Sunday, June 1, 2008

Our Trip to Belgium

Last week Paul had a few days off and so we decided to take a trip to Belgium. We spent a day in Brugges, a day in Ghent, and a day in Brussels. We enjoyed all of Belgium but our favorite city had to be Brugges. With its canals and intimate feel it reminded Paul and I of Colmar (a French Alsatian city we visited this past Christmas season). The city was so unique as there was an obvious British influence (we were just across the channel from England), but also blended gothic and byzantine styles as well.

This is view of our hotel, which was on a picturesque boulevard with several other hotels and cafes. Many of the hotels advertised having tea rooms, this I'm sure was borrowed from the Brits. The location was wonderful as we were able to walk into the center of the town in mere minutes, and easily come back for an afternoon siesta. The city was filled with lush gardens and numerous parks tucked away in little nooks, so it seamed you were always finding new and beautiful places around every corner.

Our hotel room had a great view and this is one of the churches that we could see from our window.

Paul got a kick out of this little scene. If you blow the picture up, you can see that one little boy is about to stomp on a frog and the other one is trying to stop him.

A little English garden tucked away from crowds and tourists.

You could hear the clip-clop of horses all over the city, and this only added to the charm and ambiance.

The canals made for picture perfect scenery.

Tristan traveled in comfort as Paul carried him in the carrier. Tristan loves the carrier, as he can peek out of the top and see everything as well as sleep comfortably whenever he wants.

Many of the houses had these puzzle piece topped homes.

Belgium: land of fine chocolates! Paul and I made sure to get our share while still leaving room for Belgian waffles(they were both soo delicious!).

This is one of the larger squares in the Brugges. It's full of cafes, colorful homes, a clock tower, and plenty of tourists.

This is the same square just kitty corner from the statue and colorful homes. The woman who took our picture was a part of a tour group from Alabama, that seemed to be everywhere. These were the nicest people, and later on that night we ran into them again and shared some waffles and cream.

This was a really neat spot with a really strange name that I can't remember (when I say strange I mean it sounds like a persons name from one of the Lord of the Rings movies). Really it was this grove of trees in the center of an abbey, where nuns lived in small little homes on the outside. All of the trees seemed to grow sideways, but this was one of the most calm beautiful places in the city.

This was one of the homes that the nuns lived in on the outside of this almost mystical grove of trees.

This was one of the clock towers in the city of Ghent.

Another neat building in the center of Ghent, which was built on the corner of a street and the harbor.

Ghent was a really cool and very interesting city. It also had canals and crazy puzzle piece houses, but felt nothing like Brugges. It had a big city feel and the canals were very large in comparison which made for a very unique atmosphere.

This was a castle in the center of Ghent.

A family picture in the castle courtyard.

FYI: Never enter a guided tour in a castle with dozens of school children (this must have been the day that everyone in Belgium and France went on a field trip to a castle)when...your little one may be hungry. I didn't realize what time it was and that Tristan would soon be hungry. I won't go into it but believe me, it was not a pretty picture -there was a zillion people crammed into the torture museum and Tristan was screaming. You can only imagine how enjoyable it was for everyone!

The main canal in Ghent.

Our last city was Brussels, which we found feeling very much like D.C. We were able to enjoy nice weather, nice parks, great Indian food, more phenomenal waffles and well just an overall good time.

The peace arch in Brussels.

Paul's favorite part of Brussels was the Military Aviation Museum.

The Grand Place in center of Brussels, was really very awesome with its intricate architecture and towering rooftops.

At the end of our little trip we thoroughly enjoyed Belgium and encourage all of you to visit if possible. There is one tip though that I would like to pass on. That is, don't get your hopes up and think that you'll be able to communicate with these people(crazy us, we thought Paul would be able to speak French with them since it is one of their national languages). You won't be abl to speak to them unless you speak jibberish-thats right jibberish(it's a combination of French, Geman and English, that sounds crazy enough like Scottish)-or otherwise known as Flemmish. This is the language we found most of the people speaking (Belgiem not so much). So go ready to see cool things and be able to communicate with very few of them!

Lastly, I hope you enjoyed the pictures of Belgium and if not, well I hope you just scrolled to the bottom and saw that I posted some pictures of the little man.

Speaking of the little man...Thankyou to all of you out there who gave advice on getting him to sleep in the crib. Its a work in progress but it is getting better-slowly but surely.

Here's some recent pictures of little T, I hope you enjoy!


janeen said...

I've been to Belgium once and all I can say is that there waffles are to die for. I'm just a little jealous!

Deborah said...

You are living the life I always wanted.

Doulabug said...

You made me want to go to Belgium! The pictures are absolutely gorgeous. I love the architecture!

Sara said...

How fun that you get to go to all these cool places while living in Europe. I'm totally envious because I love to travel but don't know if I'll ever make it to Belgium. It looks so pretty and quaint.

Leslie said...

Great post Holly. I know at the time it wasn't funny but now it is hilarious that you were being tortured IN the torture museum. What a classic unique story! We too loved Belgium and now I have to go back to see Brugge. I'm intrigued.

Amy said...

Now I dream of Belgium. Love your adventures.