Le printemps

Spring has officially sprung here in Brussels. It still remains a bit cool, especially in the mornings and evenings but we are considering it a nice change from living in the southern US where it instantly turns to a sweaty summer instantly after winter is over.

joshua paul

We had a big surprise just a day or two after my last post. As I mentioned, we were expecting Alex’s sister and brother-in-law to come for a visit in Brussels and to show them around Paris. On Wednesday, we went to the Magritte Museum downtown and Alex got a call saying they weren’t coming because Ashlea delivered a baby boy at 32 weeks, just hours before they were supposed to get on a plane! We were bummed not to get our visit with them but so so excited for another nephew! (And so relieved that she didn’t deliver on the plane or here!) WELCOME JOSHUA PAUL!

Because we had booked an apartment and a few sight-seeey things in Paris for Ashlea & Jason’s visit (not to mention our train tickets to Provence FROM Paris), we carried on with the trip just the 2 of us. Our days in Paris were unseasonably warm (actually, quite hot!) but we had a fantastic time walking around the city with a very chill agenda. We made the trip up to Montmartre and hiked the dome at Sacre Coeur for exhilarating views of the city. I continue to find Paris absolutely delightful and find myself eeking out these little squeals every so often. Everyone we interact with in restaurants or museums are so helpful and kind and we positively eat like kings but in the most understated way possible. Petit dejouner of baguette or croissant with jam & juice and crepes for lunch or dinner. Given that it takes less than 90 minutes by train to get to Paris or back, I am absolutely positive we will be making frequent visits.

After 3 days in Paris, we hoofed it down to the south of France to a little town called Aix-en-Provence. It is just about an hour north of Marseilles and it is the hometown of the famous artist, Cezanne. Our apartment was on a popular street with a terrace overlooking one of the main squares. We rented bicycles from Aixprit and made a few trips out of town. The first full day, we rode out to the Aquaduc de Roquefavour and hiked up to the top. We took the next day off to rest and relax and follow the footsteps of Cezanne. We saw his birthplace, visited his studio, and walked up to the Terrain des Peintures (the park where he had a view of Mount Saint Victoire, which he painted several times). The third day, we traded in our road bikes for mountain bikes and rode out to Mount Saint Victoire. We did some trail riding and some hiking and visited a beautiful dam with the most amazing blue-green water. If you want to see all the pictures, here are some more.

Since being back, we have celebrated my 29th birthday and graduated from our 80 hour French course. We had a huge weekend between renting a pedal pub for 20 people to bike around Brussels drinking German beer and then seeing Pentatonix complete with VIP passes. A BIG weekend for sure. Last night, we completed Level 1B of French and went out to celebrate with friends (also for a birthday too!).

We are staying busy busy busy and loving the opportunities for travel. We have made some amazing friends and always have something going on here if we aren’t traveling out of town. We have a month of training left before we run our first 20k so wish us luck!