22 June 2015

High-Five for being Stateside!

Here it is the end of June and we've been back for almost 6 weeks. I can't believe it! Time has flown by. The first month was a whirlwind. We had a hellacious adventure from Germany... read: 7 hour bus ride, flight delays then an 8 hour flight, a 3 hour customs/baggage ordeal in Baltimore, and it didn't end there. The silver lining in all of that craziness was my parents graciously picking up us from the airport in Baltimore. The BWI airport had some of the rudest employees who were incredibly unhelpful when we were having issues with getting Zeke's giant sized airline crate through customs. I was shaking I was so angry. It was such a relief to see my parents' smiling faces on the other side of the airport. :) We stayed the night in VA and then drove down to South Carolina the next day. Zeke did amazing through all of this. He's such a trooper and a great traveler! My little giant Army pup. :)

The next two weeks were filled with visiting family, finding a rental in GA, and making a bunch of adult purchases like a new car, washer and dryer, and new mattress. We were also able to celebrate my brother's college graduation and attend my SIL's high school graduation. The first week of June we moved into our rental in GA and slowly there after our other car and all of our other belongings arrived. We are finally settled and are so glad to be back. There are so many things I miss about Germany, but I am definitely enjoying the perks and convenience of American life. Zeke is adjusting fairly well to the GA heat. We are cautious and only walk him in the early morning and at night. He surprisingly loves to go outside and just lay in the grass to sunbath. I think he really enjoys having a fenced in yard. RC starts school this week so we have yet to determine the pace and lifestyle we will have for the next six months. Regardless we are happy to be together and so much closer to family and friends.

24 April 2015

RECAP :: Belgium

A month out from moving back to the States and I can easily admit that I am not ready for our European travels to come to an end. My heart sinks a little bit when I hear friends planning their summer leave trips and I mentally add on more countries and cities to my already lengthy list of places to visit. We have been to more places than I ever thought I'd see in my lifetime. Unfortunately for Ross, I want more. :) The wanderlust is bad and I don't think it'll go away anytime soon. But back to our trip... We got lucky and were able to sneak in one more last minute trip over Easter weekend. Brussels was one of the cities I visited during college and it did not leave the greatest impression. To be fair, it was sandwiched between a few days in London and Paris. So did it really have a shot of blowing me away? Not really, but I will tell you one thing. I did not forget about the food. True Belgian waffles may be one of the greatest things I've ever eaten and nowhere else cooks fries as perfectly crisp as Belgium. 

Now onto the details... 
  • FLIGHT-- LUFTHANSA :: I love flying with Lufthansa if only for the fact that I can use the Passbook app and download our boarding passes directly to my phone. It is so convenient! 
  • TRANSPORTATION :: We arrived in Brussels pretty late in the evening so we lazily took a cab from the airport. In Brussels and Brugge we walked. In Ghent we had to use a tram to get from the train station to the city center. On our last day we took the train to airport. It was so simple, quick, and cheap. Always the way to go we you have sufficient time to plan your routes!!
  • HOTEL-- NH BRUSSELS GRAND PALACE ARENBERG :: Qualified for a genius rate through Booking.com. Great location for day trips to other cities. A 5 minute walk to Brussels' central train station. The Grand Palace and Mannekin Pis were also equally close by. A little overpriced for breakfast, but boasted one of the larger spreads we've seen offered. 

Day Trips to Brugge and Ghent

Our entire trip could really be summed up in 5 words; Belgian waffles, french fries, and beer. It was a delicious and carb heavy weekend. :) We used Brussels as a hub and took day trips to Brugge and Ghent. I was really pleased with the way our trip turned out. Everything was so enjoyable. We had a quick walk from the hotel to catch the train. We read during the entire length of the train ride and then arrived in two very unique and beautiful places. Without the pressure of hitting major tourist spots we wandered down streets that looked like they'd have a lot of potential. Brugges led us to a quaint town with beautiful architecture, hoards of chocolate shops, and the "best frites in town". Ghent was as equally quirky as Brugges was beautiful. To my surprise we stumbled upon Graffiti Alley where in the 90s in an attempt to keep the rest of the city tag free, the local government made it legal for street artists to work on this one street. It was a stark constant to the cobblestoned streets, but added to the quirky attitude of Ghent. It was a lively city with so much to take in. At one point while Ross was inside in a chocolate shop I stayed outside and soaked up the sunshine and listened to the street musicians playing on a bridge over the canal. I adore the atmosphere live music creates. Another highlight of the trip was the 10 minutes we spent literally following our noses to find a waffle stand so we could meet our waffle quota for the day. The aroma is surprisingly strong and the goofy looks we were getting with our antics was totally worth it. 

I don't know if it was the better company or the way we approached the trip, but I had a much better time in Belgium this time around. Here's to second chances! :)