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A day-trip to Ghent Belgium with kids. |

Rain or shine, a day-trip to Ghent is good.

We’ve been in Belgium now only two weeks and I’m already feeling the push to start traveling. I mean, Europe is so vast, how on earth will we see it all in just three short years? And what if for some reason we’re only here two years? The struggle is real.

We’re starting small with a few day very manageable day-trips. Fortunately for us, living in Brussels means that there is SO VERY MUCH to see and do within an hour or two car drive. So saturday morning, we headed to Ghent, Belgium – just an hour and a half from home.

ghent canal

A few things worth noting. This was our very first “adventure”, and I learned a lot about family travel in Europe in just one attempt.

1. Just because it’s sunny at home when you leave does not mean it will be sunny and warm at your destination. We worn shorts, t-shirts, ect. heck, I packed sunscreen. The reality was that it was cold and rainy the whole day, even though we were just 90 minutes up the road. Next time we all leave the home with sweatshirts and rain jackets, at least packed away in the car. Oh, and an umbrella or two would have been nice.

2. Have a plan that includes where to park. Sure, I planned what we were going to do, and where we were going to eat, but knowing where to park trumps everything else on the agenda. Learned that one the hard way.

3. Take enough cash. Unlike the US, where you can plop down your credit card for almost everything, that’s not the case here in Europe. More than a few times we’ve tried to pay with our card, only to be told they take cash only. Michael learned this the hard (and embarrassing way) a few weeks back…

wet kids

Ok, on with the day.

Like I mentioned above, we dressed ourselves and our four children totally inappropriately for the day. Michael and I had hoodies (which we rotated through the kids), but everyone else was dressed as if they still lived in hot and sweaty Indiana. The plan was to visit Gravensteen, a medieval castle located right in the center of the city – but with the tourist crowds and the cruddy weather, we decided to skip it and just seek shelter instead. Moving on was probably a good choice, although I know Gage would have really gotten a kick out of the tour, given his current fascination with swords and anything medieval (emphases on the “evil”).

medevil castle

Seeking lunch felt like the perfect next step. And since eating in Europe with six people is almost always a budget-bender, we headed to a place called Pizza Gulhan, known for not only their affordability but quality as well. You guys, best idea ever. Perfect for kids, amazing food, and our family of six walked out of the place completely full for only 25 euros. And yes, we even had a couple drinks.

the pizza and the egg

Soft eggs on your pie? Go for it, you won’t be sad. At the end of the meal, the kids were treated to Turkish Delight (with mixed reviews, Paul scarfed it up), and Michael and I enjoyed complimentary after-dinner drinks of some unidentifiable orange dessert liqueur. Whatever it was, gimme moar.

turkish delight(holding it up like it’s the freakin’ Lion King or something)

Since it was (still!) raining, after lunch, we decided to call it a short day and head back to the car by way of Ghent’s famous graffiti alley, Werregarenstraat. The kids were impressed, and maybe a little bit inspired too.

graffiti row

Overall, it was a bummer that it rained on our fist attempt at European travel, but we still had a blast. We will be back, probably sooner than later, and hopefully the sun (or at least dry weather) will be on our side.




  1. So fun- my best memories from living in Europe revolve around our (many) weekend adventures. My parents joke that we have tourist umbrellas from everywhere in Europe…which you can take as advice to always have a few in your car. We also became huge picnic people. Mom had a neat basket she’d fill up and we’d find a grassy area to enjoy crackers, cheese, fruit, sandwiches, etc. – made daytrips much less pricey and the kids got to run around and stretch our legs. I’m so jealous of your fun!


  2. I’m so glad you’re blogging all these little bits. I love them.
    I love Turkish Delight, but I have to go to specialty stores to find it. And I bet that Turkish Delight was 10,000 times better than any I’ve had. Paul looks like he would sell out his siblings to the White Witch for a box of it, at any rate.
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  3. Oh I love it. And we learned quickly that Oregon is a lot like that, too (minus the castles)- the coast is SO different in temps and weather than even 20 minutes inland. Layers. I could live out of my car now by what it’s stocked with because… you learn from these fun adventures! I love your photos!

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  4. I am so looking forward to hearing of your travels! And of course the food 😀
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  5. Your posts are bringing back sooo many memories for me. We did the same thing back in 85 when we lived in Eindhoven for six months. When I think back on the crazy trips driving through Paris and the Swiss Alps I wonder at our fortitude, especially dragging along a six year old and two year with constant diarrhea. Good times, good times. I can remember puzzling out all the parking lots which needed tokens but where are the tokens purchased? We felt like victors when we finally figured that out! Also also all the road signage whizzing by with me trying to look up the words in our trusty dictionary on the fly. Ha ha ausfarht what????? Keep smiling and enjoy all the little things – it all goes by in a blur.


  6. So jealous! We lived in Germany for six months when my daughter was two (she’s five now)- and the weekends we wandered were the best. Brugge, Belgium was one of my favorites. 🙂


  7. So glad you and your family made it safely to Belgium and are getting settled in. Also glad to read the past couple blog posts!! Look forward to hearing about your adventures overseas.


  8. This was fun – love the pictures!! Can’t wait to see more 🙂


  9. What fun! We are SO dependent on our credit cards here. I learned that the hard way when we went to Paris last year too.

    And Turkish delight is NOTHING like the aplets and cotlets that we have here that are supposedly based on it!
    Krista recently posted..Odyssey Adventure Club Back to School iPad Mini Giveaway


  10. I’d go to Ghent rain or shine too! 😉 So glad you all are enjoying your new home. And so glad I get to follow along with your adventures! 🙂


  11. Remember that one time when I was really good at keeping up with the blogs I loved and then somehow just started sucking at stuff? Stuff like packing lunches and reading blogs and oh, I dont’ know, getting dressed and stuff? And then, HOLY CRAP, I finally got my computer fixed and found your blog back and now you’re all like, IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY?

    Remember that?

    Yeah, I’m awesome. Congrats on the big move. You made it! I’m proud. Now if only I could get my own crap together…


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