At Least We Knew It Would Be Tough (Week 12-13 recap, Dec 17 and 24, 2018)
I would like to say that a week in four homes in four cities in three countries was not as challenging as we thought it was going to be but… it was. We have gotten much better at train travel, we’re never late or rushing, we know who carries what, and we even had help from my brother and his girlfriend but the moving around was truly trying. Never being able to unpack, helping WP adjust to a new bedroom every other day… it was tough.
The upside was that we did really enjoy Belgium. The waffles were a key component of this. They are really indescribably delicious. But also, after being in bigger cities for awhile, spending time in the medieval center of Bruges was truly charming. And for those following along you’ll be happy to know that the Christmas markets in Belgium began to recapture some of the magic that I remembered from Germany in 2009. (For the record, IMO a great Christmas market is a social destination NOT a shopping destination. The markets in Bruges and Antwerp both fit this bill.) We had an excellent evening at the market in Bruges getting tipsy off gluhwein, chomping sausages for dinner, and chatting with other visitors. WP even said her first word (BIRD -- we didn’t count mama or dada) watching the gulls fly over the Christmas lights. Can’t complain.
We then went on to Paris for the actual Christmas holiday. Honestly at this point we were in full on family mode. My parents met us there, and we were content to laze around the house having WP play with them, and to keep one social engagement a day. We did make it to the Musee D’Orsay while my parents babysit (thank you!), but we’d been to Paris before and are certain we’ll return again, likely on this trip, so we felt little pressure to sight see and spent most of the time with family.
Which was just as well that this was our plan because Mike, WP, and I all managed to get what was likely norovirus in succession. Mike burned through his by Christmas Day, but WP’s symptoms started a couple days later when she vomited all over me on the Eurostar. By that night I was vomiting, too. It was touch and go for awhile as we were scheduled to take the sleeper train to Skye at 8pm after I’d been sick all night. Ultimately I was lucky to have a weakened version of the virus that cleared up in 24h.
We made it onto the sleeper train, WP and I shared the bottom bunk for a grim night’s sleep (no vomiting though!) and, very much relieved, we got off the train 12h later in the mid-morning sunrise in Inverness, Scotland. We picked up a rental car, Mike readied himself for the 3h stick-shift, wrong-side drive to Skye, and we set off on our first full day in the UK, where we’ll ring in the new year and spend all of January.