Tag Archives: Road trip

Macarons and Nudges: Road-trip from Belgium to France

Being able to visit family who live thousands of miles away, incidentally also due to the oil and gas industry (which happens to run so deeply in our growing family) is undeniably one of the major perks of a rotation based schedule, especially as a trailing expat wife.  When we first arrived in Calgary, my husband was needed on site for a full four weeks. I decided to take advantage and travel to Qatar where my family is currently on assignment. From Doha, we headed to Europe to try to make a memorable vacation out of our time together. Mission accomplished!

Although it’s been more than a few months, I’d like to share some images of my experience before we get too far along in 2013.  My parents, 2 sisters (sadly the 3rd couldn’t join), and I took a week-long road-trip in September 2012 from Belgium to France, stopping along Brussels, Paris, Versailles, Bruges, and Zeebruges along the way and in that order (yes it was a round about kind of detour).  Other than hitting the typical touristy hotspots, here is a short list of must-dos if you ever find yourself in the area:

1. Cycling through Bruges – Bike rentals were at an all time low at just 2 Euros an hour compared to absolutely exorbitant prices in Brussels. (note – the cobble stones make for a beautifully scenic yet bumpy ride. But there’s no better way to get from delicious chocolate shop to chocolate shop over several canals in this quaint little city.)

Bruges, Belgium. September 2012

Bruges, Belgium. September 2012

2. Mussels in Zeebruges – They will be fantastic anywhere in Belgium, but do not miss out on eating this local delicacy by the beach at Zeebruges.

Mussels in Zeebruges, 2012

Mussels in Zeebruges, 2012

3. Windmills – Touring an ancient windmill that still functions as a working flour mill in the Belgian countryside will be a guaranteed unforgettable experience.

Belgian Windmill, 2012

Belgian Windmill, 2012

Cuddling Belgian Horses

Pretty horses cuddling in the shadow of the mill.

4. Parisian Cafes and Boutiques – Step away from the bustling attractions and experience local flare. Shop or eat at unique little places as you walk in the rain.

Parisian Breakfast

Scrumptious raspberry concoction for breakfast in Paris.

There’s something so sublimely joyful when, as an adult, you’re able to relive your childhood memories of fighting over an inch of leg room in the back of a packed car or whose job it is to man the iPod. I’ll never forget my fond memories of elbow nudges while munching over Ladurée macarons on this autumn trip.

I couldn’t help but think of my poor hubby thousands of miles away working on a camp site, forging forward with his career as I toured the sites. One of our phone conversations went a little something like this:

“We went to the Eiffel Tower today but I actually didn’t get a chance to go up…” 

“…I see.. So I guess we’re going back then?” 

“Honey, you read my mind!” 🙂 

Parisian Skyline

Parisian Skyline

Beautiful Brussels, 2012

Beautiful Brussels, 2012

Belgian Chocolates

Belgian Chocolates

Gardens at Versailles, September 2012

Gardens at Versailles, September 2012

Interior of our Boutique Hotel in Paris

Interior of our Boutique Hotel in Paris


Rockies Road Trip

Rockies Road Trip

Just starting off.

Last week, my husband and I took a road trip through the beautiful Canadian Rockies all the way to Vancouver on the west coast.  After three and a half years of marriage, this was actually the first road trip we’ve ever taken on our own.  We’re talking about some serious quality time after being apart for the last 10 days. For the sake of my marriage, I have learned to suppress my inner backseat driver. My sisters claim it’s done wonders for humanity as well.  But something I cannot and will not even try to suppress is my inner roadside diva. That’s right, I am an absolute belter. I cannot describe how happy it makes me to sing in the car. I am literally content with singing along to all sorts of music for hours.

Shout out to my free-spirited grandmother for introducing me to Mariah Carey at such a young age and encouraging us (all four sisters) to sing along in the car. In tandem. As loud as we could. Moving on.

The trip from Calgary to Vancouver is approximately a 12 hour drive (you could say I was a little parched by the end of it.)  Since we didn’t want to drive in the dark and waste precious opportunities to enjoy the absolutely wondrous scenery, we stopped for the night about half way through in the small ski-resort town of Revelstoke in British Columbia.

Approaching the small rainy resort town of Revelstoke, BC.

Approaching the small, rainy, resort town of Revelstoke, BC.

In the midst of literally belting out Taylor Swift and Beyonce for hours (yes, my husband is an angel), the constant changing weather conditions kept us at the edge of our seats in amazement and made us more than a little nervous sometimes too. We literally drove through snow storms, pouring rain, and bright sunshine all in the span of a couple of hours. Our temperamental mountains were at times either snow-covered, vibrant green, or spattered with warm autumn colors of the most unusual reds, yellows and oranges. We knew it would be amazing, but we clearly underestimated our journey from the number of times our jaws dropped, and stayed dropped, for quite a while.

Snowstorm on HWY 1, British Columbia, Canada

The start of a snowstorm.

Sunshine in British Columbia, Canada

Sunshine just a few kilometers away.

Choosing just a few images for this post was no simple task.  I hope these photos speak more than a thousand words, as I won’t bore my dear readers with the endless details. Suffice it to say, this was the road trip of a lifetime.

Cloudy autumn skies in British Columbia, Canada.

Cloudy autumn skies in British Columbia, Canada.

Canadian Pacific Train in British Columbia

Anyone else get excited by trains?

I know I’ve really been on a Rocky Mountains kick in my last few posts. Thanks for bearing with me on my last ode to this phenomenal part of the world.

Glacier National Park

On our way back to Calgary through Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park

“On the road again. I can’t wait to get on the road again”

Banff National Park

Homestretch.

Banff National Park

Last, but not least.

For anyone interested, Highway 1 was our main route between Calgary and Vancouver, with a few detours here and there. Part of the way, we were fortunate enough to drive along a short segment of the Bow Valley Parkway/Icefields Parkway (HWY 93N), which was actually included in National Geographic Traveler’s list of twenty “drives of a lifetime.”


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