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    • Day16

      Visit with Lieke!

      August 20 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Everyone meet Lieke! Lieke is my dad's cousin who lives in Brussels :) I made a quick stop to visit and boy was it fun! We started by walking around Brussels, saw the main square, ate muscles, and saw the arch at night (it was raining lol). Lieke is also a big salsa dancer and recommended seeing the street salsa dancing under the arch. So cool! Then the highlight. Saturday morning Lieke took me to meet her horse, Mourenna, who is lovely. She is currently training her so we practiced in the ring. It is amazing that all of the commands are done by expression. Just inhaling tells the horse to start to trot and exhaling tells the horse to slow to a walk. Amazing! We also went for a quick little bareback which was great :) we ended off with a walk in the park and had some YUMMY pastries and Belgian chocolate 🥰 love family❤️

      Now off to Amsterdam! 🇳🇱
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      Wonderful to see fam! ❤️


      Sounds like so much fun, and so interesting to hear of the horse training! You would have loved some horse time!! Thank you Lieke! Always wonderful to get time with you!! ❤️

    • Day21

      Seeing where Hans lived

      July 15, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      After finishing our sightseeing in towns, Folke took us to see the apartment where my dad spent many years. It turns out that the Airbnb apartment we are staying in is only 10 minutes away on foot. It was nice to see the place where Hans lived in with his family. The apartment building has been renovated, and is in a very posh neighbourhood. We took a few photos and then headed back to our place with Meike and Folke to watch the World Cup final between France and Croatia, and we were able to use up many of the goodies our host Thomas had left us. It was a nice and relaxing way to finish our time with Folke, who had been a fantastic and generous guide, both in Berlin and Hamburg. He also organised taxis for us for the morning, which was a bit more complicated as we ordered two taxis to the same address in the same name, going to the airport but at different times. It was also nice for France to win the World Cup; they played very well throughout the tournament.

      After Folke and Meike left us to head home, we spent the evening packing as tomorrow the boys start their journey home and have an early start, and I head to Brussels to see more family, this time on the French side.
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    • Day27

      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

    • Day25

      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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    • Day24

      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

    • Day24

      Wimereux, France

      July 18, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      As we can’t get into our hotel until after 4pm, we next stopped at the lovely town of Wimereux. We both needed to go to the bathroom, but they really don’t have public toilets so you have to stop at a bar, order a drink, and then use their facilities. We stopped and sat on the terrace (in the shade) to have a drink - Brigitte a shandy and me a glass of rosé - perfect on a warm day. Sitting near us was an elderly woman, drinking a wine, doing the crossword with a cigar hanging out of her mouth - only in France would you see such a sight!

      We then walked around the town a bit, bought a few mementos, tasted and bought some fabulous chocolate, and then made our way to Marquise and the Chateau de Ledquent, our home for the night.
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    • Day24

      Cap Gris and Cap Nez

      July 18, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      On our way to our Chateau, we stopped at some lovely beaches along the way. As it was a clear day, you could see the coast of England across the English Channel - it is only 24kms away. While we drove around we also saw lots of memorials to WWII, which is what I would expect as we we’re quite close to Dunkirk.Read more

    • Day24

      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

    • Day23

      Sunny Brussels

      July 17, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      Today we had an easy morning just catching up and not doing much, which is really lovely when you have been on the go for the last three weeks non-stop. We headed off to see Brigitte’s mum, my aunt Paulette around noon. Paulette lives in Everberg which is about 30 minutes away. Brigitte doesn’t have her key to Paulette’s at the moment, and so we had trouble getting in as Paulette was cleaning the pool. Finally we made enough noise to get her attention, and she came and let us in. We had a lovely lunch of cold cuts, a leek and potato quiche Paulette had made, and cheese, and then I tasted a peche plate (flat peach from France). It is one of the most delicious fruits I have ever had - so sweet and juicy and full of flavour - I will have to try and see if they are available in Melbourne. Just as we were finishing lunch, Nathalie and Sohan arrived for lunch and a swim.

      After lunch, we headed outside to sit by the pool and enjoy the warm weather. We had a lovely relaxing afternoon, and Nathalie’s partner, Ahmet, joined us for afternoon tea where we had a special cake from Brittany which Brigitte had got on an earlier trip there. We headed off about 4.30 pm and had a lovely steak and salad for dinner, and an early night as tomorrow we head off for a couple of days to the Opal Coast in Northern France.
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    • Day22

      Goodbye Hamburg Hello Brussels

      July 16, 2018 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      The boys were up early (4am) to catch their flight from Hamburg to London, and then their connecting flight back to Melbourne. Everything went smoothly and they arrived home on Tuesday evening to a chilly Melbourne. I had a more civil departure time of 11.30 am, but still left for the airport just after 9 am, and I am glad I did. The trip there was quick, as was the check-in, but going through security took an hour as the line was huge. I didn’t have much time after I got through before it was time to board. Very quick flight and very easy once I got off the plane, just a long walk from the gate to collect my bag and then exit.

      My cousin, Brigitte, was there to greet me, and we then headed to Limal where she lives. We stopped to have lunch in the village, and then home. It was a very warm and sunny day in Brussels. In the afternoon Brigitte’s daughter, Nathalie, came for dinner with her son Sohan, who is a lovely boy. Brigitte’s ex-husband Luc, who is now one of her best friends, also dropped by to say hi. We had a nice evening just catching up, and Brigitte cooked a lovely prawn and pasta dish for dinner. It is so comfortable and easy with Brigitte and her family, and it doesn’t feel like it was 9 years ago that we last saw each other.
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