Monday, November 2, 2009

Belgium with Addie Lou and Eric

In September our dear friends, Adair and Eric, braved the transatlantic trek to visit us with their 18 month old son, Will. Adair and I were the best of friends as college roommates and our families have gotten even closer as we have married and had children. Eric is terrific and together they make perfect couple friends as we adore them individually and of course as a couple. The budding friendship rooted immediately between our blondie kids too (even if Will does look a little uncertain in this photo)!Adair and Eric arrived in Brussels notably bright-eyed and bushy-tailed given the overnight plane ride with a toddler in tow. Will was a little dazed at what had happened but he caught on quickly to the new time zone. After a pancake breakfast and a power nap we got them out and about discovering Brussels.
Fries at Fritland and the Grand Place were naturally the first order of business.
No matter how long I live here I still have to gasp a bit with the beauty of the Grand Place. I don't know why it still surprises me. We are lucky to live a block away.
We followed up the famous fries with Wittamer chocolates in Sablon.
We introduced Will to the Royal Park's playground - our favorite.
The day shone bright and beautiful so we scrapped our plans for a dinner at home and packed a quick impromptu picnic, heading to the Bois de la Cambre with a blanket and more European goodies. It was just the spontaneous fun we have grown to expect with Adair and Eric around.
The Bois park is stunning. Acres upon acres with scenic lakes, rolling green hills, plus nooks and crannies beckoning for a picnic.
We laughed, ate, and chased the kids as the sun set. We did a good job beating jet lag and keeping our friends up and out on Day One. But then again we had been anticipating and planning for this reunion for eight months! There was a lot of girl talk to catch up on and we stayed up late putting the finishing touches on our travel plans together.
The kids took a quick bath and were OUT from the action-packed day.
We couldn't let Adair and Eric miss the obligatory trip to Bruges so we took the train to the historic town.
This train was particularly crowded so we sat smushed in the 'lobby' between the cars. Not exactly plush comfort but we made the best of it. At least the kids were able to wobble around in between us.
First up we took the clip clop horse and buggy tour. With the 5 of us this type of touring is more affordable than you would think (25 euro for the 40 minute ride). Plus the kiddos went crazy for the horse.
What a sweet, loving family. I love this of Will nestled in tight between his parents.
Fall is most definitely here. While the horsie rested we went in the beguinage and romped in the leaves. Connor got the giggles with Will. She was crying she was so tickled by the end of it all.
We visited our favorite chocolatier, Dumon. Adair stocked up on Belgian chocolates while I kept the kids in their matching orange Bob strollers outside the tiny store. I am now officially considered a "regular" at Dumon as the family/owners recognized me through the window. One Dumon sister came out to shower the babes with chocolates and to chat while Adair and Eric did their sampling. Oh me!
We came upon the Church of Our Lady and saw Michelangelo's Virgin and Child. It is one of the few Michelangelo's outside of Italy. So smooth and serene.
We had a yummy roast chicken lunch near the beguinage. It is the first affordable meal I have had in all my visits to Bruges. I will note the place and be sure to return rather than forking over the outrageous costs of lunch on the main square. Not sure why it took a dozen trips to realize this.

Adair popped next door from our lunch spot and ended up buying a gorgeous Belgian tapestry. I cannot wait to see it hanging in their home, reminding them and me of our day out in Bruges. Adair had been online shopping for tapestries for several months, so this made a helpful and authentic souvenir!
Will was oblivious to the wheeling and dealing happening inside, he just wanted to make faces at the camera with Belgian lace in the background. He had me in stitches!
Bruges is lovely. It is the town I love more and more the more times I visit. Which is a good thing since we end up going often with our guests. No one wants to miss out on Bruges, and I can't blame them!

1 comment:

Sues said...

BFFs sharing adventures in Europe with their families? My idea of heaven!!!