Category Archives: VISITORS ITINERARY

Visitors Itinerary | Kent

Visitors Itinerary | Cantillon Brewery | Brussels, Belgium

Last week, J’s grand little, Kent, from college came to visit. (kinda adorable, right? the boys didn’t appreciate it, but don’t tell me that kinda adorable stuff if you don’t want me to cling to it. I mean, guys..in college..having little bros to look after. in sorority, totally normal. in fraternity..s’cute. okay, I’m done.) We lunched at Belga in the sunshine and toured the Cantillon Brewery. The inevitable frites were of the Jourdan variety and I created another Andalouse fan – s’not hard. 

Visitors Itinerary | Cantillon Brewery | Brussels, BelgiumVisitors Itinerary | Cantillon Brewery | Brussels, Belgium

He had hit all the must-dos in Brussels while we were at Werchter, so our work was easy – patio hop. We hopped downtown to St. Gery, stumbled upon Place St. Catherine, and finally made it to the Britxos Jazz Night that we’ve unsuccessfully planned for every Monday that we’ve lived here. 

Visitors Itinerary | St. Gery | Brussels, Belgium Visitors Itinerary | St. Gery | Brussels, BelgiumVisitors Itinerary | Place St. Catherine | Brussels, Belgium Visitors Itinerary | Place St. Catherine | Brussels, Belgium

It was worth the wait. I don’t know if I’ve eaten so well in my life since we’ve met Chef Alex (see, favorite). He surprised us with reserved seats in his perfectly and wholly instagrammable venue (that’s how I determine how much I love someone’s decor these days.) The table was filled with new and old friends that made the night a dreamy one. Acoustic guitar and jazz horn playing in the background, I think we tasted the entire kitchen in tapas. They also make a maniac of a mojito. I’m in love.

Visitors Itinerary | Britxos | Brussels, Belgium
Britxos Jazz Night Britxos Jazz NightVisitors Itinerary | Britxos | Brussels, Belgium

The next morning, J had to go to work, so before Kent left town I took him to the best bagel shop we’ve found in this city – Karsmakers. Seriously. If you’re only slightly a fan of bagels and coffee, this place is worth checking out in Place Lux. Although, after all that, neither of us got the bagels, but the coffee and patio were enough..

Visitors Itinerary | Karsmakers | Brussels, Belgium

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Visitors Itinerary | Jordan

Welcome Jordan. You might remember her sweet dance moves from here. She hails from Dallas, where the we all met post grad at work and bonded over crazy long hours and dreaming of retiring in Europe immediately (at least that’s how I remember it). She knew the work Annie and Justin who were total opposites and then the dating Annie and Justin who somehow, strangely worked despite polar responses to life and then the night I picked her up for Girl’s Night and she flipped out when we sat down at the table and saw my shiny ring finger, but I couldn’t exactly tell her in the car, so I was waiting for the right timing and that was a fun night. Anyway, it’s now my mission in life to make this a reality, because really, Europe looks good on these people down here…. 

Fete de la Musique | Brussels, Belgium

Because it wouldn’t be a true Jordan visit if we didn’t hear a little live music, we headed to Parc Royal to check out the Fête de la MusiqueAaaand it was just what we needed to go from this (left) to that (right). Asap:

Excited friends a la airport | Brussels, BelgiumContent friends a la Place Jourdan | Brussels, Belgium

Necessary.

Also necessary, we consumed a whole lotta Belgian beer, chocolate, and much-needed girl chat. It was better than Disney World.

There was a trip to Bruges, where we climbed the tiniest stairwell in all of the land. Smaller and taller and smaller and smaller. Finally. The top, where those bells ring all of a sudden no matter how close your ears are. They don’t care.

Belfry | Bruges, BelgiumBruges, BelgiumBruges, Belgium
Visitors Itinerary | Bruges, BelgiumMontgomeryFest | Bruges, BelgiumBruges, BelgiumIMG_1321

And then, we went all touristy in Brussels and plopped down in the middle of Grand Place with the messiest kind of waffles. The kind that you find in your hair at dinner later that evening.

There was a lot of walking and chatting and chatting and walking and maybe some slight getting lost (although I might have been the only one who knew it?) and a mildly inappropriate tourist attraction and a very, very inappropriate tourist attraction.

Grand Place | Brussels, Belgium Grand Place | Brussels, BelgiumGrand Place | Brussels, BelgiumBrussels, Belgium

So, here’s the deal. I’m totally in love with all of the fantastic ladies (and gents) we’ve come to know and call friends in this sassy area of the world, but, ya know, sometimes you just need some home cooking. I’m sorry, Jordan. I just compared you to cooking. But, it’s just soooo GOOD FOR THE SOUL. Laughing about shenanigans we got into back in Dallas (if she’d let me, I’d start uploading embarrassing photos because they make me happy, but I’m sorry. and also, you’re welcome.) and understanding the same cultural references and just sitting and enjoying good ol’ friend time. BUT, I’m getting carried away, I didn’t have to choose!  We threw together a fancy schmancy Girls’ Night! And, in general Girl’s Nights make me a happy one, but this one. This one was a special sort. Plus, my hubby crashed the party at the end, so it was the best kind of night. 

Place Luxembourg | Brussels, BelgiumBrussels, Belgium

And THEN, we finally made it to Chalet Robinson and found the best grilled chicken caesar salad in this country, probably. I mean, we had to travel via ferry to the island and were surrounded by freshly pressed business people and dogs, so the stakes were pretty high. But, worth it to meet this stud..

Chalet Robinson | Brussels, BelgiumChalet Robinson | Brussels, Belgium

And in case there’s any suspicion that I went mean girl up there, the guy gave us candy after our lunch. And if you must know anything about me, it’s that candy is the way to my heart (ahem, American candy). Which must mean that Jordan knows me pretty darn well, because that little chica flew to Spain and then to Belgium with at least two pounds of it in tow. These are the kind of people you want in your life.

Chatelain Market | Brussels, Belgium

Aren’t you happy we prettied this blog up with Jordan photos? Now, THAT was necessary.

Til the next overseas adventure, friend!

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Filed under // Day Trips, Belgium, VISITORS ITINERARY

Visitor’s Itinerary | Mama Jo & Nanan – Part 2

So now, where were we? Oh, yes. Mother’s Day.

day 6 :: Church and a Mother’s Day brunch. Mama Jo’s favorite cooing bundle of joy and her fam joined us for the most wonderful company. But what that attention-hogging baby (not jealous, see?) didn’t have was a trip to Paris up her sleeve! So, south we went to that pretty, pretty city. We got there with plenty of time to find a cafe for dinner and head to the Champ de Mars to see the Eiffel Tower.

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day 7 :: Good morning metro system! Breakfast cafe in Montmartre just before we rode the Funicular up to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. I didn’t get clapped at for taking pictures this time – is that a pro or a con? Holy tour! No, I mean, it felt like a holy tour with all of the cathedrals/basilicas on our adventure. So, next up: Notre Dame, where they had a choir practicing that we were able to enjoy. A quick run by the Palais Garnier opera house after stopping for a little bit of shiny at Galeries Lafayette and dinner at the nearby Café Gallery. But I think my favorite part of the day was when everyone went to sleep and my mom and I snuck down to the hotel lobby and girl chatted til the wee hours. That lady and her heart of gold – I can’t get enough of it.

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day 8 :: Versailles, France. I’m not sure how they felt about the crepes we kept ordering, but I have to tell you, this whole pancake/crepe naming business even confuses me. I would like for everyone to have a different name for their ‘pancake’ so that I could keep it straight. Please and thank you. J decided that the Palais de Versailles was a suitable home for us one day. But unlike Louis XIV, we wouldn’t put it in the ‘burbs.

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day 9 :: Back at home. Can a girl get a little relaxation around here? And I say that in the most satirically snoddy way possible because J was the one chauffeuring and cooking and Paris metro system figure outing and he had to go to work this day. Us spoiled gals took yet another day off and lounged around until it was time to celebrate the bébé’s one month birthday party with champagne and cake.

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In total we only watched our wedding video four times…that number would have been higher if my mom could have found time to fit in more. And, yes, she has a copy at home.

Where to next, Mama?!

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Filed under // Day Trips, France, VISITORS ITINERARY

Visitor’s Itinerary | Mama Jo & Nanan – Part 1

I feel like I’m heading back to school after Christmas break. And by back to school, I mean back to life, back to reality, which thankfully does not include those pesky classes/exams anymore. And by Christmas break, I mean leaving my routine to spend so much quality time with my mom that my happy heart could burst. That lady has the softest hands and I got to hold them (and J’s) for a full nine days. She and my great-aunt came over to Europe for the first time. It was fun showing them around and seeing how excited my mom got over our new area of the world, but I might have to say that if the phrase ‘it’s just so different’ is retired, I wouldn’t be mad at it.

We had back-to-back visitors for two weeks and I’m slowly getting back into the normal swing of things. J and I have been indulging in some much-needed us time and I’ve been trying to make the Jolly Ranchers they brought last as long as possible – mmmm American candy. So, let’s see if we can recap the flow of their trip, shall we?

day 1 :: After we scooped them from the airport and gave them a little bit to unwind, the girls took to the streets. I had an Etsy order that I needed to ship off, so we checked out the glamorous post office and strolled around Place Flagey. J got off of work and introduced them to Brussels traffic to see the Atomium.

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day 2 :: Royal Greenhouses of Laeken. Mama Jo and I were both disappointed that King Albert and Queen Paola weren’t lounging on their patio with toddies waving to their visitors. There was a (relatively) quick stop at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Koekelberg and a classic Belgian meal at La Bonne Humeur.

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day 3 :: Country numero deux. Clerveaux in Luxembourg to see a castle and how small the EU signs are – welcome to a new country, did you notice? We quickly realized that Nanan is the proudest American there ever was, so we passed through Bastogne, Belgium to see the Mardasson Memorial for the Battle of the Bulge. I’m fairly certain seeing ‘Louisiana’  was the highlight of her trip. Also worth noting, 50 cent restrooms. Their minds were blown.

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day 4 :: We drove to the opposite side of the country to visit Bruges by the northwestern coast. After we ‘ooo’ed and ‘ahh’ed over the Medieval city, J drove us home and cooked lasagna rolls with spinach & artichoke dip. Y’all. #Drool. The Croatians joined us and I immediately got bumped down to 1b on my mama’s favorite scale once she met their newborn. I’m going on the record to say that I’m not jealous…although, little one is just lucky I’m such a huge fan too..

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day 5 :: Day 5 and we’ve drug them all around the country, maybe we should check out our own city! So, to the center of Brussels we went – the royal palace, Grand Place and Musee Horta. It was our first time checking out Victor Horta’s home-turned-museum too. This guy had some flair. He designed a lot of the crazy cool buildings in Brussels. And he designed almost everything in his home and did not slack on the decadence. Then, Belgian frites from Jourdan (the verdict is still on out on our fave fritkot).

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If J has any question where my silly giddiness comes from, he doesn’t have to look far. Like mother, like daughter. Mama Jo brought her Mother of the Bride dress that she adorned last year for our big day over the pond and I took my dress out of preservation. Mais la! We had the best time dressin’ up and dancin’. 

Photo May 11, 9 46 39 PM Photo May 11, 9 46 43 PM  Photo May 11, 9 46 51 PM

And that’s just the half of it.

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Filed under // Day Trips, Belgium, Luxembourg, VISITORS ITINERARY

Visitors Itinerary | Mark

We had our first visitor to Brussels this past weekend. And ready or not, we became tour guides. Mark took a break from the Dallas heat to tour around Europe. Here’s a little synopsis of the weekend’s festivities..

First stop on the Tour de Belgium: Grand Place.
The Grand Place is decked out for Christmas. The controversial techno tree is in full ‘bloom.’ And the Christmas markets surround the smaller streets. We ordered moules frites and covered the tourist part of the visit. Then, ended the night in Place Flagey.


Hotel de Ville, Brussels, BelgiumGrand Place, Brussels, BelgiumChristmas Market in Brussels, Belgium
The next day: Military museum.
The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History occupies part of the Cinquantenaire. The aviation exhibition boasts one of the largest aircraft collections in the world. It’s located in the coolest wing…ba da ching!

The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, Brussels, BelgiumMama Roma…duh.
Mama Roma in Brussels, Belgium

Then, we road tripped over to Dinant, Belgium. Birthplace of the saxophone and home of the Leffe Abbey. Oh, and apparently an ostrich farm. Definitely on the list for a full weekend trip.

We took the tour of Maison Leffe, which was everything but the actual brewery. We left very impressed, mostly because of the interactive smell machines and Leffe glasses we received as gifts. Although the beer history and learning how to pour a perfect glass was probably the boys’ favorite, I loved the interior of the dining room. So chic for such an historical, quaint town!
Maison Leffe in Dinant, BelgiumMaison Leffe in Dinant, BelgiumMaison Leffe in Dinant, BelgiumMaison Leffe in Dinant, BelgiumOn sunday, we took off to the Parliamentarium. One of the coolest buildings of our lives.Parliamentarium in Brussels, BelgiumParliamentarium in Brussels, BelgiumCroatia at the Parliamentarium in Brussels, BelgiumParliamentarium in Brussels, BelgiumOur Croatian friends showed us that there is actually vin chaud in the world that we enjoy and spoiled us at their home. The weekend ended in Place Jourdan, sans frites…not kidding.

Not too shabby for being 3 month locals.

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December 19, 2012 · 15:51