First off - a couple highlights from the farm. We're here for the week.
July 24th - A long driving day.
We had around 6 hours of driving today to go from Mont St. Michel to Brugge, Belgium. We had a quick fast-food stop along the way. (I know, fast-food. We had to bribe & exercise the kids in the play area.) The drive was relatively fast and painless. The kids seemed worn out and didn't mind relaxing in the car. Angry Birds is our new travel friend.
We arrived at our farm gite just outside of Brugge around 6pm. The owner spent nearly an hour showing us around and giving travel tips. He is very kind and generous with his time and tips. He seems to really enjoy showing people a good time! I can't say enough great things about this place. We're already talking about coming back. The two-bedroom apartment is in a restored barn. It's clean, roomy, and very homey.
Here's the view from our outside deck.
There are chickens, rabbits, pigeons (we saw 2-day old pigeons today), donkeys, cows, horses, sheep, cats, and more. There are flowers growing everywhere and kids play equipment. The girls are beyond happy here and we've had a hard time getting them to go anywhere!
This looks like our old cat Gabi:
For you animal lovers, here are a few of my favorites.
Hello big guy:
Some long-legged cows!
According to the owner, this breed of cows are born only by C-Section. A vet is called in for each birth. The babies are just too big or something.
Lulu the horse actually is a working horse! She hauls carriages full of tourists in nearby Brugge. She's currently taking a break on the farm. I'm tempted to take her out for a ride. It's just been too long since I've been on a horse!
There is only one other apartment here and it's occupied by a Scottish family with three kids - ages 4, 7, 10. The ten year old girl loves playing with our DDs. She even painted their nails! There's an indoor play-area for the kids too.
After we settled in, we had a typical Flemish dinner in the nearby village of Oedelem.
Here's one local specialty - eel! It was pretty good.
DD#1's smiley sausage with carrot hair.
DH's mussels and frites. Fries are the bread in Belgium. They come with everything in massive portions. There are fry shops all over! There are two just in our tiny nearby village!
Goodnight from our little farm!
July 25 - Hanging out at the farm
We pretty much spent the entire day enjoying and appreciating this great place. I got out for a run. It is blissfully flat country here! I also drove to the nearby store to stock up on groceries. DH and I are big fans of Belgian beer. I nearly fainted in the store when I began pricing some of our favorite bottles. Bottles of Trappist beer that go for $4-6 at home are around 1.50 Euros. Woohoo!
One of the best features here at the farm is the massive supply of bikes! Hours and hours of entertainment!
These go-cart contraptions are a hit!
DH even had a chance to wash and vacuum the car. It needed it!
After lots of bike riding - DD#1 and I went off for over six miles - we finally got ourselves together and headed to Brugge for dinner. We parked outside of town and took a short bus ride in - another tip from the owner. The town really is lovely.
We had dinner at a place with over 400 beers on the menu. The menu was an overwhelming BOOK! I had a Flemish beef stew and DH had a fish stew. The kids also shared the Flemish stew. It was really tasty! The vat of fries were there but didn't make the picture.
After a very filling meal, we got home and rolled into bed.
July 26 - More Brugge
After a little bike riding, we drug the kids into the car back to Brugge. We had barely gotten a taste of the city yesterday! Check out how DD#1 felt about being forced to leave the farm:
First off was climbing the famous belfry. Some might remember this tower from the grisly movie "In Bruges". There were 366 steps and a nice view at the top.
Check out the huge modern windmills in the distance.
After all those steps, we rewarded ourselves with a box of chocolates. I visited this same shop around nine years ago. Mmmmm!
We wandered around taking in the sights. We stopped for waffles with whipped cream. Hey, you gotta have waffles in Belgium!
Next, we took a canal tour in a little boat. DH and I found it very interesting. DD#2 fell fast asleep.
We came back home and the wonderful owner was here offering up donkey rides. The kids were ecstatic!
In addition, we ran into another local farmer who invited us to see his dairy farm. They had tiny kittens...
A calf that was born earlier in the day as well as other tiny calves.
Hello there milk mamas!
We had easy pasta dinner at our place, did more bike riding, and called it a day. I didn't mention that the farm is located at the end of a mile-long road. There is almost no traffic on the road so the kids can ride up and down safely. They love the independence. We all do!
Hopefully four more happy days in Belgium will follow. Stay tuned!