Monday, February 1, 2010

Antwerp January Sales

Things have slowed down a bit now that winter is upon us. The weather has unfortunately been a steady stream of days cold and grey. We have to be more creative and that much more motivated about daytime activities, or else the routine may become sitting in PJs and watching movies all day! Tsk, tsk. January is one of the two prescribed months of nationwide sales in stores. I had been hankering for another trip to Antwerp and since it is known for fabulous shopping, I packed Connor up and off we went by train to take in the January sales. Just the two of us. Antwerp's symbol is the "hand" hence the photo above of the disco ball hand we saw in one shop window!I caved as soon as we got to Antwerp though. Instead of heading straight for the stores we detoured to the aquarium, Aquatopia. It is right as you leave the train station, next to the zoo. It makes a great indoor activity.The sharks are both terrifying and thrilling. Although the dark escalator you descend through the shark's mouth even creeped me out a little. Connor was brave. She hugged me tight, but no tears.The nemo fish were by contrast friendly, bright and colorful.

There was even a playground with a ball pit to jump around in directly underneath these sharks.

Connor was thoroughly exhausted leaving Aquatopia. She fell fast asleep in her stroller freeing me up for uninterrupted shopping. I didn't get much - just a dress marked down to 5 euros and a 2 euro skirt for Connor. I then strolled a sleeping Connor all over Antwerp. We got very lost looking for the Port of Antwerp and went several miles off course. But now I can say I have seen every part of Antwerp. Except the Diamond Museum. I was hoping to go there in the afternoon, but after my failed navigation we were pooped. Next time!

As I write this the clouds are again thick and dreary. We are finger painting this morning and hope to find the local indoor pool this afternoon. I feel a little guilty since all Belgian children go to school here at age 2 and a half, so potential playmates are hard to find. It just doesn't seem right to put Connor in a school 3 months before we leave. Especially since our weekends are always very full and tiring.

Do you have any great ideas for cold weather activities? I am open to suggestion. You have to laugh at that "Grass is Always Greener" saying. When you can't be home with your kids you feel guilt about that, but when you are home with them you feel guilt about them not being with other kids their age!

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