland, in 1983. Stylin’ and profilin’! Read Mike’s flashback post about his memories of this winter wonderland at

On this trip around the world, Mike took Ben and me to Grindelwald, Switzerland. It was one of his favorite trips as a kid, and he wrote a beautiful post about it at “It was Christmas Day, 1983, and we were on a slow train bound for the Swiss Alps.

You could actually open the train windows in those days, and I remember holding my head close to the frosted glass. The crisp air making my eyes water. My breath turning to steam and slipping through the crack between the panes like puffs of smoke.

Outside, it was all white mist, black trees, and frozen waterfalls.” Read the rest on We Married Adventure!

Just dropping into Interlaken, Switzerland, on our way to visit one of Mike’s favorite childhood destinations, Grindelwald. See more at!

We did a bit of exploring in the Italian commune of Gordola, Switzerland, and drove along the Via Cantonale, tracing the Melezza River along its course, looking for a place to stop and go for a swim. Finally finding a spot, we hiked down to the river bank where we lounged among the rocks and topless sunbathers. Ben and Mike did some easy bouldering in the river. Ben climbed trees. I made friends with a curious canine. Mike flew the drone. And a wonderful time was had by all. See more from our day enjoying the Swiss sunshine at!

Our Airbnb host, Lia, recommended that we drive from the Italian region of Gordola, Switzerland, to Locarno and spend a day at the lake, but the weekend crowds were overwhelming, and there was no parking to be found. So we decided to do a bit of exploring instead and drove along the Via Cantonale, tracing the Melezza River along its course, looking for a place to stop and go for a swim. And we found the perfect spot. See more at!

Although it sits along a major corridor for those traveling by car from Italy into Switzerland, people seldom choose to stop in Gordola, opting instead for the well-known resort towns and bustling cities further north.

But we decided to pay it a visit and found that Gordola and the charming region of Ticino are well worth not only a stop but also an extended stay. See more at!

Settled centuries ago by rugged Italian ranchers and farmers, surrounded by Alpine mountains, and shot through with icy rivers and waterfalls lies the small commune of Gordola, a part of Switzerland that few tourists have experienced. Over 80 percent of the people who live in this area speak Italian as their native language and would likely describe themselves as more Italian than Swiss. Read more about it at!

We took a lovely stroll through the formal gardens of Schloss Augustusburg and the adjacent woods before heading into the village in search of lunch. Still on the lookout for Mexican food, we found Seasons Cafe, which did indeed have some south of the border dishes on the menu (and I don’t mean Switzerland). Despite the presence of nachos, we opted for several other selections from the international menu and settled in for a lovely lunch at an outdoor table in the shade.

While we waited for our food, the owner of the restaurant introduced himself and asked where we were from. We told him about our around-the-world adventure and said our next stop was Belgium.

His name was Marc, and he had wonderful recommendations for our time in Brussels and also suggested we visit Ghent if we had time. Visit to see how it all turned out!

Be still my gardening heart! The beautiful gardens at Germany’s Schloss Augustusburg (Brühl Castle) are based on classic French designs, and they are one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. And the color! 😍 See more at

Most Popular Instagram Hashtags