Wow. We are drained. This past week was a long one. A good one nevertheless, but sure long. We hit 4 different countries in this past trip! So here we go...
Paris is only 2 hours and 20 minutes by train from London. We thought that was cool. Belgium is only 1 hour and 45 minutes by train. Cooler!
We took the Eurostar to Brussels, Belgium in the evening where we stayed only one night. This ended up being a good thing because Tim and I both agree that Brussels is probably the worst city we have ever been to. It was a good thing we have been warned ahead of time and we were told to only see the main plaza and that was it. So we did just that. We saw the plaza, found dinner near the plaza, and went straight to our hotel for sleep after that. We didn't get a picture of the very ornate plaza, it was actually really neat to see, because pregnant lady was crazy hungry and crazy tired and in no mood for taking pictures. Sorry.
Oh wait, I almost forgot, dinner did make me feel a little better afterwards so I did manage to pull the strength to appease Tim to find the Manneken Pis (a famous small statue of a boy holding his wee-wee and peeing) and indulge in Belgium waffles.
Who knew that a little penis and waffles encompasses a traditional Belgium experience!
The next morning we picked up our rental car and drove straight to Luxembourg. (Don't worry, we will be visiting Belgium again near the end of our week trip.)
We headed straight for the city centre to take a look around. We were surprised how incredibly clean and affluent looking the centre was. Everything, per usual, was closed as it was a bank holiday but it was still calming to walk around and get a feel of the city. These were some random statues right outside of the car park that the girls could not get enough of.
This is the Cercle Municipal at the Place d'Armes where we later sat on the steps and enjoyed our ice cream.
Another thing the girls cannot get enough of is splashing in big puddles. Wellies should be a staple in every child's childhood. We spent a good amount of time letting the girls splash around the Gelle Fra monument...
We ended up venturing down many steps into the highly wooded park just to take a peek a around.
After getting some wiggles out we ventured around some and found ourselves in a very posh area. You will not believe how many fancy cars were zooming around. I couldn't even recognize some of them they were so out of my league. But fancy and fast looking nevertheless. This also happened to be where a lot of the governmental offices and buildings were located.
Grand Ducal Palace
One of our top places to get gelato so far in Europe happened to be right here in Luxembourg. Tim and I are in major agreement that is was gOOd. The best.
(And Tim captured what you will usually see me doing on trips. Always behind the camera.)
Besides obviously checking off one more country from our list, we went to Luxembourg mainly to see the World War II sites, specifically the Battle of the Bulge sites, as Tim's grandfather fought and was wounded in that battle. The next day we visited the Luxembourg American Cemetery.
Immediately upon walking through the gates I started to cry. I could not stop crying. All American cemeteries are just stunningly beautiful and rightly majestic. The grounds are well-kept and well groomed, and reverence and stillness demands attention right at the gate. This memorial is the first thing to greet you upon entering and it is just so pretty.
After walking around the front area a bit Tim and I took turns walking into the chapel room set right in the middle. It was a very solemn moment to reflect upon what this American Cemetery actually means to us individually. I feel as though I have made an interesting full circle at that point. We started our European adventures in Normandy last year, visited Auschwitz a few weeks back, and now at the Battle of the Bulge sites which ultimately led to the freedom of all of Europe. Words could not experience my increased deepest gratitude after all these special and spiritual learning experiences from those who fought and suffered in World War II.
Right next to our car park was the Porta Nigra. Here Tim hoisted the girls up there for a quick picture.
We walked through the little town which was cute and not much different than other little cities we have visited in Europe. We saw the Cathedral of Saint Peter which is a World Heritage Site. It is the oldest Cathedral in the country.
Now it was time to make our way back to Brugge, Belgium and do some sightseeing there. But Tim wanted to make one more stop along the way to see the memorial that the local people made to honor the Americans that helped free them in WWII. It was not as stunning by any means as the American made memorials but it was still nice to take a break from driving and enjoy the appreciation from the locals.
(I'll be posting in a few days Part II of our trip!)