Monday, July 7, 2008

First Impressions Make an Impression

We had a great time last night catching up with Greg and Ross. They had many stories to share about their travels around Europe and advice to share about our European adventure. We had a fabulous French dinner with monkfish and quail and enjoyed far too much wine throughout the evening, which made for a deep sleep as we attempted to shake off the jet lag.

This morning we awoke to a fine breakfast of berries, croissants and cappuccino. Following the morning meal, Jean (the chauffeur) drove us into the heart of Brussels, where Greg acted as our tour guide for the day. We saw many sites, such as the famous statue pictured above, and loved the architecture that is so prominently featured every direction you turn.

All of the street signs are posted in French and Dutch, which will make navigation somewhat more difficult when Jennifer and I are forced to go it alone next time. While I do pride myself on my keen sense of direction, the haphazard layout of the streets in the oldest 'commune' of Brussels does make navigating the streets and sidewalks a little harder :-) I could have sworn we were walking around in circles today, yet we kept stumbling upon new and interesting attractions.

We treated Greg to a nice lunch in a very authentic Belgian restaurant, the Roue D'or. Jennifer had shrimp-stuffed tomatoes, I had a lamb shank and Greg settled on a ham knuckle. Apparently, no Belgian meal is complete without 'frites' (french fries), so we had a few of those as well. We just learned last night that the French do not deserve any credit for fries, as they are actually handed down from Belgium...

Over lunch, Jennifer let it slip that today's my birthday, so Greg pulled out his cellphone and sent the head chef a text requesting a birthday cake for dessert. Apparently, we're finishing off dinner with a triple layer carrot cake topped with cream cheese icing - we'll have to see how it measures up against Oscar's carrot cake ;-)

Tomorrow, we're off to the town of Brouges to spend the day weaving around the canals and cobblestone streets. Hopefully Jennifer will be able to capture the essence of this town through her pictures so that you, too, can enjoy Brouges tomorrow!

Thanks for reading,
Andy


One of the two plazas near the heart of Brussels, lined with chocolate shops and fashionable clothing...




We gave in to temptation :-)




One view from the 'Grand Place', the square in the centre of the Brussels 'commune'.




Looking the other way in the Grand Place...




The Roue D'or, where we stopped for lunch, is on the right. This is a typical street in Brussels...




One of the taller buildings in the Grand Place. You can see this tower from many blocks away.

5 comments:

jd+hj said...

Everything there looks really beautiful. It's nice to see you getting good use out of your fancy rain jackets.

Are the food portions smaller in Europe? I ask because that's what I always hear.

Can you change the blog so that people don't need google accounts to post comments?

(Your kids cheat at mini putt-putt. I was shocked.)

Andy said...

Thanks for the tip, Jonathan. I've adjusted the settings so that comments can now be left anonymously. Didn't realize that the default settings were so restrictive :-(

And about the mini-golf... I'm not surprised! Did we tell you about Abby's tendency to 'retrieve' balls for us on a regular golf course? This habit is especially frustrating following the odd good shot when you hit the green, walk up to it and your ball is no longer where it should be... then Abby will run up to you with a great big grin on her face saying, 'I found your ball for you!'

Paul said...

Dear Andy and Jennifer

What a great blog, thank you so much for doing this, it is incredible, the girls must love it! I sent you a happy birthday on Facebook but just in case you are not going there - HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY!!! I wil look forward to the next installment

Paul

Andrea said...

Hi guys!
So good to finally see you! I left a Happy Birthday message for Andy on your last blog so hope you've seen it. I had bookmarked your other blog so luckily I checked facebook and got into this new one. Love the pic in front of Monica Piss! It was so cool to see him. My mom is in love with him! Sounds like a great trip so far. Looking forward to reading all about it! Take care!
Amdrea

Susan said...

Happy Birthday Andy! What a great place to celebrate. the pics are fabulous, Jennifer. I am sooo jealous of you, both. What a wonderful gift you have given yourselves.
All the best
Susan

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