Since we arrived in Europe over six months ago, I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my parents. I knew that they would come, and sure enough they did. The draw of a grandchild yabbering on the telephone to them every night tugged at their heart strings just enough to get them on a plane. But first to Italy, then here. How could I compete with Italy? That was going to be the question. Where we live, it is not known for romance or great food. But I have an ace in the hole, W..
To set things off right, all of the Archer's were all able to pick Nana and Pop up at the airport in Brussels. For me, Brussels is a beautiful city, and I had to show it off a little. So we took a quick jaunt to the Grand Place and had a small bite for supper. But of course how can you be happy with a small super in Brussels when you are surrounded by waffles, chocolate and beer? And of course with the ace in the hole yodeling for waffles, how is a grand parent to refuse. So waffle in hand, we toured the tourist areas of Brussels, finishing off with a nod to Maniquin Pis and a chocolate salute.
The next day was no time for rest. There are places we've never been, and we had two extra hands to help us. In the car to Monschau, Germany we went. Monschau is a beautiful German village located in the Eifel region on the Belgium border. It has been untouched by both world wars, so it retains much of the old world charm visitors are looking for when they visit the father land. Unfortunately, most of the town is comprised of visitors, but that was no matter for four eager adults and one small snack eater. We were able to spend the afternoon wandering along a beautiful stream, and looking at houses that are older then the USA.
One look at W. and you know that you can't resist her. Well you can, but it's very difficult, and she has been honing her skills since her second birthday. There is this little toy store that I know about in Aachen that has three levels, and is bursting with any type of toy you could ever desire as a young child. And being German, the toys are of exceptional quality. Of course this is the place that Nana had to take W. to. Two hours of looking over babies, trying on princess shoes, and making sure all of the toys were in perfect working order, we were able to depart the store. New baby and stroller in hand, it was time for lunch. Or maybe some ice cream, since it was spoil W. day anyways.
Next, off to buy shoes. Now I really had no idea that the love for shoes was genetic, but if you've met my daughter, you would only assume this to be true. I love shoes, any kind, any style, any day; I love them. Her aunt is a famous fashion designer in CA. She also has a thing for shoes. So you can only feel sorry for W. that she has the shoe bug gnawing at her from both sides of the double helix. W. on the other hand takes it to extremes. As soon as the desired object is in her sights, she takes off like a missile. No matter the size, color or gender of the shoe, she has to have it. And try it on, and take it with her. I think the sales lady thought that W. was having a seizure when we were trying to remove her from the shoes in the store and leave. It is that bad. It is ALWAYS that bad. The girl really loves shoes.
So today, with baby in hand, we made the journey to the Birkenstock factory outlet. SHOES. Manna for the soul. As we approach the door, no longer is W. willing to hold hands. As shoes come into sight, baby is thrown to the side and a mad dash has commenced to the racks. There are so many colors and sizes, it is now a question of how can she get more then two shoes on her feet. This simple problem is solved by layering. I did not know of this shopping technique before, but I am thankful that I have such a willing teacher to show me. Today we spent only an hour looking at all the sole food that was offered, but the hour was well spent. With a new pair of sandals, all is right in the world again for W.. Store leaving induced seizures are a thing of the past, and a pleasant afternoon can now be had by all.
Since we were driving by Koln on our way home, I thought it would be a good idea to stop and show Nana and Pop the cathedral (Dom) and see what the Chocolate museum had to offer. We were not disappointed in either avenue. The Dom is one of the few buildings that was left standing when the bombs stopped falling in 1945. 90% of Koln was leveled, but thankfully, this beautiful building was spared. About a mile down the road is the Lindt chocolate museum. Where if you're looking for some hot (or cold) chocolate to knock your socks of, you've come home. I have never had hot chocolate like the liquid pleasure the cafe at Lindt serves. And today I was not let down. We ordered Eis trinkchocolade and Eis kaffe, with of course chocolate cake. The Eis trinkchocolade is like drinking the silkiest smoothest chocolate topped with gain ten pounds on your hips cream and small orbits of ice cream. Heaven. Too bad W. decided that now was the time for a nap. I took one for the team though, and finished the whole beverage myself.
Not too bad having the parents come for a visit. Tomorrow I've got Pop installing screens on the windows, and Nana sewing some curtains. I think I'll keep these folks around, they're quite handy, and fun too!