Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cabot arrives and Kirk turns 30

Kirk's recently turned 30! I can't think of a better birthday present for him than a visit with dear friends. Cabot and Christina were here to help celebrate Kirk's big day; they arrived en route from Paris and headed to Germany. Cabot went to college with us and served as one of Kirk's groomsmen in our wedding. There honestly is nothing like college friends! They know you through and through. And Cabot's wife, Christina, is glamorous and kind. She is super sophisticated in that unassuming, down-to-Earth sort of way. We couldn't stop smiling when they arrived.We took Cabot and Christina on our"Grand Tour of Brussels." I am getting my tourist circle down pat now. We headed to the Grand Place, St. Hubert Gallery, Manneken Pis, and of course for chocolate tasting in Sablon. We saw delectable Belgian waffles overflowing with toppings.I even got to discover something new that has been on my "to see" list - the Palais de Justice. The Justice Palace is Belgium's Supreme Court building as I understand it. A perfect place to take Cabot, the lawyer. It was grand on the inside and out once we got past all the scaffolding. And all the lawyers - or barristers as Cabot taught us they are called - were scurrying around decked out in this formal black robe with a white ruffle. For lunch on Kirk's big birthday we went for a lunch of mussels in Brussels! We found this terrific place right underneath our apartment, Restaurant de la Bourse. Not the most creative names (the Bourse is the stock exchange building nearby) but the owner could not have been kinder, a real rarity in Brussels. It was a yummy and festive meal.
Next up - a quick afternoon trip to the town of Leuven. It is a university town about 20 minutes from Brussels. We played in the ornate town square and walked up the main college drag to the beguinage. The warm sunny weather on this trip sure was a big change from the last time we went to Leuven! I just love Leuven!I have tried to explain a beguinage in the past on this blog, but I find it a hard concept to articulate. Beguines were 'religious women', widows or spinsters who wished to live an independent but committed life without taking full vows of becoming nuns. They organized themselves in self-supported 'cities of peace', with architectural and urban qualities. Leuven's beguinage is now transformed to student housing, but the aura of peace, quiet and respect continues. It is a little slice of Heaven on Earth.Karen hosted a party that evening where we celebrated both Kirk and Karen's (belated) birthdays. I baked a carrot cake as best I could with European ingredients. The Proctors have an incredible backyard where all the kids could play and run.
Brady wanted to be sure he had a chance to blow out the candles too so we relit and let him join in the wish-making!
To cap off the day Kirk, Cabot and Christina went to Delirium Cafe for a Belgian beer and to revel in the Grand Place at night. Here's to 30!!!
Thanks for coming to help celebrate, Cabot and Christina!!! We can't wait to come visit you in your new home next time (that is if we can't pull you back to Europe first for another adventure).

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