brown eyed fox

european vacation… part one

travelingcarissa fox15 Comments

now that i am feeling much better… more myself… AWAKE…
i can share some from our trip.

we made visits to five neat places!
this was our FIRST stop…
brussels… belgium!
and we were so lucky to have the best tour guide ever…
my brother-in-law (husband’s twin) toby!
he has been living in brussels for the past ten years…
has made a great life for himself there and
thank goodness speaks french too!

he picked us up at the airport with bags of the freshest…
best tasting pastries i’ve ever had!

we knew we had arrived once they stamped our passports…
well that…
all the french talk everywhere.
”we’re heeeeere”
“we’re really here”
we looked at each other and laughed in excitement!

the smart cars were everywhere!
i have to say… they sure are cute.
but hellooooooo… you can’t have kids!

our hotel… for the first three nights.
we really liked it…
especially the belgium chocolate & fancy bottled water
they left during turn down each night.

the view from our room.
with it’s classic dreamy french balcony.
if only i had long hair… i would have let it down!

thought that roof was so neat.
so neat!
just loved it!

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one of the neat restaurants we ate while in brussels.
let me just say…
the food… the food… the FOOD…
it was ALL divine!
and the one thing we all noticed everywhere we went in europe…
without exception… without fail…
our food was always served piping hot!
fresh and hot!
to perfection!

my hubby looking all cute.

todd and toby
aka… hair and no hair…
teedle dee and tweedle dumb
”todder” and “the tobe”.

the best company ever!

on our way to…

the grand place (grote markt)… which is the central square of brussels.
the scale & height of it all was quite impressive.
something i wish i would have captured better.
not quite sure why i didn’t step to a corner & get an overall shot.

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and speaking of captures…
i did not get all the pictures i would have liked…
all the detail… all the experiences… all the “look at that”…
we DID… however… capture them inside.
you know?
memories that will last a lifetime.

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we ate dinner our first night at a spot somewhere back in there…
along the cobblestone streets.

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and of course… we had to go see the manneken pis sculpture.
a famous brussels landmark that was designed and placed back in the 1600’s.

he is dressed up several times a year by tradition…
it just so happened he was dressed up when we visited.
”hmmm”… ?
not sure about this one.

pastry shops everywhere.

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the guys had to stop here
one of the way too many beer spots.
beer central!
they have somewhere around 2000 different types of beer.
sophi & i opted for coffee.
plus it would help warm us up…
during the unseasonable cold temperatures!

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sure wish i could remember what this is?

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a local spot toby frequents…
we stopped by one night.

oh… which reminds me…
this is where we began to grasp how different some things are.
in brussels & many other areas…
ready for this…
you have to pay to pee!
kid you not!
like in this place…
sometimes there is an attendant standing there with a belt bag…
or sometimes it’s even a coin machine.
doesn’t matter how much you spend in the bar or restaurant…
if you are a patron of the store…
how nice it is…
you pay.
SO different.
it is more rare to not have to pay than pay. 
having said that… we did visit places where you did not.
we had fun with it though…
it became a running joke (no pun intended)…
to have a pocket full of euros for the “toilette”… as they call it.

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we grabbed a bite to eat before heading to toby’s flat.
our first go at trying to communicate without toby…
in an all french speaking restaurant…
none of us knowing how to speak french.
i have to give it to sophi… she is good!
fast learner & always got us what we wanted.
she’s a go getter… not afraid to jump in & go for it.

toby’s flat was so great!
it was how i had imagined yet even better.
he had gutted it & redone it a couple years back.
great job toby!

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really loved his terrace!
again… i missed capturing that…
i was way to busy laughing my head off.

loved all of toby’s friends!
loved them!
and they ALL speak english too.
amazing bunch of people.

this is joris.
he was so fun!
i grabbed his iphone at one point to send my sister a message.
that “not taking my computer” thing was getting my goose!

not sure WHAT we were thinking when we left toby’s after 2am to GO OUT!
i thought we WERE out!
what in the world!
so glad we did though… why not!
for some reason none of us had ANY problem with jet lag on the euro side! 
so after making complete fools of ourselves…
trying to embarrass toby…
singing karaoke… oh yes we did…
having SO much fun…
trying to make french faces… like they pucker their lips or something…

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the sun was about to come up as we reached our hotel!
5:30am ish!
what in the world?
to make things even funnier…
we couldn’t get IN the hotel!
it was locked!
didn’t even know hotels did that!
maybe it was todd’s man bag (really my purse) that wasn’t chic enough! 

we were way past hysterical laughter at this point!
oh the fun!

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the next morning…
if 11am is still morning…
we had to sleep SOME…

we went to a cafe in toby’s neighborhood for a bite to eat
before heading to the next stop on our adventure.

brussels went by way to fast. 

some things i will remember about our time in brussels…
getting to BE in toby’s home.
paying to pee.
should never think it’s a good idea to karaoke “boom boom pow”.
that first fresh butter croissant… oh my.
their coffees sure are small.
i love how they always serve their coffee with cookies & chocolate.
europeans wear lots of black… luckily i fit right in with that.
four inch heels + me + cobble stone streets = not gonna work.
reaffirming that sophi can wear heels anywhere. 
i should really learn some basic french.
great wine.
bordeaux to be exact.
experiencing things in life sure IS better with friends!

next post…
our SECOND stop from the adventure…
ohhhhhhh… we loved it there!