Muscles in Brussels

On the second morning when I left our place in Brussels I went out looking for coffee for Bekkie and I. I didn’t get to far before being solicited by a prostitute. “Looking for a good time?”
Yes I was, but not like that.
My family and I found a good time in Brussels, Belgium. This place has had, by far, the nicest people we have met in Europe to date. On our first day we were stopped twice by people who thought we looked lost. One man even walked with us a while, made a few food recommendations and lamented about the reputation Brussels has as of recently. “We aren’t at war,” he told us. “It’s safe here.”
We felt safe. Never once did we feel threatened.
The boys, my wife and I walked everywhere, the city is small enough that you don’t need to worry about public transit. Our hotel was close to the Grand Place, but it was a hike to get coffee in the morning. On Sunday we went in search of a coffee shop to duck into until the Comic museum opened. We’d marked a place on the map, but paced back and forth on the street where it was supposed to be located (we later discovered that it was underground in the subway station). But while we searched we came across a homeless man. We walked by him at first, but stopped, feeling compelled to give something to him. We dug out a couple of Euros and let the boys drop them in his cup. At that moment, another woman who was watching stopped to give as well. As a parent, it was awesome to see my boys influencing others to act in kindness.
The rest of the day we thought about what else we could do, we looked for opportunities to spread more joy. In the meantime, we sampled fantastic beers, ate wonderful food and gobbled down enough chocolate to make us drunk from the sugar. Then we stopped at a restaurant to eat some mussels in Brussels, something we’d heard was a must-do.
That’s when we met Sarah, the waiter’s daughter who looked bored to tears. I imagine she’s spend countless hours at the restaurant with her dad, and probably had to keep to herself for the most part. Not with us. We first welcomed her to sit with us, and it didn’t take long before she was on Bekkie’s lap, playing with and kissing the boys, and eating the food we ordered as if she was part of our group. When her dad protested, we assured him it was alright. When Sarah’s diaper gave out and Bekkie’s lap suddenly felt warm, we decided it best to get back to our hotel for the night.
Overall this was a much needed trip to get away from report cards, grades and the snow in Berlin. We loved Brussels, and we want to go back soon.
-Tyler

Click here to see a video of our experiences in Brussels.

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Dezember

I was nervous about this month. I thought we’d feel lonely and homesick more than we have before. We had no travel plans, like the months leading up to this one, and no plans to do anything crazy in Berlin.

But December was amazing.

The days got shorter which allowed us to see some beautiful sunrises and sunsets on our outings. We visited five Christmas markets where we drank gluhwein and grogg while eating cookies and stollen. We volunteered with refugees, taking the entire family to the intake center, a heim, and a youth party. The boys loved every minute of that. They talked about how much they connected with the refugee kids, and they can’t wait to do more.

On Christmas day Tyler and I pranked the boys, wrapping some of their own things and a bottle of dish soap. They didn’t think it was funny, but we did (see the video). Then, on New Year’s Eve we ate Indian food, watched belly dancers, and we were nearly blown away by the fireworks (Not really. We were perfectly safe, Mom). On every street corner, and even in front of our house on a quiet street, people gathered to light off what we would consider “professional fireworks.” We also enjoyed jelly doughnuts on New Year’s Day, as per German tradition.

We’re so ready for this next year, to see all that it has to offer… up next is a trip to Brussels in January and Greece in February. Not too bad.

Click here to see a video recap of our December in Berlin 🙂