Sunday, September 9, 2007

Breakfast in France, lunch in Belgium, and dinner in Holland.

Here comes the next installment on my trip; it's taking me longer to write about it than the time we actually spent on vacation, and at this rate I won't finish until it's time for our next holiday.
We left Douai after having breakfast at our hotel (one of those great all-you-can eat buffets with lots of buttery croissants), and drove to Bruges (Belgium), which we thought was a great place for lunch and a boat tour of the canals. We found lots of old lace (no arsenic though), the Holy Blood, and a nice place to eat that wasn't a McDonald's. After lunch, we went on one of those touristic boat rides on the canals and saw the house where Nun's Story was filmed (one of the few Audrey Hepburn movies I haven't seen). It was lucky for me that I understand Dutch, because we couldn't tell if the guide was speaking in Dutch or in English. Well, okay, it was Flemish, which is as similar to Dutch as British English is to American English, so this is like saying the British and the Americans speak two different languages (well, I guess some people do say this). Anyway, I had to translate for Jesús, who got a big laugh out of the man's incredibly rolled Rs (he would make any English speaking student of Spanish drool with envy, it took me years to master rolling my Rs). I can only guess at how much the poor Japanese family that accompanied us understood.
Market square:

The Holy Blood is in here. Wait a minute, isn't that...The Holy Grail! Looks like the Da Vinci Code was a little off, wasn't it?

Hey, that looks like fun!

Here we are with the amazing rolling R guide.

Now I really need a cup of coffee, and I'm not leaving Belgium until I get one.

Okay, had my caffeine fix, now we can leave.

After walking around a bit longer, we hopped back into the car, destination Nieuw Roden, which is way at the top of Holland (and still a few hundred kilometers away). We got lots of traffic (it seemed like all the truck drivers in Europe had gotten together and decided to all cross the E.U. at once) and were completely fed up by the time we stopped to have dinner somewhere near Utrecht at...McDonald's (where else?). We have seen more McDonald's on this trip than during the last two years, and we hope not to see another in a very, very long time, but with kids that'll surely be within the next month. After that we did the last bit up to the north, our butt cheeks were completely numb in the end, and we got lost just near my mom's house -the area she lives in is like a maze. Carmen and Rocío, who have spent the last two summers with my mom, kept saying,"We know how to get there. I think it's that way. No, look, there's the grocery store, now we have to go that way." And we got more and more lost. We passed the same house several times before deciding to call and ask her for directions. My phone didn't work. It worked fine in France and Belgium, but Holland was like the big black hole of phone coverage(not to be confused with the black holes found in sofas and armchairs). Luckily Jesús' phone did work, we found out we were two streets away, and we made it.
Now that we've made it (We did make it, didn't we? You are still here, right?), I'm off to have dinner and you're off to Central Snark (no, I won't take no for an answer). Now scoot!


  1. Great pictures, but did you have to mention those croissants again????

  2. i am the world's biggest nerd (don't tell anyone). i've been here off and on several times today, read through this wonderful post -- admired the hell out of your pictures (damn, girl, you don't look much older than your beautiful daughters) and have yet to leave a comment!

    i find myself alternating between feelings of "wow" and "phooey". "wow" because it looks like you all had such a bloody grand time, and "phooey" because... it looks like you all had such a bloody grand time!

    i lovelovelove these posts -- you do a terrific job of helping us get a "sense" of your journey. thank you for sharing, can't wait for the next installment! (you'll do another, eventually, right??) : )

  3. I love how you can travel through 3 completely different countries in a day. I could have breakfast, lunch and dinner in California, on the way to the San Diego Zoo. :)

  4. Oh how I am enjoying being taken along on the trip! Beautiful sights and fabulous adventures... aside from the numb butts. I am not a fan of a numb butt. During my pregnancies, everytime I slouched and sat at an angle my butt would get painfully numb... so much so that at times I didn't even want to risk getting up... oy, what a silly tangent out of a lovely post... 'tis the way of bohemians I'm afraid!

    So I shall echo my dearest Neva's sentiment up above in asking for MÁS!

  5. yes, belgium. I made it there once. A class trip. I remember buying Take That's official newspaper. be 14 again.

    It osunds liek you guys has a lovely time, despite too much traffic, caffeine shortage and geography :)

  6. We're so alike! I had breakfast standing over the kitchen sink, lunch hunched over at my computer and dinner on the couch in front of the TV! It's great to travel, isn't it?

  7. You stopped at McDonalds? Did you have a Royale w/ Cheese?

  8. Wonderful photos! You and your family are so beautiful Theresa!

  9. Wow! Look at Dan's comment. "Beautiful Family, etc." I was just gonna say that I loved your entry in the most recent caption contest over at Diesel's. That Dan. Always making me look bad.

  10. That looked like so much fun and what a great experience!

    You have a very beautiful family.

  11. Theresa.....Yup! Still here and enjoying every minute of your trip. (especially your excellent pictures) Looking forward to the drive home. The architecture of Belgium looks thrilling. You went through Utrecht! My "little guy" works there often.....Judy

  12. rjlight: Mmmm, great big buttery croissants...

    Neva: You flatter me (blushing). You asked for it, that comment will bring on lots more vacation pictures in my future posts. We definitely did have a bloody grand time!

    Diesel: The distance we traveled is less than going from Northern California to Southern California. The difference is you go from French to Flemish to Dutch along the way, which makes ordering food, um, interesting, to say the least. :)

    Miz bohemia: Yep, a numb butt is not a pretty thing. And since you asked for it, you shall have más, mucho más. :)

    Minka: Looks like you had fun when you were 14, Lyon then Belgium... Caffeine shortage is a serious problem, isn't it? Actually the coffee was pretty bad on the road, but at this place it was lovely.

    Frogster: What variety! Nothing like eating in different places, eh?
    Glad you liked my caption, it wasn't my favorite one, but at least I got picked, so I guess I can't complain.

    Minijon: No, actually, I had chicken nuggets; after the mad cow thing I mostly stay away from hamburgers. But now that we have chicken flu, it's hard to know what to choose. I think I'll end up eating just salads at this rate. ;)

    Dan: Thanks, you always have something nice to say. :)

    Pavel: It was a great experience. We did this trip before, when the kids were 5,3, and 1, so they didn't remember much of it. This time they'll have some great memories.

    j.d.: Glad you're still here. Let's see if I get some time to finish blogging about this trip. We didn't actually go through Utrecht, just near it, but I have been there before. It's quite a nice city.

  13. Theresa, I know I've zoomed by just to connect and see what you're up to, but apprently didn't comment.

    I love your pics and your holiday sounds dreamy. You and your girls are such a sweet group. You're quite the linguist, no? I'm such a gringa, I can't roll my "r's" for anything! So frustrating. My husband speaks Spanish fluently and Tali seems to (thankfully) have picked up his flare for language. We'll see about Julian.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know I enjoyed your travelogue.