Sunday, May 21, 2017

Eurotrip 2017- Part 4 (Belgium & Paris)

This is my 4th and final post about our Europe trip; my goal was to finish my stories within a month of coming back so I am barely making it but at least it's done...
After the Netherlands we headed to Belgium; there were a few spots that interested me about this country so we made sure to fit them in our itinerary.  The drive wasn't bad and the kids behaved incredibly well so that made it even easier. 
We stated in a city called Leuven, which is one of Belgium's college towns located about 30 minutes outside of Brussels. In Leuven we rented a flat, which was amazing because it was very spacious and situated in a place with lots of businesses and "action" around.. it was lovely. 
On our first day in Belgium, we visited Bruges, one of those places I had always wanted to visit. This city is straight out of a fairy tale, with beautiful little houses around the canals and intricate buildings that are simply fascinating. Bruges is seriously enchanting, there isn't one ugly thing about this place and I was mesmerized by it.  We walked around the narrow streets of Bruges, visited the central square where the big buildings are and even explored some of the chocolate boutiques, one of Belgium's highlights. 
In Belgium we also visited Ghent and Brussels, also amazingly beautiful and very picturesque. 

This is a chocolate boutique where they make artisan chocolate.  The owner happened to be there and he spoke to us about how good Venezuelan cacao is and he even told us about all his travels in the search of the world's best cacao beans... it was quite the experience. 

These are pictures from Leuven, the college town where we stayed in Belgium..

These are some pictures of Brussels' Atomium, a very iconic monument located in a very touristic spot in the city.  We were able to go up and contemplated the most amazing views of the city.
Brussels is quite the place and even though it wasn't at the top of my list, I was really happy to visit such a place.  Belgians are really friendly and their culture really surprised me.  The kids were shocked to learn that "French" fries aren't really French but rather Belgian and they also loved all the waffle and chocolate stores; we really loved this place. 

And this is me enjoying a Belgian waffle. Waffles are truly a form of art in Belgium and whether it was because I convinced myself or because it's a fact, these waffles were the best I've ever had! Yum!

Look at all those yummy waffles!!!

After spending some blissful days in Belgium, we headed to my favorite city of all: Paris!  There's just *something* about Paris.. not matter how many times I visit the city of lights, I always fall in love all over again.. Paris is just a dream city, everything about it is's romantic, it's elegant and hippie at the same time, it's hectic and relaxed.. all at once.. I just LOVE Paris so I am making sure my kids inherit that love for such a place...
The first spot we visited in Paris (as is my tradition) was the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, a little hidden chapel with very little hype but with the most amazing vibe in the whole city; I just love sitting in that little place and saying a special prayer.. so amazing!

We took the girls to the Louvre Museum to see the one and only Mona Lisa; I spent countless hours explaining to them that the actual picture is much smaller than they could imagine but they were still shocked by its size (like everyone who sees this famous painting for the 1st time) was such a good experience for them, though.. we could tell they were really excited...

Oliver tried climbing every sculpture he saw and it was quite amusing and stressful at the same time.. let's just say our museum walking tour did not last very long! ha!

We continued on the typical Paris tourist route and took the kids to Notre Dame Cathedral.. great place for photos and the weather was absolutely beautiful during our Paris visit...

My second favorite spot in Paris.. Sacre Coeur... I just love hanging around this place..

...and of course a Paris trip HAS to include a visit to Trocadero and hanging out by the Eiffel Tower; we watched street performers, had ice cream by the tower and took a bunch of pictures.  The kids got the enjoy the many playgrounds surrounding Champs de Mars and had an amazing time in this wonderful city.  

We had such a great time in Europe and we were so blessed by how good the kids behaved during the whole trip.  Oliver was a real trooper and we really think that driving instead of taking trains or planes made a HUGE difference.  Renting a car wasn't nearly as complicated as I thought and parking in the different cities was rather easy and inexpensive.  Gas is a little pricier than in the States but I still think it evens out when I think about how much other ways of transportation cost. 
I wish we would have been better as far as coordinating meal times and attraction routes but we made the best of our trip with the time and budget we had. 
The Spring is definitely the best season to visit Europe so next time we visit, we will most likely do another Spring time trip. 
We thank God for allowing us to create such beautiful memories and we pray that we can continue to expose our children to the many different and wonderful cultures around the world!
Until next time, Europe! Thanks for 2 amazing weeks!

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