January 31, 2009

Europe in 30 Days - Visiting Namur Jan 2

When I travel I love to see and do as much as possible and Stijn is well aware of this "Need to Explore" bone I have in my body. So he has planned out the next few days to satisfy my desire to see and do as much as possible. First on the list is Namur, about 35 miles southeast of Brussels and is situated on the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre rivers.

We spend the day walking through the cobblestone streets and I am just awed by the architecture and I can't seem to take enough pictures. I smell a Belgium waffle in the air and I must have one! Belgium is such a great country. I mean where else can you go and walk up to a little vendor on the street and just buy a hot waffle? We continue to just wander around peeking in windows filled with pastries, meats, cheeses, and prepared dishes that I have just never seen before and of course must take pictures.
We decide it's time to have something warm to drink and we find a little place called A Table! that looks like the perfect place to do just that. I had a Grog, a nice hot drink with alcohol in it! A Table! sits on the banks of the Meuse River and offers dining with a view of the Citadelle.
As we continue walking we come upon a bridge and from there we have a magnificent view of the Citadelle. Now this is something we must see so we spend a couple of hours exploring following the cobblestone paths to the top. Well it's time for another hot toddy and as luck would have it, at the top was a little cafe called La Panorama. Here I have an Irish Coffee and Stijn has a beer. I'm not sure how he warms up with a cold beer, but it works for him. As the name might suggest, we had a great view over looking the city below while sitting there warming up and reflecting on our day.
If you would like to see pictures of our day in Namur you can visit Wheres Debbie and click on the "Namur" album.

January 30, 2009

Europe In 30 Days - Let The Eating Begin

After a wonderful night at the Christmas Market walking through the streets of Brussels and stopping at so many of those great little wooden chalets to sample so many different types of food and especially the Gluhwein, we took it easy the next couple of days.
But of course by Monday night (Dec 29th) we were ready to get out and do some more eating. After Stijn came home from work we headed out to do just that! We first stopped at Cafe Bison, a small sort of rustic little bar for a drink before dinner. For those of you who know me you know that I am always willing to try something different, so Stijn ordered me a Jenever This was served in a shot glass and I had two differant flavors. The first had a slight berry flavor and the other was chocolate. We then headed out to walk the streets and see what restaurant could entice us to come in and have dinner. La Bar A Tapas did just that. This was a great little intimate and friendly restaurant. We tried to choose which tapas we wanted from the extensive menu of both warm and cold tapas. It was tough but we finally settled on stuffed grape leaves, artichoke hearts, calamari, langoustines, andalucia chicken, mushrooms and mussels. And of course a great bottle of wine! We left there completely stuffed and very happy again with our unexpected pleasure.
New Years Eve 2009 was the most memorable New Years I have ever had and will certainly never forget. Stijn is a true romantic and knows just how to really make me happy. No we didn't get all gussied up and go out on the town and watch some fireworks after some over crowded and over priced meal at a restaurant. We prepared for our romantic night that day by going to the market and deciding what we would want to cook for dinner. WHAT? Your thinking has she lost her mind, COOK on New Years Eve? ROMANTIC? But it's how we "cooked" that made it so special.

Stijn had told me about grilling on a stone. When he described this to me I thought what a great idea and how much fun this would be. We went to the mall on Sunday (Dec 28th) and he had me pick one out that I liked. I had never seen anything like this and if you have here in the States, let me know because I would love to buy one. So that evening we enjoyed some wine while grilling some chicken, meat, shrimp, salmon, mushrooms and veggies. We then enjoyed a little competitive bowling on the Wii.
Our New Year started together by just holding each other and listening to the fire works.

Please visit Wheres Debbie and see our pictures of New Years by clicking on the album titled "New Years 2009"

January 20, 2009

Europe In 30 Days - Day 1

 My trip to Europe is a very special one. This time I am full of excitement for a different reason. I am going to be spending a month in Europe with the most amazing person I have ever met.....Stijn.

I land in Brussels on Dec 27th at 7:30am and Stijn is there to pick me up and we waste no time and hit the ground running.

I have always wanted to be in Europe during Christmas time to see the Christmas Markets. So tonight that is exactly what we do. We start out in the Grand Place to see the light show and the life size creche. From here we head out to explore some 240 wooden chalets that are dotted around the Bourse (Stock Exchange), Place Sainte Catherine and the Marche aux Poissons (fish market) and are filled with crafts, prepared foods, cheeses, meats, pastries, chocolates, drinks....Good God Man I am in Heaven! So now starts a night of endless sampling of traditional foods of the region and some must have Gluhwein! That is hot wine people!! Now you know I'm happy!! When I travel I love to eat and drink all the wonderful foods you just don't get back in the Good 'ol USA. I guess that explains why I am always hitting the gym extra hard when I get back home. We stumble upon a chalet serving up crepes made while you wait and I must have one, right? Of course.

And then Stijn walks us up to a chalet that dishes up a wonderful hot bowl of Tartiflette Savoyarde, a French potato type of soup/stew. Now we continue walking past all these wonderful displays of "Food" and I am ready for another Gluhwein!! Gotta stay warm somehow, right? We head over to the outdoor ice skating rink and a farris wheel where Stijn indulges me with yet another wonderful Belgian delicacy. Boudin Blanc. A sausage soaked in milk and grilled on a flat service with plenty of onions and served up in a crusty "bun" to small for the Boudin.

We end our evening stuffed full of wonderful food and warmed from the inside out with Gluhwein!

Want to see more pictures of our night at the Christmas Market? Just visit "Wheres Debbie" and click on the Christmas Market album.
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