Our bodies have arrived in Antwerp! We're working on the brains.
Thunderstorms delayed our departure from Dulles by two hours. It turned out fine, because instead of arriving at 7:30am, we got here at 9:30 yesterday. Mr. K picked us up and was so glad to see the girls, who each got U. of Antwerpen bears with little mortar board hats. Then he said "welcome to Antwerp and happy anniversary (our 13th)" and presented us with a huge assortment of Leonidas chocolates, enough to last us the whole trip here! (Last night John had a dark chocolate filled one and I had a pink heart-shaped marzipan).
He asked whether we wanted to do any shopping for essentials while we had access to his truck, and we decided to go to the Super GB on the Groenplaats. So odd to be there again, and so great! The girls got a mix of little cereal boxes in the Carrefour sweet cereal line (Crocc Chocc is their favorite) and we got some sandwich spreads, salad makings, things like that.
JieJie had to use the bathroom as we drove back to the apartment, and we were stuck in a bit of traffic, so we hopped out and cut through the neighborhood by the Carrolus Borromeuskerk and used the facilities at a little cafe where the girls and I had had a great quiche last year. All of the street construction they were doing on St. Katelijnevest is done and the corner by our old tram stop looks spiffy-new.
So many familiar things already! Dinner at 't Injaske as I had expected, and John had Artisaanal Trappistenijs--BEER ICE CREAM! Only in Belgium. I tried it, and actually it was really good...I would order it myself. I had coupe verse aardbeien (a dish of strawberries), also good, and the girls had dame blanche for dessert (vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce). On the way back to the apartment the proprietress of 't Keizerke came out to say hi, and said she recognized us right away & welcome back.
I couldn't decide for much of yesterday whether I was re-experiencing a memory or whether we were actually here. Then I pinched myself, and it actually hurt, so I believe we are back.
We are now ensconced in our apartment and I'm listening to the bells of St. Jacobskerk as the girls watch kids' shows on CBeebies (BBC backwards...so clever). The girls want to go to school more than just Friday so we will have to see if that's ok, but if it works out, that gives me and John three whole school days to do the museums etc knowing the girls are having an equally good time...bonus! school goes through the end of June here.
More later - gotta get out there and see some sights!