Thursday, June 19, 2014

It has been a long, long time!

Well my dear friends, it is hard to believe it has been over a year since I posted last.  During that time I have my family has seen much happiness and also sadness.

In January my husband surprised me with a trip to London, Paris and Belgium. (several towns in Belgium).  It was a lovely trip!!!   We flew into London and spent two days there... we arrived on a Sunday morning, and decided instead of going to sleep we would go for a walk and see Buckingham Palace... much to our surprise and luck, we happened upon the Changing of the Guards!!  They only do this once or twice a week in the winter - and we were lucky enough to be there.  Funny! Then we took the high speed train to France and then another train to a little town called Kortrijk, Belgium.  ADORABLE!!  The hotel (Hotel Messeyn) was lovely and quaint.  My husband had to work a couple of days at the plant there, so I walked around the little town admiring the little shops and the beauty.  I don't speak a lick of Flemish - and the memory of my French that I took in high school is very limited... but the people of Belgium are truly gracious.  We spent an evening in Brugges - my Lord what a lovely place!! It is one of the few Mid Evil cities in Europe to have not been damaged in the war.  The canals, the buildings, the EVERYTHING was just breathtaking!!  Then, after a few days in Belgium we headed to Paris, again on the high speed train.  Too funny we were RUNNING - I mean RUNNING to catch the train.  We went to the wrong station in Lille which is about a 5-10 minute walk from where we were.  And we only had 10 minutes to make the train - we had to BOOK it.  I hate to run, but I was NOT missing Paris!! We clicked our ticket at the train and was told by the man at the gate to just get on anywhere and find our seat.  The car I chose to get on was First Class...LOL.  I walked up to a gentleman who's outfit alone was worth more than everything in my closet- and asked if he spoke English.  We was very kind, and said a little, and I asked if he knew where these seats would be?  He said, there are only 3 of his here in the car today, why don't you just stay here and join us?  Don't mind if I do.  It took me probably 15-20 minutes to finally catch my breath and for my heart to stop pounding out of my chest.  But, I finally relaxed and was able to enjoy the ride and the lovely countryside along the way.  Paris was fabulous!  We stayed at a nice boutique hotel called Hotel La Littre - upon check in, the man behind the counter mentioned that it being off season, he would be happy to upgrade us to one of the two suites with views of the Eiffel Tower if we would like.  My eyes grew so wide,  I don't think my husband could possibly have turned it down.  The sights of Paris are spectacular.  Versailles was unbelievable - what an amazing place! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and each and every morning, I went out onto our private balcony to make sure the Tower was still there... it was! :-)  After several days in Paris, we headed back to London for another 2 days and were then on our way home.  What a trip of a lifetime!!

Well, low and behold, if my husband doesn't surprise me again!  He found out he had to go to Belgium again for a 1 day meeting.  However, it would be a 3 day trip just for the 1 meeting and would have cost a fortune with the last minute notice.  So he suggested that we both go for an extended 6 days and it didn't cost any more than if he went alone for the 3 days.  Well, Okay, count me in...twist my arm... whatever you got to do. :-)  We spent the first couple days in Kortrijk again, but this time we rented a car.  So we were able to drive to Brugges to spend some additional time there and really get to know the city.  I am so glad we did. Then we decided to go see a private castle with a moat in a little city about an hour away.  My husband was thrilled, he has always wanted to see a castle with a moat.  After that, we just explored...and drove through some of the cutest towns and tiniest roads!  The next day we were off to Brussels.  Well, we arrived on the side of Brussels by the train station, airport etc.  It was INSANELY busy, and not that neat and tidy.  Actually it was downright dirty and we didn't feel terribly safe. I am sure there are nicer parts, but my husband mentioned that one of the men in the meeting the other day mentioned Ghent, Belgium as being even nicer than Brugges.  I thought, that is impossible, but I pulled up the GPS and we were on our way.  WOW!!!  WOW!!! is all I can say.  Ghent is what fairy tales are made of.  Probably one of my favorite places in Europe that we saw- if not Europe definitely Belgium.  So, so fun!!

Some other fun news is that I am working on opening up my little potting shed as a shop again.  I used to own an occasional shop offering primitives, ladies accessories, home decor, etc.... however my partner and best friend decided to grow up and take a full time job and I just didn't feel right running it without her.  But, miss the retail soon to open will be "Bittersweet Ivy Mercantile, or Painted Daisy or..or...or"  Naming a shop is so personal to me but also so permanent too.  

Well, okay this was an overly long post, for which I apologize.  There was just so much to say! LOL  It feels great to be back and can't wait to start sharing with all of you again!!