The next leg of the trip was into Belgium via the Netherlands. Again, it was a beautiful drive out of Germany. We stopped at Cologne Cathedral. This was one of my favorite stops in Germany from when I was a kid. It was a much needed stop to break up the drive. We had also planned on stopping in Bonn, but a quick drive through was enough--Bonn was not our most favorite place.
Lucky Dragon took up his usual post of chasing pigeons. That is something he has not changed since he was a little guy! Koala Bear loved the freedom to sit and walk where she wanted. The cathedral is dramatic and beautiful. I think what impressed me this time is that we saw photos of it after the war and it was nothing. Thankfully it was rebuilt to showcase the beauty.
As we were leaving Cologne, we stopped at a toy store and bought a magnet. Lucky Dragon wanted a small toy and I told him no. As we were leaving the shop owner (from Afghanistan) went and grabbed the toy and with a kiss on the cheek for both Lucky Dragon and Koala Bear, he gave them both a toy. What a kind man. We learned from years of living in Turkey that it was be an insult to refuse, so we thanked him so he knew our gratitude. I love kind people.
We then went to Venlo, Netherlands. That was a fun stop too. We passed some amazing Flemish row houses and then some dramatic mansions. It is a fantastic city. We stopped at the Zentrum (city center) and shopped. The feel of the town reminded us of Verona, Italy. We liked that it is not a tourist town per-se so we could really see what life is like there as a local.
Next up was Bruge, Belgium. Bruge is easily one of our favorite places in Europe. We found it by accident a few years ago and made it back. The Flemish buildings, the cobblestone streets, the ancient cathedrals, the waffle and chocolate scents wafting through the air...it is perfect.
We ate waffles and we tasted chocolate. All of which was amazing. My waffle was caramel, Lucky Dragon wanted just strawberries and Lady Hiva had chocolate. We stopped in as many chocolate shops as we could find. Lucky Dragon selected a saw blade for his chocolate. They had a collection of tools that you could buy and that was his favorite was the wrench and the saw blade. He settled on the saw blade. It was so realistic looking that he started to eat it on the sidewalk and a woman passing exclaimed in horror that we were allowing him to chew on a saw blade!
We toured lace shops and Lady Hiva found more window lace exactly like the ones she already has in at our house--what are the chances--and they were discounted because they were the "old styles" haha! Win for us!
|These two love to hug|
We made it onto a boat tour of the city and that was an amazing choice. We saw the many eras of the city as it was being built from Medieval to modern. We learned that Bruge is the home to over 300 statutes of Mary and Jesus. We also saw a modern art piece...a giant whale made out of rubbish found in Hawaii on the beach as a protest to ocean pollution. It was out of place, but I suppose that what the artist wanted to prove a point--that rubbish does not belong and destroys the beauty. It was funny that an American artist from New York built the piece from rubbish in Hawaii and it is display in Bruge, Belgium!
|Her new game was to put up a hand as I was taking photos...blah. She would cackle with glee when she would do it|
It ended another wonderful day! Next up--Paris!~