Yesterday we checked out the cellar just below our apartment. Here is part of the description of our building quoted from the apartment website:
"The building was originally built in the 14th century (ca.1370) but has been renovated several times over the years. It happened for the last time in 1839 according to the spirit of that time: it was ‘modernized’ to a large mansion in a neo-classical style. Finally in 1997, the building was divided into three apartments: St Donaas on the ground floor, St-Niklaas on the first floor, and St Jacob on the second floor. Last but not least: in 2002 a 14th century cellar – ‘De Vergulde Fontein’ – was discovered in the basement."
The steps are very uneven but there is a handrail.
The space is being used for tango lessons. Also, the owners are starting to offer beer tasting and pairings. The space is amazing.
We really like the location of "our home" here - less than five minutes to the Markt square but very quiet.
I took the last two photos infront of the building main door at around 12:30 pm yesterday. You can see the beginning of the multitude of cafes & restaurants at the end of the street of the last photo.
I do most of our food shopping in the outdoor market: Wednesday mornings in the Markt or Burg and Saturday mornings in t'Zand. Wednesday market is mostly food, flowers and plants; Saturday market has the addition of clothes, sundries, etc. I do the main shopping on Wednesday because the market is close to our apartment. I am usually there by eight o'clock before the tourists arrive.
I just made my first ever doctor and hospital visit while in Europe in over some six years of being here in the last 29 years.
For over a month (actually since we arrived), I have had some pain behind my left knee that radiates to the calf after a short walk. It gets bad enough that I have to stop walking to massage the calf and stretch the leg as well as rest (most of the time finding a bench to sit awhile).
This week I started to get worried that the pain has not gone away. So, I finally googled some possible causes - quite a few possibilities but got scared of a possible blood clot. Since I am high risk for one, I asked our host on Wednesday morning for recommendation and she was able to make an appointment for me to see a GP that very afternoon (walking distance from our apartment).
The doctor was very good and pleasant and didn't think that I have a clot after checking the knee and leg, but he ordered an ultrasound at the hospital radiology department (AZ St-Lucas hospital). Cost: €26 for the doctor (he gave me a receipt to submit for reimbursement). I found out that residents also pay the same amount but gets a €23 rebate as soon as the next day.
The doctor asked if I have insurance to cover the ultrasound. I do have insurance but out of curiosity, I asked about how much it would cost - a whopping €30-40!!!
So the next morning, we took a taxi (cost: €15) to the hospital. No appointment needed. A very helpful staff showed me how to get a number for my turn to register. Waited for 10-15 minutes. Registration was quick. I was asked if I have a Belgian medical card. Since I don't, I asked if I can pay with cash. She apologized but it was not possible. She said that I will be sent a statement within six weeks. She directed me to the Radiology department on the second floor and told me to go to the reception up there.
...keeping an eye at the small screen for my turn to register
Reception told me that there was a long wait - up to one and half hour. I waited an hour. The doctor told me that there was no clot or cyst but I should call my GP. What a relief.
We took the bus (in front of the hospital) back through the Assebroek residential area just outside the historic center.
Prognosis per the GP: some deterioration of the knee joint. I can wait until I get home for treatment. Also, I can take ibufrofen up to 1800mg/day for anti-inflamatory and pain (we brought a Costco size bottle!). If the pain worsens, I can see him again for a cortisone shot if I want. So, I will wait and see.
Note: Every one in the hospital spoke English after I told them that I am an american.
Great photos and details. I love the basement in your building. Sorry to hear about your knee pain. At least there seem to be many benches where you can rest. Interesting description of your healthcare experience. I wonder what that experience would be in the UK? I don’t know how visitors are dealt with here.
Thanks, Pauline. We love being here. We can live here year round.
I dreaded going to the doctor/hospital but it was a possitive eye-opening experience for me, especially when compared to the US medical system. I know that many of us hold off seeking medical help while traveling for various reasons - cost, language barrier.......