Sunday, February 21, 2010

Belgium, Day 2

Before I get to Belgium, Part II, lemme say this: Neti potting is SO weird!

I'm one of those types that gets sinus infections and colds on a somewhat regular basis. And I had heard of neti pots before, but prior to this year of frequent sinus issues, I never seriously considered them.

At my doctor's appointment Tuesday, the doctor actually recommended a nasal rinse. To which I said, "You mean a neti pot?!" I had recently posted a Facebook question about them that generated a lot of responses from people singing their praises. Unfortunately, I couldn't find one on Amazon that would ship to my American-in-England APO address. Fortunately I have a pretty awesome mom who picked one up for me at Walgreens and shipped it last week.

So tonight I gave it a try. What a strange sensation! It kind of feels like when you accidentally breathe under water, only a bit less violent since you're expecting it. I couldn't make it through a whole pot in either nostril, and I think it'll take some practice. But here's hoping it'll help to mitigate my sinus issues that have plagued me this past year!

Okie dokes, now onto our second day in Belgium! We decided to spend our second day in Ghent.

I summarized Belgium in my last post as essentially us being sick and Belgium being cold. This was indeed true on day two. The only difference was that it was Sunday, and nothing was open till about noon. We foolishly took off for Ghent first thing in the morning and froze our tails off until we found a cafe to warm up in. It was in this cafe that I found the highlight of my trip: the Italian Coffee.

See how pretty she is? Sweet and dark and delicious. It was essentially coffee and amaretto and whipped cream. What's not to love? The combination of coffee and alcohol did the trick to warm me back up and put me in good spirits. Caleb enjoyed his spoonfuls of Daddy's hot chocolate.

Our travel buddy Tim enjoyed his Belgian beer. By the end, we were all warmer and in better moods.

Since it was well after lunch time, we could now explore the cathedral in town, so we did so, taking a few illegal pictures along the way. (Hey, I didn't use a flash!) The cathedral in Ghent was MUCH colder than the cathedral in Ieper had been!

This was taken in the catacombs downstairs. For some reason, I felt like I was in Romeo and Juliet. I guess it felt a bit like my field trip to Verona in 9th grade.

More from the catacombs.

Here's just a shot of Ghent as we walked from the cathedral to the castle.

Next we explored the castle in Ghent. It was fine. My only complaint was the hand-held audio tour thingamajiggy. Instead of being tour-like ("This is the great hall, where the kings would hold feasts and ceremonies...") It was a dramatization following fictional characters around from room to room. Irritating. I gave up after the third room and just lugged the heavy thing around. Luckily, it was free with the cost of the admission. I'd have been even more irritated otherwise.

Here's my boys in the castle.

Me and my turkey leg inside the castle.

And here's our travel buddy, Tim in the castle.

And finally, another shot of the outside of the castle. As is standard with castles, it was a lot of stair climbing, and we were all pretty wiped by the end.

We wandered around a little bit more after the castle, but mostly just made our way back to the car with a few detours into chocolate shops. We had intentions of going back to Ieper for the Last Post we had missed the day before, but ended up just hanging out in Menen (where we were staying) and eating too much chocolate while watching Couples Retreat. I guess there are worse ways to spend an evening! :)
This blog is long enough without a dip into our few hours we spent in Lille. So I may save that for another blog. But if I never get to that blog, I'll summarize Lille in one word: meh. In other words, could have lived without it! Maybe I'll elaborate later this week, but for tonight I'm off to bed! Good night!

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