Monthly Archives: April 2018
After spending 16 years living in a desert, I am so so so so flipping ecstatic to be going through a real spring again! I loved Phoenix and the UAE, but I was born into 4 seasons (a late spring baby at that!), and it is my intention to die in a 4-season area (but not anytime soon). Don’t get me wrong, the desert has its spring too, and it is lovely, but it’s just not as amazing when the temperatures were already warm to begin with — AND when it’s your reminder that in too short of a time it will be in the 100s again.
Today is a gray, rainy day, but it’s all good because we’ve had almost two weeks of sunshine and temps that went above 80. Sooo, pretty much every free moment we have had has been spent outdoors. I’ve also gone into overdrive buying flowers for our place. So much color and fragrance! Here’s just a few, but my place and balconies are full of them.
I even have my birth flower. I love Lilly of the Valley, which grew wild in the Catskills, so a great childhood memory is picking them for myself (when we’d get out of the city to our ‘country house’) because, you know, they were MY flower. I haven’t seen these lil tinker bells in so long, I did a little dance when I saw them at the market. And can I say I freaking love, love, love that A. we have a Sunday Market; B. there are so many flower shops everywhere; and C. I always have fresh flowers in the house now. Ohhhh, and I also have a honeysuckle vine on my bedroom balcony, which makes my bedroom smell divine (why do I have to leave its bed?). I don’t care if temps drop back to the 40s, lol that window is staying open.
I’ve also bought a whole slew of edible stuff for my kitchen window.
I’ve got thyme, basil and rosemary too. Okay, I’ll stop with all the blooming pics. Oh wait, there’s one more. The backyard tree that mesmerizes me every day.
This pic doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea. So, yeah there’s a lot of balcony time sipping and staring. Yum, yum.
There’s also been a lot of time on the Grand Place, doing the same, while running into friends.
And, we’ve done some touring too. Last weekend we spent all Saturday at an abby
I wish I uploaded more to show you because it’s in a beautiful area, and we plan on going back again. My wifi is sketchy, so this time around, I’m too lazy to fight it and upload more. The beer is quite tasty too.
Last Sunday, we went to Dunkirk.
And next weekend, we’re headed to Amsterdam. We haven’t gotten around to visiting the famous bluebell forest near Brussels or the tulip farms in the Netherlands, but we’re trying to fit that in the next two weekends (if it’s not too late). There’s also been a lot more touring around our area and finding little gems along the way, so needless to say we’re really enjoying ourselves. I cannot believe that in seven weeks the school year will be over (and oh my goodness do we have some fun summer plans). How did it all fly by so quickly?
Oh, and I bought my future grandchild his or her first bike bell. I’m already planting the seed for another without-borders soul. Cannot wait to meet him or her in November (although the lil one is expected to be born late August)!
And, of course, Badger has his take on the spring, so if you’re curious to see what he’s up to, go to https://badgerdoesbelgium.wordpress.com
We really lucked out in that Friday, Saturday and Sunday were sunny days in the 70s! My face got sunburned — I’m no longer a vampire! On the crappy side of things Joe got really sick, but he ploughed through and did the hikes. We avoided the more difficult ones this time around, but we live a 1.5 hour drive from here, so we’ll be back. I got sick toward the end of our trip, and it was wet and foggy the last two days, but it’s all good we love it here. I’m so glad we decided to do road trips instead of flying somewhere. We really needed a slow-paced vacation, and it totally would have sucked to abandon Joe in the hotel room while I toured Italy, Greece or Croatia (trips we’re planning down the road) without him.
If you ever get the chance the next time you visit Belgium, do try to spend a few days in Belgium’s countryside. Maybe do Brussels and Brugge first, and then wind down a bit hiking in all that green. There are campgrounds, kayaking, zip lining, and all sorts of outdoor adventures in the Ardennes. Um, if you’re into suicidal motorcycle rides, there’s plenty of that too — can’t tell you how many times I screamed we’re gonna die during a crotch rocket’s crazy manoeuvre.
Dinant: It’s an easy 1.5 hour drive from Mons and well worth it. We easily found parking and enjoyed just walking around. The Leffe brewery is also there, but we didn’t tour it this time around. The highlight was that we were able to take Badger on the Telefrique, cable car, up to the Citadel, which dates back to 1040.
Awww look at us frying in the sun on the Meuse river! Badger is at our feet. All of the Ardennes was incredibly dog friendly. Then again, most of Belgium is.
Houyet and our cottage (I keep calling it a cabin, but it’s more than that)
We spent four nights in a cottage we loved. The downstairs is a tight fit for more than two people, but who cares? The backyard is everything!
view from our bedroom window.
We’re totally going back in the fall. Click here if you’re interested in cottage (and noooo I don’t get paid for sharing their info; we just really liked it)
The tiny town of Houyet worked for us. We enjoyed our hikes and day trips from there.
Just a few pics of the cool stuff we got to see putzing around in the area.
Dubury: is the smallest city in the world, and it’s adorable. I found a perfumery I loved, and, well, everything about the town worked for us. Hello? it even has a pirate bar, so we’ve gotta come back for that alone.
Bastogne: We spent a night here, but after a great day walking and touring (and sipping some amazing gin and tonics), Joe had a rough night coughing and fighting the cold from hell, so we went straight home after breakfast. The town of Bastogne is more neon-lightish than other Belgium cities, but it has a lot of restaurants and shops — not to mention all the museums nearby. We have friends and family who want to come here, so we’ll be back again to see more. The war museum and memorial park is well worth the trip. It amazes me how we can war and maim in lands that are normally so quiet and serene. I could write up a whole blog on my thoughts on this alone, but I’ll spare you my reflection/hurt/concerns on this. Pray people, even if you’re an atheist (we need all the positive vibes we can get), that we manage to not go into WW3.
I have a few more days left of spring break, so we might take a day trip into the Netherlands, or just explore around here. Best part is I’ve got time to do whatever, including sipping coffee on my couch.
Here’s to whatever path we go on!
Of course you can also check out Badger’s view on all of this at Badger Does Belgium. It’s supposed to be sunny and in the 70s next week, so he and Joe will go on their first blog mission to Waterloo. LOL deadlines to keep man and dog busy — no such thing as true retirement here!
Helloooooo it’s been awhile. I’ve been busy having fun and readjusting to life with my man and dog, and now I’m on a two-week spring break. And Spring is in the air. Temps are rising, birds are singing and flowers are blooming. It’s a beautiful time to be in Belgium. Joe, Badger and I rented an adorable cabin in the Ardennes.
Joe is napping off a cold, while I take the time to blast you with some pics and updates.
First off my daughter is now in her 5th month of pregnancy, and my first grandchild is bouncing around in there, already letting us know he or she is going to grab life by the reins and ride it for all its worth. So far the little bugger has a pierre hat and booties and a little dragon (Mons loves dragons) hoodie. I’m having fun shopping for the little ball of energy.
Easter was great since we had 10 friends over for dinner and games. We were too busy feasting and laughing to take pics, but I’ve got this one of a basket of goodies a friend brought over.
and lol this one our neighbour and friend took of a whole other Peter Cottontail bouncing down our street handing out condoms.
Michelle visited for a few days, and as always we had a great time. We ate at great restaurants, toured Mons, went to the Cantillon brewery in Brussels, ate, drank, laughed: our usual.
Mons has so many gems. I can’t wait to show them off to those of you planning to visit!
Badger has been having a blast since he gets to go just about everywhere with us. Yesterday that dog was able to get on a cable car and ride up to the citadel in Dinant. He’s having so much fun he started his own blog, which will tell you all about his Dinant day (when he gets time to paw the keyboard).
Click on happy Badger pic (in our backyard at cabin) to see his view of the world. Lol on Badger Does Belgium.
Joe is coming back to life, so gotta get ready for our second day of hiking and exploring.
I’m sure I’ll tell you all about the magic we get to discover along the way, and I’ll post more about the cabin and Dinant later — both are well worth a visit!