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    • Day 3

      Lazy Saturday

      September 16, 2023 in Belgium ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

      I had a lazy start to the day - relaxing and reading and adjusting to the time difference and warm weather.

      Brigitte and I did some shopping and then started preparing for dinner as we had Gui, Geertje, Luc, Nathalie, Sohan and Stéphane and Emma for dinner.

      I made an apple cake which ended up being a disaster as the cake form Brigitte had leaked and so the floor of the oven was covered in cake batter. So no dessert tonight.

      We are having a barbecue with brochettes and sausages. I made some guacamole which was a big hit with everyone and we also made a potato salad and a green salad.

      It was a lovely evening catching up with family.
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    • Day 7

      Relaxing Day in Limal

      September 20, 2023 in Belgium ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      After the big day visiting Gent yesterday, today is going to be a nice relaxing day hanging around home and getting some jobs done. I had left a whole bunch of stuff at Brigitte’s place last year as I had intended to spend several months in Europe this year - plans change and now that extended stay won’t be for a couple of years. So I packed up all my warmer gear and posted it back to Australia.

      The weather is still very mild, although some cooler and wet weather is forecast over the next couple of days. Stéphane, Brigitte’s son has created a wonderful garden that produces so many vegetables, so today more produce was picked from the garden including pumpkins, zucchini, potatoes, onion, cucumbers and tomatoes. The zucchini are huge and plentiful so I decided to show Brigitte how to make zucchini slice. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the slice - something they had never had, but will now make as it is a great way to use up zucchini.

      I also spent some of today reading my second holiday novel - Dreaming in French by Vanessa McCausland - it is such a good read I am afraid it will be finished in a couple of days!
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    • Day 49

      Dinner with the family

      November 1, 2022 in Belgium ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

      Tonight Nathalie, Sohan, Stéphane and Emma are coming over for dinner. Brigitte is making her delicious Spaghetti Bolognaise. Sohan will be spending a few days with us as Nathalie is working and he has school holidays. Stéph isn’t feeling well, so he is here but keeping his distance.

      Lia is also here tonight and although Stéph is her favourite, she has taken quite a liking to me also!

      We have a lovely evening, the Spaghetti Bolognaise is delicious and we have a special tart that Steph has been promising to bring for two years apparently. It is called Tart Vi Paurin a speciality of Rixensart which is a delicious tart of apples, raisins, crème anglaise, caramelised almonds and rum.

      It was great to have a nice relaxed dinner with the famille Mouchette, unfortunately Luc had headed to his property in France for a couple of weeks, so he wasn’t there.
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    • Day 37

      Gardening and Chocolate research

      October 20, 2022 in Belgium ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      This morning Brigitte and I did a bit of work in the garden before heading off to Lio, a local chocolatier in Limal. Brigitte said she had only discovered this place last year after receiving a gift basket from work when she retired. She highly recommends them so I felt we needed to get some to compare to the Pierre Marcolini, Neuhaus and Mary that are my favourite Belgian chocolates. We decided on a mixed box, so we could establish which are my favourites. Brigitte has already declared salted caramel as her favourite.

      The weather has been quite wet and overcast this morning, but our weather Ap is saying sunny and dry this afternoon which would be good for our Geocaching activity.
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    • Day 34

      Goodbye Ian, Hello Brigitte!

      October 17, 2022 in Belgium ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

      For our last morning at the AirBnb we decided to have breakfast at the Dominican Hotel that looks after our property. The hotel has lovely decor and is well designed. After breakfast we headed back to pack the last of our things before checking out and getting a taxi to Brussels MIDI where Ian will catch the Eurostar to London to begin his journey back to Australia. I was then catching an intercity train to Ottiginies where Brigitte would collect me.

      I had bought my ticket and made my way to the appropriate platform when the train was cancelled without explanation. As I was heading down the escalator to find out what had happened to my train I received a call from Ian. He said that he had been stopped by security because he had knives in his possession and they are forbidden on the train! We had purchased several knives from the Laguiole, including a cheese knife and we didn’t want them confiscated. So Ian asked if he could come back through security and hand them to me as I was still at the station. ( I was only still there because a person had been hit on my train line and trains had to be cancelled till the tracks were clear).

      The security guy had to check with his supervisor but finally the supervisor and Ian appear and the supervisor hands me the contraband. I will now have to arrange to have them posted back to Australia as I am also heading back to the UK on the Eurostar.

      Crisis averted and Ian was on his way home via London. I had to wait another 30 minutes for a train and was picked up at the station just after 1:30 pm. I was sitting having a glass of wine and a late lunch within 30 minutes. After I unpacked and settled in, Brigitte and I drank more wine and just spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on life. We are going to have a ball over the next 4 weeks.

      For dinner Brigitte made me a traditional Belgian dish of Chicon au Gratin, which is chicory or endive which has been boiled and strained being wrapped in ham and then the rolls are placed in a dish and covered in white sauce and cheese and baked in the oven till golden. It is a very delicious dish, which we worked out Brigitte had made for me 37 years earlier.
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    • Day 32

      Family dinner in Limal

      October 15, 2022 in Belgium ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

      With the train line Ap I have it is so easy to purchase tickets. To get to Brigitte’s place we need to take an Intercity (IC) train to Ottiginies, which is about a 5 minute drive from Brigitte’s. we caught the train from Central Station and it all went very smoothly - but unlike the trip to Antwerp where our tickets weren’t checked, they were checked this afternoon.

      We arrived on time and Brigitte was there to meet us. We had a bit of stuff with us as I will be moving in on Monday and thought we may as well start bringing stuff over, plus we had wine and chocolates as well.

      The rest of the family arrived over the next couple of hours. Brigitte’s kids Nathalie and Stéphane haven’t changed much since we saw them in 2019, but Sohan and Emma are nearly teenagers and have grown up so much. Luc arrived next, he is Brigitte’s ex husband who is such a nice guy and who she and the kids and grandkids all have a great relationship with. This was the first time Ian had met Luc. The last to arrive were Gui and Geertje who are also so much fun and easy to get on with. Their kids aren’t coming tonight, in fact, we won’t see Lisa this trip as she left for a trip to South America about a week ago and Rob had a prior commitment, we will see him tomorrow at Gui and Geertje’s for dinner.

      Brigitte made a great dinner of pumpkin soup, charcuterie, wonderful cheeses and three fabulous desserts, including a cheesecake with raspberries (that I even liked!), a chocolate tart and a Javanais ( a chocolate and mocha delight) which was delicious. We drank lots of champagne and wine over the evening and it was great to catch up with everyone. I was so engrossed in our conversations (plus I drank quite a bit of champagne) that I hardly took a photo which is so unlike me.
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    • Day 24

      Girls trip to the Opal Coast

      July 18, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      We didn’t want to head off too early and get caught in commuter traffic, so we took it easy and headed off about 10am. It was a pretty smooth drive most of the way, and our first stop was Wissant, a lovely village on the coast of France. We stopped at a restaurant called Charlemagne, where we had Moules Frites and a lovely rosé, which was delightful. This dish is a specialty of France which my grandmother introduced me to when I was in my early 20’s. After lunch, we walked around the town - Brigitte has rented a house in the village before and so she knows the area.Read more

    • Day 27

      Interesting signs & words we encountered

      July 21, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      We decided to wait until tomorrow to head in to the centre of Brussels, as today is a public holiday and the centre would be packed. This means I have had some free time to catch up on my blog. Over our holiday we have seen some very humorous and silly signs, so I decided to include them in the next couple of entries. Some are train station stops, restaurants, stores, and some are just signs that made us laugh!Read more

    • Day 25

      Le Touquet - Paris Plage

      July 19, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      We left Marquise and headed for Le Touquet - Paris Plage which is about 35kms away. Such a beautiful town, with lots of pedestrian only streets, beautiful architecture, lovely houses, shops and restaurants and it is by the sea. It reminds me of the south of France without the heat and crowds - a real little gem. Brigitte did remind me that in August it will be much busier as this is when the French and other Europeans traditionally take holidays.

      We discovered a sculpture exhibition dotted around the town called the Big Foot Family Collection by self-taught artist Aidan Zareski, an Israeli French guy who now lives in Miami. We loved his work, but unfortunately due to the cars and Brigitte’s injured calf muscle we couldn’t get to all of them.

      We then found this lovely store called Atelier where they make beautiful ceramics. It is a family business - the mother and father make the ceramics and their son sells it. They used to have a store in Sydney, but the business grew too quickly so they have reduced what they do.

      We then had lunch at a lovely crepe restaurant, and again had a 0.5 litre of rosé with the meal. I have become quite accustomed to a glass or two with meals these days!

      After lunch we walked around a bit more before heading back to Brussels. While we were still in France, Brigitte saw on her GPS a change of route notification telling us to get off the highway. Lucky we listened, as we heard later that day that there had been a huge accident that closed the highway in both directions for several hours. A van had changed lanes without indicating or looking, and ran a group of English motorcyclists off the road. One dead, one in a very serious condition, three others in hospital and another six or eight with minor injuries. The GPS then took us on this roundabout route, which meant we saw some more lovely small French villages before making our way back to the highway and getting back to Brussels. home. We arrived home about 7pm and had a quiet evening.
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    • Day 24

      Château de Ledquent, Marquise, France

      July 18, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      Checked into our accommodation for tonight, and had a bit of a rest after our busy day. We headed down for dinner just after seven, and had a three course meal for 19 Euro, which is very reasonable and it was very good. We had a lovely French wine to go with it, which was also very reasonably priced. Brigitte had a vol au vent with seafood for entree, and I had the Provençal vol au vent with ham and mushrooms. For main Brigitte ordered the beef and I had confit duck, and for dessert we both had the specialty of the house - Profiteroles with ice-cream and chocolate sauce. Everything was delicious and they bake everything on site, including the vol au vent pastry cases. We had a walk around the grounds after dinner, and then headed to our rooms for a quiet evening as tomorrow we have a full day planned.Read more

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    Limal, 1300

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