Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jody Kevin Belgium

Jody and Kevin's original plan to visit us in Botswana morphed into a European holiday with our change of circumstances.  What a gift to have them fly instead to Brussels on July 17!  It was incredible to see them after our year-plus away. And Brussels was a wonderful place to meet, in spite of the unseasonably cold and sometimes wet weather.

Although our Airbnb accomodation was not quite the quality we had previously enjoyed, we were in a wonderful central city location --- near the subway, the historic city square, and most everything.

Jody happy to be discovering the joys of Europe!
Such as amazing Belgium chocolate,
A little bit of Botswana:  chocolate hippo

and famous Brussels moules frites - mussels - served with the ubiquitous french fries!

We couldn't eat all of the mussels, not the ones we ordered in a restaurant, and not the ones in the park     

Kevin loving fries!

Jody loving mussels!

The exterior of this cathedral was
as incredible as the shrines within.

We spent much time just wandering the streets
which felt like living museums!
We discovered how people move into
fifth floor apartment buildings!

Incredibly, we found a cartoon museum with the treasure of Barbapapa books inside! Barbapapas are the most beautiful, creative and peace-loving creatures ever. Decades ago we read their stories to our children, and have since found it difficult to get for our grandchildren, especially in English.

Who could resist?
Oh yes, and ice cream sundaes too,
pure heaven!

From Brussels we took an (all too short) train ride to Brugge. We were destined to visit Brugge as one of our Camino friends suggested it and Jody and Kevin on their own research, made the same recommendation!.  Brugge is a designated UNICEF Heritage Site and also known as the Venice of the North because of the canals that criss-cross the city. Both accolades are true and then some --- as you can see here.

We stayed at an amazing Airbnb accommodation at the edge of the old city across from the canal that encircles it.  Here is a picture from our window into the backyard and garden.

Marjan, the owner, has a great and eclectic imagination, which freaked us out just a bit!

We spent a couple of days in Brugge, wandering the narrow streets, took a canal trip, wanted to ride bikes but got rained out, and kept running into this team of waste recyclers, who got to know us.

There were several windmills not far from our lodging, which are now simply for tourists to appreciate, which was easy to do.

In Brugge, travel by water, or.... by stone road!

The great thing about a UNICEF Heritage Site is that everything has to stay as it was, with few exceptions.  No advertising and no chain stores of any kind.  Who knows, it might be challening to live within a historical site (or maybe not, no Walmart, Walgreens or Safeway, hmmm...) It was for sure most awesome to visit!  But Paris was beckoning, so after nearly a year of no driving, we rented a car in Brugge and off we went!