Bonjour and Belgium

On the heels of the Mitch and Sonia visit, I finally got a chance to visit Jaimie-Rose and Jonathan Winder in Tourcoing, France.  Tourcoing sits just off the Belgian border.  In fact, the gym which Jaimie-Rose attends is actually in Belgium! For three days (far too quickly passed)  I enjoyed a little bit of French and Belgian food, architecture and history.  Not to mention the quality time spent with the Winder’s and the Jablonsky’s (American couple also playing volley in Tourcoing).

*Due to my laziness and the Winder’s having a fancy camera, I sorta just let them take the pictures.  Therefore, the photos in this post are poor in quality, or have been stolen from instagram.  Additionally, many important photographs of the trip are not in my possession, so the summary I give may be lacking.  Oh well.

In Brugge

After picking me up from Brussels airport, Jaimie-Rose and I drove to Brugge. Immediately, I was enchanted by the flemish architecture.  However, after our tour of the Halve Maan brewery complete with complimentary beer, I was pretty smitten.

The brewery lies next to a beautiful monastery, where we saw a couple of nuns wandering by.  Quick observation about the brewery tour though.  As we were waiting our turn, I noticed that they offered tours in English, French or Dutch.  However, as I looked out at the people lining up, it was instantly obvious who was there for the English tour.  I don’t know if I’m getting snobby or what, but why do Anglos have to look like the frumpiest dumps in the universe?  Seriously, every person on our tour was overweight, and wearing some hideous, schlumpfy outfit.  It’s embarrassing.

nuns in the monastery

That night, the Winder’s, Jablonsky’s and I enjoyed dinner at one of their favorite restaurant in Lille, the larger city near Tourcoing.  Dessert was the highlight of our extremely delicious meal.  Spekuloos Tiramisu.  Holy Moly.

The next day, Jaimie-Rose and Jonathan took me to Gent (belgian spelling).  The morning began properly with a walk to the bakery for pastries.  Then, a short drive to Gent.  The sun was out, and every person between the age of 16 and 30 seemed to be outside soaking up the sun with a crate of amazing belgian beers.  We ate at Jonathan’s favorite little place in town, and admired the sun worshippers.

After the meal, we HAD to get some waffles.  Dear Me.  Warm, sugary, crispy and coated in chocolate…i could eat them for days.

waffles and gravensteen castle

We dropped in to see one of the MANY gorgeous churches, but mostly spent our time outside admiring the various public squares, and medieval architecture.  It’s the kind of city that feels so inviting, you’ll think about it long after you’ve left.  I certainly have.

That night, the Winder’s put together a meat and cheese platter that was a thing of beauty.  With good wine and good food, it was such a special treat to sit around and chat with everyone.

baguette to die for
Jonathan, Tammara, Jayson and I

My last day was a girly one.  Tammara, Jaimie-Rose kicked it off with a body sculpt class (in French of course) at their gym.  Then we spent the day in Lille eating crepes and shopping.  We came back to bask in the late afternoon sun before heading back to Lille for a special girls night with the other lovely ladies of the Tourcoing team.  Again: awesome food, awesome wine, awesome company.

lovely ladies
my face is awkwardly red...whateva

Final Observations:

  • Everyone I met in France was friendly- a lovely surprise
  • Belgian Beer really is that good.
  • If I ever live in France, I’ll have to start going to the gym 3x a day.

The trip blew by all too quickly.  I have to heartily thank the Jablonsky’s and Winder’s for taking good care of me.  Seriously big props to Jaimie-Rose for being my tour guide as she has been working overtime with visitors lately, and it was like her one millionth time of touring Brugge and Gent in the last couple of weeks.  She could not have been a better hostess.

4 thoughts on “Bonjour and Belgium

  1. My favorite line – “After the meal we HAD to get some waffles!” Simply awesome! The shot along the water looks like from what Belgian dreams are made – lots of great beer, warm sunshine, and idyllic surroundings! Fabulous to see you with friends in amazing places eating delicious food and imbibing world class ales 🙂

  2. Gent, I think, is where Garrett Gunther played soccer and went to school for a year. Small world… I too would like to see the overweight anglos in their hideous, schlumpfy outfits!

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