Posted in Adventures at home

You’re a Mean One

December 2017

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas movie is a favorite at our house. This holiday season we decided to take in a theater production of the Christmas classic. The show was put on by the Minneapolis Children’s Theater, a nice introduction to live performances for our young boys. If you’re me, a special occasion like this is just another excuse for a party. A grinchy, green party.

Many of the items for this party were recycled from previous birthday parties or old Christmas decorations that haven’t made it out of storage boxes for a few years. Here’s how I put this party together:

  • Table runner-this is just 1 yard of fabric I purchased that looked grinch-like.
    • I don’t sew and don’t own a sewing machine, so I just cut the fabric to the width and length I thought looked good on my island.
    • I also scattered a couple red and green bulb ornaments on the runner for added depth and interest.
  • Red ball tree-this was purchased at Target a few years ago and was one of those items that had been in storage for a few years.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! book-you can double dip on this one and have your Elf on the Shelf deliver this a few days prior.
  • Grinch quote printable-get a free download here. I glued the page to a piece of scrapbook paper and placed on an easel.
  • Grinch hand with ornament-I purchased off Etsy.com, cut it out and used colored twine to hang above the island.
  • Red Cake Stand-was found at Walmart a few years ago. I used red striped paper drinking straws and stuck them into large marshmallows. Then I melted green candy melts, coated the marshmallow and then dunked it in sprinkles before placing on a colorful cupcake wrapper.
  • Crispy bars-I added green food coloring to the mix before letting cool in a cake pan. Then I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to shape the bars. I placed a red, heart shaped candy in the lower corner and displayed on a white serving dish.
  • Place setting-the red plastic chargers were a Target find from a few years ago. I bought the Grinch paper dinner plates on Amazon. I wrapped silverware in red polka dot napkins that were cinched with a piece of red twine and a grinchy napkin ring.
  • Grinch punch-I used a blender to mix lemon-lime soda and lime sherbet. Pour the punch into small classes rimmed with red and white twine and a candy cane.
  • Grinch hats-I used a tooth pick to secure a green grape, a slice of banana, a strawberry and then mini-marshmallow together.
  • Grinch plush-I stopped by Barnes n Noble to purchase the grinch book and these were sitting near the check out. Get In My Basket! The boys took them into the theater and held them during the production.
Ugly Christmas sweaters aren’t just for pub crawls.

Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps….means a little bit more.

Dr. Seuss
Posted in My Minnesota

Interstate State Park

June 2019

Every summer our family packs up a tent and several tubs of gear and finds a state park to explore. This year we chose Interstate State Park near Taylor’s Falls, MN on the St. Croix River. The idea of exploring glacial potholes and floating in a canoe appealed to us and was just a short drive from home. Away we went.

Itinerary

  • Day 1
    • We arrived at our campsite about 2pm to set up our tent and make ourselves comfy. We reserved campsite #6 because it was on the river allowing the boys easy access to skip rocks or explore.
    • After getting settled we hit the River Trail to the Glacial Potholes Area of the park. It was an easy, 1.25 mile hike to the potholes with scenic views overlooking the river.
    • A mere 10,000 years ago melting glaciers made up of swirling sand and water carved out hundreds of potholes in the park. The boys enjoyed that they were able to walk down into one of them.
    • We hiked back to our site via the Railroad Trail, a paved path that follows an old railroad bed and then connects with the Sandstone Bluffs trail back to the campground.
    • We capped off our evening with s’mores and a sunset over the river.
  • Day 2
    • We went into town for a big breakfast at Chisago House Restaurant in Taylor’s Falls. We wanted full bellies before we set out on our seven mile canoe venture. Just around the corner from our campsite was Taylor’s Falls Canoe and Kayak Rental. Our $50 rental included the canoe, life jackets, paddles and a shuttle pick up from Osceola back to the campground.
    • The water was claim and the paddle effortless (at least for our son, Bridger). About 3 hours later, we met our pick-up van and were back at the campground. Time for ice cream!
Every successful canoe trip needs to be celebrated with ice cream.
  • Day 3
    • Time to tear down, pack up and head home to plan our next adventure
Posted in Travel Adventures

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park
july 2018

RV There Yet?

Last summer, we loaded up a 28 foot Class C RV we rented and drove about 3,000 miles west to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks for an 8 night trip in two of American’s most beautiful National Parks. We put on a lot of miles and equally as many smiles as we traversed landscapes and geology millions of years in the making. For this trip, I consulted with friends who had been to the parks before, poured over the park websites and used a guidebook. We made the journey in late July (a very busy time year) so we knew there would be no sleeping in as we tried to beat the hoards of guests as well as the heat at very popular attractions.

Itinerary

  • Day 1-Load up and move out
    • We picked up the rented RV at 2:00pm (the earliest available time) and brought it home to be loaded with clothes and gear. Then it was off to Walmart where we picked up the online grocery order we’d placed the day before. Then we hit the highway.
    • Our first day consisted on loading and packing and about 6 hours of driving to Abraham Lincoln State Park in west central North Dakota. Here we spent the night and were wheels up early the next morning. Wyoming or bust!
  • Day 2-Drive to Yellowstone National Park
    • We spent the entire day on the road.
    • We had planned to cover 630 miles in about 10 hours, but we made a couple stops for lunch in the RV and walked around the town of Bridger, MT. I mean, we have a son named Bridger, so we were obligated right? This meant we didn’t get to Yellowstone and checked into our campsite until about 8:00pm.
    • Bay Bridge Campground (3 nights)
      • We chose Bay Bridge because it is inside the park, could accommodate an RV our size and we could reserve in advance.
      • Camp site are close together here but the location can’t be beat. Since we were in the RV and gone most of the days, we didn’t mind.
  • Day 3-Yellowstone National Park
    • Old Faithful and Geyser Hill
    • We arrived around 7:20am. There were very few people and parking was a breeze. Old Faithful erupts about every 90 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get there early!
    • After the eruption we explored Old Faithful Lodge and walked the 1.3 mile Geyser Hill loop to see other geysers including Castle and Grand Geyser.
    • Lunch: we made sandwiches in the RV at a pull out near Midway Geyser Basin.
  • Noon-while everyone was headed to the park restaurants for lunch, we snagged a parking spot at Grand Prismatic Spring.
  • Grand Prismatic Spring was spectacular and photos can’t capture it’s beauty.
  • Fountain Paint Pots-boys were delighted by the sulphur smell
  • Mammoth Hot Springs
    • Highlight: an elk had parked himself on the lower terrace of Mammoth
  • Dinner: we made tacos in the RV at the parking lot at Calcite Springs Overlook.
  • Back to Bay Bridge Campground for campfire and bedtime.
    • Pro tip: We brought a bean bag game, scooters and helmets and soccer balls so the boys could burn energy at the campground while we made supper or took care of other needs.
  • Day 4-Yellowstone
    • We started early again today at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We walked to Artist’s Point on the South Rim.
    • We had wanted to hike Uncle Tom’s Trail, but it was under construction so we improvised. We drove to the North Rim to hike Red Rock Point.
    • Then on to Canyon Village where the boys shopped for souvenirs.
    • Then to Mud Volcano to see Dragon’s Breathe and then Sulphur Cauldron.
    • Lunch: picnic area on the way to the Lamar Valley
    • Drive Lamar Valley
      • Trip highlight: before going back to campground we stopped near Pebble Creek where the boys splashed in the icy, rocky river.
  • Day 5-Grand Teton National Park
    • We pulled out of our Yellowstone campsite around 5:30am for the 1.5 hour drive to Grand Teton National Park.
      • Don’t tell anyone but we let the boys sleep while we drove and just enjoyed the sunrise and coffee together.
    • We wanted to get a camp spot of Signal Mountain Campground (2 nights) which is a first-come, first-serve site. We had to circle the campground a couple times, but scored a spot around 7:30am.
  • Once settled in our spot, we got ready for the day and headed to Colter Bay for a short hike. This picture was taken about 10 minutes before we encountered a mama bear and her two cubs. No photos of that thrilling experience.
  • Lunch: On our way into Jackson, WY we stopped at a pullout overlooking Mt. Moran to make a quick lunch in the RV before we went to Jackson Village to ride the Aerial Tram to Rendezvous Peak; elevation 10,540 feet. We didn’t do it, but the waffles at Corbet’s Cabin at the top look good. Boys wanted a cookie instead.
  • Dinner: Jackson at Caldera Pizzeria. A nice break from cooking in the RV every night.
  • Ended the evening at the nightly old west show on Jackson Square.
  • Day-6
    • We were up early again today to get to the Taggert Lake trailhead. The views were amazing!
    • Our boys are young, just 5 and 8 years old so we need to choose hikes that are easy enough and not too long. Taggert checked all the boxes. They wore their National Park Ranger vests with the batches they’ve located from the various parks we’ve visited.
      • Pro tip: let the littles lead and go at their pace. Find them a hiking stick from a fallen branch. Our youngest will often pretend there are dragons on the trail and he will run ahead and slay them for us.

Of all the paths you take in life, I hope a few of them are dirt.

John Muir
  • After our hike we drove Lake Jenny Scenic Drive, Antelope Flats, Signal Mountain, Schwabcher’s Landing and Mormon Row.
  • Dinner: we grilled burgers and hotdogs at Oxbow Bend and watched the sunset over Willow Flats.
  • Day 7-Devils Tower National Monument
    • We hit the road about 5:30am for the 8 hour drive across the state of Wyoming to Devils Tower National Monument. We arrived at the park around 3pm.
    • Walk Tower Trail around the monument. Let kiddos climb rocks and count prayer cloths tied to trees near the monument.
  • Day 8 and Day 9
    • We drove the rest of the way home to Minnesota on day 8 and unloaded and cleaned the RV. It needed to be fully cleaned and ready to be returned to the RV rental company by 10am on day 9.

Tips and Tricks

  • RV travel is great. Kiddos were able to play games and do activities. We didn’t need to stop at restaurants for lunch or snacks. I made lunch while we were moving. Same with bathroom stops, there’s no need with an RV.
  • Pro tip: There is very limited cell/data service in the national parks. Bring an atlas or map.
  • Camp at Devils Tower National Monument-if possible. It’s an awesome campground with a spectacular view and amazing ranger led night program.

Posted in Travel Adventures

Athens/Santorini/Mykonos

On the balcony of our tiny apartment in Oia, Santorini
June 2018

White washed, blue- domed buildings dangling above the Aegean Sea; twisty, narrow streets with bougainvillea clinging from buildings and ancient ruins keeping watch over the city; Athens and the Cyclades are all these things and more.

We logged time in both Athens and the islands of Santorini and Mykonos into nine days of bustling and busy as well as laid back and sun soaked. Here’s how we did it.

For all our travels, I make extensive itineraries with confirmation numbers, addresses/phone numbers and details referencing page numbers in the guidebooks I have poured over for months leading up to the trip. I find the itinerary making and planning part of the trip really exciting! For this trip and really all our trips to Europe we have relied heavily on Rick Steve’s Guidebooks. Purchase one, you will not be sorry.

Itinerary

  • Day 1-Departure
    • 10:45am flight to Athens with a layover in Toronto via Air Canada
    • Arrive in Athens on Day 2 about 9:30am
      • Purchase $8pp metro ticket. Take Blue line Metro to Monastiraki stop. Make sure to validate ticket before entering Metro.
  • Day 2- Ancient Athens
    • 2 nights at Tempi Hotel-Aiolou 6 near Agia Irini Square
    • Lunch: Souvlaki Row; Thanasis-page 174
    • Agora-commercial, political and social center of ancient Athens
Temple of Hephaistos; great views of Acropolis Hill from here
  • Acropolis Hill
    • $20 euro pp-entry to Agora, Roman, Forum, Parthenon, Temple of Zeus-valid for 4 days; see page 92
  • Acropolis Loop-page 48
    • Dionvsiou Areopagitou and Apostolou Pavlou
  • Dinner-at Arcadia (full disclosure: we went back to the hotel for a 2 hour nap before dinner).
    • Scott had the Mousaka-sort of like Greek lasagna and I had lamb chops. We also tried a small glass of ouzo. Ouzo is a traditional Greek drink with a black licorice flavor. We thought is was terrible, but I guess we can say we tried it.
  • Day 3- Modern Athens
    • Breakfast-pancakes with fruit and honey at Melilotos; steps from Tempi Hotel
    • Athens City Walk-page 68
      • Syntagma Square, Parliament Building, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Evzone Guards and Ermou Street
  • Greek Orthodox Athens
  • Old Town Athens
    • Arch of Hadrian and Temple of Zeus
  • Acropolis Museum-plan at least 2 hours here
    • $5 euros per person
  • Another full disclosure-we stopped at a street side vendor for a koulouri ring and a couple beers which we ate in a square near our hotel. Then we took another 2 hour nap.
  • Dinner-33 Adrianou
    • This time I had the Mousaka and Scott had orange chicken
  • Day 4-Santorini
    • 7:15am flight to Oia, Santorini
      • Thea Studios (2 nights)
    • Take bus from Oia to Fira-purchase ticket on the bus
    • Walk trail along Caldera back to Oia-11 km
      • Took us about 3 hours to walk with many stops for pictures like the ones below.
  • Back in Oia-walk to Ammoudi Bay
    • We rested a bit after the Caldera Walk before venturing down 250 steps to Ammoudi Bay.
    • We were rewarded with tasty drinks and some of the best seafood, including grilled octopus and shrimp saganaki at Fish Taverna.
  • Dinner-our later day Ammoudi Bay meal meant we weren’t really hungry for a big dinner so we bought a bottle of wine, cheese and crackers and just enjoyed the sunset and balcony at Thea Studios.
Our wheels for a full day of exploring Santorini
  • Day 5 – Santorini
    • Rent a “buggy” in Oia
      • First stop; Fira where we got a iced coffee and some breakfast before we explored the city and then walked down to the Old Port (alongside several dozen donkeys).
      • At the Old Port we grabbed a drink and a snack and then rode the cable car back to the top.
  • Continue “buggy” tour to Akotiri, the red sand beach. Dip a toe in the Aegean.
  • Next stop; Perissa and the black sand beach then back to Oia.
  • Dinner: King Neptune. Markos (from Thea Studios) had reserved a table with a sunset view for us here. We ordered the lobster spaghetti for two.
  • Ended the night with gelato at Lolita’s.
  • Day 6-Mykonos
    • Markos (from Thea Studios) arranged a ride for us to the port in Fira where we boarded a ferry to Mykonos. We arrived plenty early so we had omelettes at one of the cafes near the ferry dock. We had purchased our ferry tickets the day before in Fira when we were on our buggy tour.
    • After a 3 hour ferry ride we arrived in Mykonos town and snaked the windy streets to find the Carbonaki Hotel.
      • Carbonaki Hotel-Panachrantou 23 (2 nights)
    • Explore Old Town and windmills
      • We had appetizers and drinks at Sunset Cafe and then got a to-go drink to belly up to the sea wall to watch the sunset.
  • After sunset with took a nap and prepared for Mykonos nightlife. We joined the electric crowd at Scandanavian Bar for watered-down, over-priced drinks and thumpin’ music.
  • Day 7-Mykonos
    • Sleep in
    • Throw on a swimsuit and head to Paradise Beach.
    • Sit under a beach umbrella and waste the day away sipping drinks and taking dips into the sea.
      • We spent about 8 hours at the beach. The Tropicana Club started pumpin’ music and brought out the dancers about 4pm.
    • Dinner: Eva’s Garden
      • I had the mushroom chicken fillet and Scott the Greek meatballs. Best meal in Mykonos.
  • Day 8-Back to Athens
    • Take high speed Blue Star Ferry back to Athens (5 hour trip).
    • This time we stayed closer to Syntagma Square; Hotel Acropolis (1 night)
    • Last dinner in Greece: Old Ithaki. I had the beef skewers and Scott had lamb kleftiko (a dish of vegetables and lamb cooked in parchment paper over a pit fire). We also had one last cheese saganaki.
  • Day 9-travel back to Minnesota

Tips and Tricks

  • The Tempi Hotel in Athens is in a GREAT location, but lacks amenities. Like as in single beds lacks amenities and the bathroom was more like a closet. Price was right.
  • Don’t wear shorts in the churches. A little, old Greek lady chased me right out of there!
  • If I had a due over, I’d go to the Acropolis Museum BEFORE Acropolis Hill. We didn’t do that because rain was in the forecast and we saved the museum for a wetter day.
  • Our early flight to Oia meant we needed to be to the airport at about 5:30am. We walked from Monastiraki to Syntagma Square at 4am to catch a bus to the airport and surprisingly, I felt really safe.
  • Thea Studios was incredible! The balcony, the sunsets, the service are all so great. Markos arranged for pick up at the airport and transport to Fira for ferry to Mykonos.
  • If you eat the shrimp saganaki and you should, be sure to ask for it without the heads. Our waiter was kind enough to ask if we were Americans and clarified how we wanted the shrimp prepared.
  • Be prepared to wait for buses in Mykonos. You may need to be more aggressive than normal or you’ll find yourself waiting for several buses before your able to board. Frustrating.

Posted in Adventures at home

Back to School Party

Kicking off another great school year.

Before the start of the school year, I try to get the boys excited about the upcoming year and all the possibilities. Part of building that excitement includes throwing a back-to-school party. The party is typically a few days before school starts, so as to not make the night before the first day of school even more stressful. We make personal pizzas and have cupcakes around our festive dining table.

The party has become an annual tradition that the boys ask about and want to help set up. Here’s a list of the party decorations and supplies:

Dining Table

  • 12×12 cork scrapbooking paper
  • 5×7 black mini clipboards
  • Red disposable dinner plates
  • 1 set of math flashcards
  • 3 dozen pencils
  • Ceramic pencil jars and red ceramic apple (purchased on Target)
  • Table runner-canvas drop cloth cut to length; use black Sharpie and ruler to measure and draw length increments as well as stencil in numbers

Feature Wall

School Rules
  • Flashcards on a string
    • use flashcards from same deck as dining table and mini clothes pin to attach to colored twine. Colored twine and mini clothes pins can be found at craft stores.
  • Pencil Wreath
    • use black square paper plate and a chalkboard marker to write on center of wreath
    • cut 2 wooden rulers into four pieces and hot glue to sides of plate
    • stagger and hot glue pencils to backside of wreath (about 16 pencils)
    • use piece of colored ribbon to make hanger

Island

  • Pencil banner was another Target find, but you could easily find a pencil image and make your own banner
  • Stack composition notebooks and top with mini chalkboard easel (found at Michaels)
  • Make your families favorite flavor of cupcakes in a fun wrapper and top with cupcake toppers like these

I also like to start the school year by giving each of the boys a new book; you can find similar cute tags here. I’m not sure who enjoys this annual tradition more, me or the kids.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted in Travel Adventures

Belgium and the Netherlands

July 2019

Chocolate, waffles, fries and beer are what first came to mind when I heard that a career professional development opportunity would be taking me to Hassalt, Belgium this summer. A quick glance at the globe led to tacking on a few side trips to Amsterdam, Bruges and Brussels.

For all our travels, I make extensive itineraries with confirmation numbers, addresses/phone numbers and details referencing page numbers in the guidebooks I have poured over for months leading up to the trip. I find the itinerary making and planning part of the trip really exciting! For this trip and really all our trips to Europe we have relied heavily on Rick Steve’s Guidebooks. Purchase one, you will not be sorry.

Itinerary

  • Day 1-Departure
    • 7:00PM flight with layover in Dublin via Aer Lingus
    • Arrive on Day 2 at about 1:00pm local time in Amsterdam
      • Purchase Metro ticket at baggage claim $5.30 euros pp for Centraal Station.
      • From Centraal Station go outside to find Tram #13 or #17 to Westermarkt.
      • Find how to ride tram on page 45 and tram map on page 48.
  • Day 2-Amsterdam
    • 2 nights Hotel Mr. Jordaan-Bloemgracht 102
    • Drop bags and refresh before enjoying Dutch pancakes at Pancake Bakery-page 223
    • Do Amsterdam City Walk Tour-see page 95
      • Centraal Station to Flower Market with detour at Dam Square to see Red Light District
      • Approximately 3 hours
    • Dinner: Cafe van Zuylen-atop a canal bridge with good food and even better views
  • Day 3-Amsterdam
    • Breakfast
    • 9:15am Ann Frank House Tour-tickets are pre-paid and in email
    • Lunch-Brown Cafe; Cafe Hoppe-page 233
    • Canal Boat Tour-page 53
    • 4:00pm Van Gogh Museum-page 173 (1 hour)
      • tickets are pre-paid and in email
    • Drink and slice of pie at Winkel-page 222
  • Day 4- Bruges
    • Train to Bruges, Belgium-1 connection in Brussels Midi
      • 9:15am departure train #9328
      • 12:30pm arrive in Bruges
      • 2 nights at Hotel Bla Bla-Dweerstraat 24
      • Food: Chez Vincent Fries-Best in Bruges
      • Afternoon: Bruges City Walk-page 41
        • Markt Square, Bell Tower, Burg Square, Basilica of the Holy Blood, City Hall, Postcard Canal and Bridge View, Church of Our Lady, Chocolate Row, St. John’s Hospital
      • Dinner: De Hobbit Beer Hall
  • Day 5-Bruges
    • Rent Bikes and ride canal to Damme-Markt to Moat Path-page 27
      • 4 miles each direction; bike rental information page 17
      • Lunch ??-we didn’t have anything planned in advance but found a panini place in Damme.
      • 4:00pm-De Halve Maan Brewery Tour-first crowd source funded beer pipeline; cool!
      • Dinner: Bistro in den Wittenkop
      • Beer Hall: Cambrinus
  • Day 6-Brussels
    • 9:00am Train to Brussels; arrive at 10:09am
    • 1 night at Hotel La Legende-Rue du Lombard 35
    • Do Grand Place Walk-page 150
      • Town Hall to Mannekin Pis
      • Choco Crawl; Mary, Neuhaus, Galler, Leonidas-page 154
    • Mer de Nordzee-try the scampi a la plancha
    • Cremerie de Linkebeek for cheese snack/picnic
    • Waffle Factory
    • Must eats; mussels in Brussels, Belgian style fries and beers as well as waffles and chocolate.
  • Day 7-Departure
    • 10:20am flight with layover in Dublin via AerLingus
    • Arrive home approximately 4:20pm local time

The above is what was planned, but what really happened is slightly different. Here’s a cheat sheet of a few tips for things that really worked for us as well as a few things that left us frustrated:

Tips and Tricks

  • The Jordaan Neighorhood is delightful and so was our hotel. Great location with easy access to trams. Picture perfect canals and dreamy strolls in the early evening. I took pictures of people’s personal property i.e. bikes/flowers/front step like it was a tourist attraction.
  • Dutch pancakes are delicious-EAT THEM.
  • Check out the Red Light District around 4pm/5pm when you can get the gist of the neighborhood without the “pressure.”
  • Amsterdam likes to sleep in. Most places don’t open until 9:00am.
  • Ann Frank House is a must. Read the book before you go. I actually teared up while doing the audio tour. I had just finished reading the book and it felt like I was visiting the memorial of a friend. Very moving.
    • Reserving tickets in advance is a must. You can make a reservation as early as 2 months in advance. Reservations WILL sell out.
  • Same for the Van Gogh Museum. Reserve in advance.
  • We did a Canal Boat tour on a smaller 10 passenger boat and it was amazing. Bring sunscreen. Our tour guide was very informative and funny.
  • We made plans to eat at a couple of specific restaurants, but ended up making a meal out of frites, pie and ice cream and street food on our last night in Amsterdam. The best frites are at Vleminckx. Though the Dutch like piles of mayo on their frites, we are “hold the sauce” sort of people.
  • Use your phone for walking directions from place to place and even what train platform to stand on.
  • We made a train reservation to Bruges and were glad we did, the train was full. We paid more, but were pleased we did.
  • Hotel Bla Bla was great. Stay there.
  • Bruges has the best frites and waffles. Chez Vincent and Chez Albert. We ate there ….daily.
  • De Halve Mann Brewery Tour was interesting. Make a reservation in advance.
  • RENT BIKES. I mean , see pictures above. So. Much. Fun. We chose to do this in Bruges, because the Amsterdam bike scene is intense. Bruges was easy an we didn’t have to worry about traffic and pedestrians as much.
  • Word to the wise: Bistro in den Wittenkop is closed Saturdays. We found this out the hard way. We ended up at Bistro Brugis. The croquettes did not disappoint.
  • Go to Ghent. We had not planned to, but when a train conductor and a Brown Cafe bartender said we should, we went. I guess Ghent was meant to be.
  • Mary is the official chocolatier of the Belgian Royal Family. We got excellent service from a staff member there who explained all the chocolates. We purchased about a dozen bite sized pieces to sample.

There’s not a country that I’ve visited that I haven’t fallen in love with, whether it was for 10 minutes or 10 years.

Vagabondish.com