Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Year!

We just got home from a New Years trip to Belgium and I'm recovering from a really terrible stomach virus and fever.  I'm exhausted, every cell in my body hurts, I can't stand up straight, and I've lost 3lbs in 2 days, and while that is a pretty great start to my new years resolution, I'm not sure those 3lbs were supposed to come off the way that they did.  I woke up the morning we left for Belgium very sick, but I tried my hardest to not let it ruin our trip.   I was looking forward to spending New Year's away from home for a long while, so I used denial for all it was worth!

A few months ago I came across Disney's Frozen Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival in Brugge and thought it would make for a perfect New Year's Eve trip!  Plus, Brugge is the only city in Belgium listed in Rick Steves Best of Europe 2013 book, so it must be a great place to visit! 

I booked the cutest apartment for New Year's Eve and then the rest of the planning started, and I got super excited! 

We had an incredibly inexpensive chic three story, two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with a fully equipped kitchen all to ourselves just seconds from Burg Square!  Eric & I had privacy, a microwave so Isabelle could make her ramen, English television.... and it made for a comfy place to be sick and miserable.

Since the entire reason we came to Brugge was to see the Ice Festival, that was where I wanted to go first!  We saw the movie, Frozen, the day after Christmas and loved it!  Even Eric liked the movie, he said his favorite character was Sven.  My tummy was not going to get the best of me until I took my daughter to the Ice Festival.

Every square inch was made out of ice!  Three full tents of Ice Sculptures and an ice castle!  One tent had all of the Disney princesses, one was just the Frozen characters, and the last had an ice slide and bar!

This is Olaf, he likes warm hugs. 

Eric and Elsa.

Oaken at Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna. 

My handsome man wearing one of his Christmas presents from me, a Jack Wolfskin coat! 

My girl was SO excited to go down the ice slide! 

The ice sculptures were absolutely beautiful and neat to see!  After spending an hour or so at the Ice Festival, my fever was very quickly getting high and it was probably time for me to go to bed, but I refused to miss out on anything, sick or not, so we spent a few hours walking around Brugge until I just couldn't stand it anymore.  Rick Steves' says that "Brugges' ultimate sight is the town itself...."  He is SO right!  The town is absolutely gorgeous, and is one of Europe's "Venice of the north!"  (I guess there are 7 according to Wikipedia). 

19th century castle belonging to the first count of Flanders.

It was by this time that I absolutely needed to get in bed.  Everything hurt and I couldn't get warm, my hands were purple, but I was sweating..... none of it made sense.  We walked back to the apartment (a crazy 20-hour marathon of a walk that I swore the exact same route took us only a few minutes earlier in the afternoon), and then I slept for 15 hours straight.

The next morning I woke up with ZERO energy, but my fever was just going to have to simmer down, I wasn't going to let a full day (New Years Day!) go to waste!  I got up and got ready to go.  I had to pile on the layers to keep warm which zapped the teeny bit of energy I woke up with, putting on make-up turned into a chore, putting on my leggings required a water break, and getting my boots on?  Forget it, I had Eric do it for me.  But, by gosh, I got my butt up, out the door, and managed to take over 240 pictures of Brugge! 

Because it was New Years Day a lot of what he had hoped to see was closed or had long lines because of all of us tourists, we attempted to see the De Halve Mann Brewery, but the tour was fully booked (Babe bought beer anyway, though).

The Basilica of the Holy Blood was open though!  This church is known for its relic of the blood of Christ which was brought to Brugge in 1150 A.D.  I didn't get a picture taken of the relic because of the way it was situated, and there was an adorable old lady sitting behind it almost like she was guarding it, and also because I wasn't sure that photography was even allowed.

This was so beautiful to me.  It's what I imagine all the buildings in Heaven look like. 

The Belfort was closed.  Bummer.

But just about everywhere else was open! 

Me in the Markt. 

Don't let this picture fool you, I was miserable!  But obviously, eating a Belgian waffle, in Belgium was TOP priority!  {It was amazing!  And I was only able to eat it because we were heading back to the apartment by this time.}

Even though I was sick, we had an incredible time!  I'm frustrated that I was sick, I'm bummed that we might not have made the best of our time there, but I guess being sick made it more memorable for us.

I'm a little sad to see 2013 go, it was a great year {minus the 5 months that Eric and I were apart}.  What I appreciated the most about 2013 was that there were no major surprises, no health problems, no major turns or bumps on our path.  It was the year where we saw years of hard work come to fruition, and walked a nice peaceful pace on God's perfectly designed path.  

1 comment:

  1. I love Brugge, it such a romantic and beautiful city!