On our way out of the hotel and into the streets of Bussels today Stewart wishes Will, Charlie and me a ‘Happy Weekiversary’ after our first full week in Paris (technically Brussels this morning). Cute and a fun usage of a made up word. She’s a cool girl. It wasn’t totally fun and games this morning as five humans woke to realize we are now sharing a clogged toilet (thanks Will and our apologies Hotel Novatel for the gift and you, the readers for the TMI). Then we realized a week of altered sleep habits actually DOES catch up with a 6 year old and quite possibly a 10 year old. “Charlie, do you want to go out and get a Pain Chocolat (chocolate filled pastry croissant thingy) was met with loud screams of “NOOOOOO! WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?!?!?” He did recover briefly only to fall back into the same routine when he realized he wasn’t going to be allowed to wash it down with Orange Fanta. An aside: what is with Europeans and their love of Fanta and who knew Fanta even still existed?!? The last Fanta I had was dark red and flavored as orange blueberry, hence my understanding that decisions like that flavor could only have meant their demise decades back. Perhaps I was hasty in my conclusion. Charlie provided more than one encore for this act throughout the day but more than made up for it by reading his ‘Nate the Great’ book cover to cover (aloud) from Brussels to Paris on the TGV speed train. Too cute.
But I’ve jumped ahead a bit.
We departed our gracious hosts in Audreselles on Sunday around noon to hop a train to Brussels. One stop in Lille where we nearly missed our connection due to a spoken in French only track change (and another mad dash through a train station, this time with Will and Charlie in tears afraid we were going to get split up again a la Thurday’s Metro incident), followed by a quick leg bringing us to Brussels Midi Station. We stretched our legs by walking the 1.3 miles to our hotel where we dropped bags, briefly recharged with 20 minutes of catching up on electronics (read: learning that nothing big occurred on the Tour de France and that the British Open had an extra day of play due to weather, who knew?) and then headed into the food gluttony capital of the world for some culinary yumminess.
Another aside: It took a new city and 7 days to realize it but we stand out a bit and definitively look like Americans. If the 3 shirts with large Under Armor logos worn by the kids didn’t drop enough of a hint, then our shoes certainly remove any lingering doubt. Europeans tend to the understated shoe colors and often the tennis shoes look like race car driver shoes or folks are donning shoes a 90 year old man/woman in the 70s would wear with trousers and a white/gray undershirt. If you peek at the first picture in this post you will see our easy give away. You will also see why there are so many pigeons here…they can sustain life on croissant flakes alone. But. I. Digress. Here’s the rundown of our past 1.5 days.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Stewart was down to 23% charge on her iPod! Better get pedaling Lady! Cindy and I are pricing one of these for our home. Conveniently they are made in threes.
Our afternoon “hike” to the hotel. Will’s comfort in the damage he’s about to do in our hotel bathroom is unnerving.
Charlie called ‘next’ and was vocal throughout on what move to make. Unfortunately his advice was lost in translation…not the only thing that lost that day Mr. Yellow Jacket. You should have listened to the 6 year old.
Dinnert! Dessert for dinner. Waffles a la mode, sodas and beer. If it keeps you from dialing DSS we did have Belgian Fries beforehand. Note: the odd shaped waffles beat out the Belgian square ones hands down. Heavier. Doughier. More deliciouser. Good order Will.
Cindy’s non-blonde beer beat out my Leffe beer to boot. Note: beer with waffles, whipped cream and ice cream only makes lactose intolerance worse.
Will ate his waffle so fast he forgot to selfie it (maybe the most first world problem statement I’ve ever written) so he improvised. Do you know what it takes a 12 year old to do this in a country where he only knows four other people? Don’t ask.
Cindy and me (separately) gave the man with the ‘Gratis Knuffles’ sign the hug he so wanted to give out. He was a great hugger and sincere with his thanks. And I’ll admit it, I felt pretty great afterwards. There’s a FB page about the Brussels movement of free hugs. Google away.
As great as Paris is, this little Mannekin Pis (you figure out the translation) is EXACTLY why Brussels>Paris. Always. Humility in such a great way.
Katherine’s Cathedral is 900 years old. Also closed today to prepare for the King’s Feast tomorrow (holiday called Te Diem). Sadly, the Musee de Chocolat was also closed but only because it was Monday. See how I slipped in the fact that Belgium has a king? I learned that today too.
We reunited with Cindy at dinner in Paris (she left early this morning to work all day) where the waiter busted our kids chops over ordering a cheeseburger in Paris. We busted his chops over charging us 16 Euros for tap water so we are even except not really. Paris needs a Mannekin Pis like yesterday. By the way…where did my hair go or how did that forehead get so big? Selfies…pffft. So. Overrated.
I made one mistake today that stood out. I peeked at my work email. People quitting, people reorganizing, people getting laid off, people who know I’m on vacation asking me multiple questions over multiple emails…there might be a few perspective adjustments needed in the bunch. My perspective was adjusted: no more email until I return to the U.S.
Tommow brings unknown Paris fun. No plan just yet. I might even start my day with my first run since Grandfather Mountain. Or just another fresh croissant and a selfie.