Swift Ends

My trip to London came to a swift end with a 4:10 am wake-up call.  The 6 of us hopped in a cab for Heathrow where we made a 6:30 am flight to Brussels. It was weird since we had to go through customs to get into Belgium which was apparently WAY backed up due to a flight just in from Angola.  This seemed to have everyone up in arms and the passengers smelled like they had been on their flight for ages and ages.  One women stood directly behind a cute little girl from Canada and kept breathing on her neck until she finally let her go ahead of her.  For those of you who know me, my super power is a less than functioning nose which is generally a good thing as there are way more bad smells than good.  But I could smell her  too.  After an hour or so and a stamp in my passport, we made out of the airport with no coronaries.  After an hour drive, we checked into the hotel and headed to the town square of Kortrijk.

DSC03542

That is where we meet Phillip, CFO of the croissant making company.  He introduced us to a school chum, the Mayor of Kortrijk.  The mayor went on to give us a tour of the City Hall which was erected in 1520.  The building’s style is composed of Gothic and Renaissance elements.  In 1526, statues of the principal Counts of Flanders was put into niches, which so far had housed prophets’ statues. In 1616 the town hall was once more enlarged, with a part of the front in the extant style.  Below are a few pics of the insides.

DSC03546 DSC03558 DSC03564

Next Phillip took us for Belgium beer.  All of the rumors of the EXCELLENCE of Belgium beer are totally true; there are over 300 and some specialty beers.  Each beer has to have its own special glass or you go to Belgium beer jail.

DSC03566

We tried Omer which is exported to America, so drink it if you find it. You won’t be disappointed. Then we headed out for croissants.  These croissants are sold in America at Sprouts in the bakery section so if you are in a store go buy them and enjoy.  I also promise; that they are good and you will love.  We tried all kinds of these buttery, flaky pastries.  We ate flavors like spinach and ricotta; ham and cheese; cheesecake; red berry; apple; whole wheat and so many others I can’t even been to name them all.  The croissants were called sandwich carriers which made me laugh. We got to tour the plant and see them amazing process that brings these tasty delights to the USA  and Europe.  We learned about the companies dedication to ingredients.  I also learned about winter butter and textured butter.  He also explained that Belgium and Holland created techno music and the rave.  There is even a huge festival there called “Tomorrowland” that apparently lots of people go to (people you wouldn’t image – even go).

Phillip then took us to Bruges for a personal walking tour.  The man had did his homework and he was impressive in his tailored suit.  He explained the importance of the river and that Bruges was thought to come from the word spanish Bruja.  You see there were lovers like the start of every good story.  They were wildly in love and the witches didn’t like the match so ultimatums were issued – stop seeing each other or else.  The lovers continued so the witches turned him into a black swan.  She came to the river every day and continued to wait for him.  She refused to acquiesce to another so the witches turned her into a white swan.  So now, you see people making the below symbol on bridges with swans in the background.

images

Back in the 1500s and 1600s, there were women who didn’t want to marry or become nuns but they did want to devote their lives to god.  So we saw the area where they lived and it has become a posh housing area and museum.

DSC03582 DSC03579 DSC03589

They are lovely carriage rides to take as well.  I got a book for my CA Tuesday Vino club. Love you guys.

We stopped for more beer as a member of our group was having hip pain.  We walked to the church that houses Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child.  But the church was closed so I missed it.  :-(

We got chocolates at the best chocolatier in Bruges – Pierre Marcolini.  I can vouch for the quality.

Next we headed for dinner where we got to meet Jacques, CEO and founder of the croissant company.  The man was extremely charming, sincere, smart and good natured.  Yes – I have a crush.  He called head and arranged a special meal for all of us with wine pairings.  It was AMAZING!  He was telling us how much he loved Paris and he started to glow so Mark asked him, “What’s her name?”  He laughed and turned red.  I don’t think anyone caught him by such surprise in a long time.  Jacques commanded the table and made everyone feel a part and special.

We headed back to the room for bed.  Mark and I ended up taking a night walk and tried to get a beer – unsuccessfully I might add (since neither of us had any Euros).  As we went back to the hotel, there was a small crisis.  The 3 of us sat up trying to get it resolved until the wee hours of the morning.  It was even starting to make me anxious.  But at one point and two beers latter, we realized that we did as much as we could and then we all went to get a little sleep.

DSC03607

I can’t wait to go back one day. I have been up since 2:30 – I hate time changes.

All my love-

Angie

It has been Awhile

So it has been awhile since I have written. My schedule in Europe was more than a bit hectic. I was running on 4-6 hours of sleep a night with a day packed to the brim with miles of walking and eating. I had an amazing time some of my favorite times were yoga overlooking the Eiffel Tower.  I am in the middle with a rubber ducky on my belly (more on that later).

DSC03813

I loved Belgium and I can’t wait to get back soonest.  Here is a picture of the group with the mayor of Kortrijk, Belgium

DSC03563 

More details later.  Gotta go to yoga.

All my love-

Angie

1st Full Day in London

Spent my first full day in London and I had a great time.  It was a little weird  traveling people and not alone.  But it was cool to get someone else’s perspective. My peeps were cool.  We started our day with a City tour of London.  We went to the Tower of London which houses the crown jewels for the British Royalty.  The jewels were amazing but lots of the area was closed off for a visit from Queen Elizabeth.  I missed torture section.   There was also an art exhibit commemorating WWI made with ceramic poppy flowers.  There was one flower per British death within the UK meaning there were something like 880,000 poppies.

We headed onward to a trip on the Thames via boat.  The Thanks was significantly reduced with wise making the river flow faster and it doesn’t freeze anymore.  Next we saw Buckingham and St. James Palace.  Plus we saw the royal band and the actual Queen as she returned home to Buckingham Palace.  We had lunch at a typical English pub with beer, fish and chips.  It was called checkers and it was old and quaint.  Next we took a private tour of the Tate Modern.  One of them largest modern art museums in the world.  I loved getting explanations about all of the art.  I have postcards that I can explain to all of you .  ;)

Next we hit the London Eye. Super cool – London by night was amazing.  Then we were off to dinner at the Savoy Grill.  It was amazing.  I had a London pie which was tasty.

I slept awful and I arm so tired…  Can’t wait to get some sleep.

All my love-
Angie

Different

There is one thing that continues to shock me.  Sometimes something happens to you and you feel changed – permanently different but the world is constant and continues onward unchanged by you. Occasionally I want to scream, “Hello- aren’t you different too? Why am I the only one altered”.  But that question is ultimately only greeted by silence since in fact it was only me who is different. But I guess that is okay too.  ;)

THERE’S A HOLE IN MY SIDEWALK: THE ROMANCE OF SELF DISCOVERY

Here is a poem I heard at yoga last night. I like it.  Thought you might enjoy…

There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self Discovery

Chapter One.

I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in.
I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It still takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two.

I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place! But it isn’t my fault. And it still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three.

I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in. It’s a habit! My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter Four.

I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter Five.

I walk down a different street.

-PORTIA NELSON