I do not know what triggered it, but a while ago I went rummaging through some documents to look for the car registration. My heart skipped a beat when I read the words Euro 3, which is the European emission standard of D’s car. This joyful discovery meant that we will not get an unpleasant and expensive fine in the mail for driving through the city of Brussels two weeks ago.
Why did I not embark on this search earlier?! It would have prevented quite some grey hairs!
D and I met up with our travelling trio of friends again before they leave for Japan and the US. This time, we chose the coastal city of Ostend (Oostende in Dutch) as our meeting point.
Despite having only a few hours in the afternoon, the five of us managed to see most of the well-known attractions. We had a lovely lunch at a sea-side restaurant, found the hidden Japanese garden which D and I did not know about till now, and took a walk on the beach. We talked, caught up with the things that matter and strengthened our friendships. At the end of the afternoon, we went to a café near the train station to have something to drink. Time flew by and before we know it, we were bidding our farewells at the train station and off they went on a train heading for Brussels.
Yesterday, D and I met up with a trio of old friends and acquaintance in Gent. The mother-daughter pair had flown in from Japan two days ago and only have a week here. The third person in the group was someone I met in San Diego more than a decade ago, and he flew in from the US. I had a wonderful time catching up with my Japanese friends, K and I, whom I have known in San Francisco since 2001! D and I enjoyed showing the three of them around our beloved Gent.
After seeing most of the popular sights in Gent, we packed everyone in our little car, drove home to show them our house. They have shown great interests in seeing the house we built. We then had a quick dinner in Kortrijk and sent our friends off at the train station. It was a very joyful meet-up, a wonderful time spent together, and a draining trip down memory lane for me.
In 2011, a 70-year old friend from New York City crossed the Atlantic to come visit me. This year, Japanese friends crossed an entire continent to be here for a short holiday and still managed to meet up. I crossed the ocean in 2007 to experience and live a long term European holiday. I would not have imagined that I possess such strong ties and influence to be able to motivate other people to come visit! How incredible!
It was to be a warm day today. So, D and I biked to De Gavers for our picnic lunch of simple sandwiches.
After lunch, we biked to the visitor’s centre, parked our bikes and took a walk to the new look-out hut on the other side of the lake. Both D and I noticed that there had been quite some new add-ons at the harbour area. These installations are mostly catered to school children who are now learning things outside of the classic classrooms.
After the look-out hut, we walked to the office and bought a pot of honey. First pot of honey this year.
A few years ago, I told D that he has to be smart when trying to get his point across to me. He would need to use Vulcan Logic to break down my reluctance and stubbornness, in order to convince me to see his side of things.
Well, he did it. I was convinced to cycle to Kortrijk for the Mayday event yesterday! My slight dizziness and coughing fit did not seem to have affected my bike ride by much. To my pleasant surprise, I am not even suffering from any muscle pain today. Admittedly, the coughing fit got worse, but the cold evening was to be blamed for that – not the cycling.
Yep, one will not be able to argue against Vulcan Logic.
This morning, D and I went to the new Lokaal at Heule. The general produces are similar to those offered at Deerlijk. But of course, a different location meant that we were buying from different producers.
After a bit of browsing, D and I sat down at the bar area where I had a ginger ale and D a beer. Someone did a good job setting up a cosy and trendy bar area. D and I enjoyed ourselves and even came across a few familiar faces during our time there.
The market is new, but I am sure it will grow more popular as time goes by. Mindful consumers will make sure of that.
A few months ago, D won two tickets to the Fibre Fixed exhibition at Design Museum in Ghent. Since the tickets will expire by Easter, we thought it is best that we make the trip to one of our favourite cities this Friday afternoon.
The exhibition about carbon and synthetic composites was interesting. I took quite a lot of photos with my old school camera. Not once did I need to use my cell phone.
Despite the fact that D was suffering from a cold and pollen allergy, we walked about the city after the museum visit. We went to drink beers at a very crowded beer café. While enjoying our beers, we thought it is best that we should stay in the city for dinner to wait out the after-work weekend traffic. We walked from the café to a well-liked ramen noodles bar, had our delicious and simple dinner and then head home to West Flanders. Since neither of us finished our huge bowls of noodles, we even have takeaways for tomorrow!
A few weeks ago, D won two tickets to a show called The Art Of The Teese. Yesterday, we drove to Antwerp after lunch so that we may spent some time enjoying the sights and sound of the largest city in Flanders before the evening show.
After a few hours of wandering about, D and I stopped by a café for drinks and a bit of a rest. I happily discovered a wonderful apple ginger concoction which I am sure I can recreate at home. Yeah to that!
Later, we moved on to a restaurant next to the café to have a bit of a snack and to drink beers we never had before. What a unique venue it turned out to be. The dark interior is decorated with religious statues of the Catholic church. The menus are leather-bound. The wooden furniture dark, stained and heavy. One just cannot stop looking around discovering little visual surprises at every nook and cranny. D and I laughed when we noticed an out-of-place statue of a Roman centurion. We should have asked why that one was placed there.
After finishing our drinks at Elfde Gebod, we walked leisurely to the performance hall. I noticed that many amongst the audience were dressed up, obviously also fans of Dita Von Teese. The two-hour show was a beautiful celebration of glamour, glitter, sensuality, and sexiness. D and I had fun and were truly entertained. For a moment there, it also made me miss glittery Las Vegas…
The first Sunday of October is OpenBedrijvendag. D and I started early this year by visiting three companies which are close to home. A glass construction company, a pipe cleaning company (their system is ingenious), and a big construction company. Starting in the morning somehow meant that one gets to drink beer before noon.
After a short break at home, we proceeded to a new library which is situated in the middle of a park. Then, we went to a small brewery. The visit did not take long, so we decided to end the day by visiting an ostrich farm.
To me, the highlights of this year’s Open bedrijvendag were the pipe-cleaning company, the crane-powered ride which gave us a bird’s-eye-view of several cities, and the ostriches.