giving bruges a chance

I had been to Bruges two times, but I was never that impressed by the city. I didn’t quite understand the attraction to it. While many claim that it is there favorite place in Belgium, mine is Ghent.

almostbilingue_ghent

In Ghent last year

I love Ghent. I find it to be very beautiful with its canals, architecture, and the general atmosphere.

However, there was one major difference in my visits to both cities. Each time I went to Bruges, it was cold and rainy where as the times I visited Ghent, it was sunny and pleasant (even in winter).

It’s not that I didn’t like Bruges – I did find it charming – but I just liked the feel of Ghent more. Every time I state that to my friends, they find that rather surprising having adored Bruges themselves. Continue reading

voyage de noces in Budapest

As I’m sure many of you are aware, we went to Budapest for our vacation (with a few days in France-Comté). We had a great time, and we had a nice time discovering the city together. Any other places we’ve spent significant time in, one or the other already knew it, but neither of us had been to Budapest before.

I won’t give you a play-by-play of the entire trip, but I will tell you about some of the highlights.

almostbilingue_budapest view of pest

Budapest is divided into two parts by the Danube River – Buda and Pest. We spent the majority of our time on the Pest side as that was where we were staying and where many of the attractions we were interested in are located. Continue reading

christmas in franche-comté

Later in this post: A visit to the Christmas markets in Mulhouse and Montbéliard!

For the Christmas holidays, we made our way down to J’s parents’ in Bourguignon, Franche-Comté. As predicted, the week and a half was filled with lots of food, wine, and of course, family. Just to give you an idea, we had a raclette three times in a week’s time. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had our fill for this season.

almostbilingue christmas raclette

Raclette

For Christmas Eve, to go along with the massive amounts of food for dinner (though I sit out on a few courses – foie gras and escargots – giving my poor stomach a break. I don’t have the dexterity of the French yet), we picked up two bûches de Noël from our favorite place there Julien Patisserie. He’s the one who made our wedding cake. Continue reading

a visit to ypres

alostbilingue ypres

The weather was bright and sunny yesterday so what better to do during the holiday season than to visit a Christmas market? We decided to take a little drive over the border to visit the market in Ypres (Ieper in Dutch), Belgium.

This was our very first visit to the town, and besides looking up information on the Christmas market, we didn’t really know what to expect.

With a population of about 35,000, Ypres is a very cute little city and well known for its strategic position during WWI. The town center is small and pedestrian friendly like many European cities. We parked about a kilometer (less than a mile) away and quickly walked the rest of the way.

Expecting to only spend time at the market, we took Elliot along with us. Though as it’s the holiday season, everything was open and the town was packed. Elliot was going crazy with all the other dogs around us as people had the same idea to bring along their four legged family members. Continue reading

unplanned trip to franche-comté

Elliot sleeping

Elliot sleeping on the car ride

I’ve been a little quiet on here, and that’s because last week, we made an unplanned trip to J’s home town in France-Comté. We went for a family member’s funeral, but I don’t feel that it’s my place to talk about that here.

While the trip was made on a sad note, it wasn’t without happiness. While the family was saying goodbye to one member, they were welcoming another. J’s sister gave birth to her second son on Sunday November 16.

So while we were there, we were able to meet our new nephew who was only a few days old at the time. He’s such a cutie, and I like to think that he likes the sound of English. It’s also so strange to think that I have nephews now. I didn’t really think I’d ever be an aunt, and now, I am!

We also used our time there to catch up with some family (and eat far too much – hello, raclette!).  Continue reading