Just a couple of days before Christmas and we are aware that Maggie will not be on the move. So, Derek and Amy let us use their artsy apartment in Antwerp for the actual holidays. A few trains and a bus later we arrive. As we walk into the building of our artist loft ‘home for the holidays’ we are greeted by a large white stone statue of a reclining nude woman. The small elevator is lined with a mural of more women. Enormous paintings line the generously sized halls. Our friends loft is filled with enticements to creativity. Only the necessities, really, a collection of guitars along one wall, party noisemakers on the mantle, random art supplies and a trappist ale in the fridge. Thanks Derek and Amy. The kids want a tree. Because it is the day before Christmas Eve trees are cheap. We don’t have a tree stand so we tie the top of the tree to the balcony and have a ‘suspended tree’. We get some lights and decorate the tree with chocolate, cheese, sausages, tiny waffles and a couple of marzipan pigs, of course. More Christmas markets mean more gluhwein, gourmet hot chocolate, chips with creamy garlic sauce and waffles. TJ remembers a special sweetie from last time we were in Antwerp with the truck. We remember they are little purple cones with a liquid centre. After a bit of exploring along the tiny streets and in the winter markets nearby and we find them. They are called ‘Cuberdons’ or ‘red noses’. They tend not to export them because of the limited shelf life (6 weeks) and the claim that only about 6 people, have the recipe. You see, the liquid centres chrystalise quite quickly. We have Christmas with just the 4 of us. For New Years, some friends come for a visit. We down to the river with the masses to watch the fireworks. They go. We stay for “Three Kings Day” where minature kings line the streets and sing. We go. Back to the Tooth Palace.
Told a story today about getting rid of trash while wild camping in Antwerp. Thought I would tell it here as well.
First of all, travel tip, dont use big bin bags. Small carrier bags are easier to get rid of when wild camping.
So here we are in Antwerp. We had just done a big clearout and there are no large bins around. We had an assortment of bags of recyclables and trash. We all got on our bikes with a bag or 2 of trash on each bikes handlebars. We new of 3 places with bins. We took off to these 3 destinations with a prearranged rendezvous point. As we took off in our 3 different directions we looked like a scene out of some bizarre old kids movie like goonies or something. I must state that Liz did not fare quite so good at the descreet part of the whole operation. I look back from the recycle bins I had just been using to see a guilty and distressed smile on Lizzy’s face as she desperately tried to shove her small bag into an even smaller hole in the park trash container. Well, I guess you had to be there.
In Belgium on our way to Antwerp Liz practising her sax while staying at another Stellplatz (Legal, free camping)
We met the band, “the Dump Brothers”. They had their rehearsal outside our truck and taught Liz one of their songs and let her join in for the rehearsal. Way to go Lizzie after only 2 weeks of playing she is in a band.
More hanging out with the “Dump brothers” (and sister). TJ loved Charlie the baby.
Dump brothers (Oly and Saar) and friends outside their off grid house. Palo, the wild hungarian, showing Andrew how to make gulash.
We introduced smores to them.
We found some scrap wood that looked like shields so we painted them.
The pool and a low tech wave machine.
Everybody wanted a haircut just like Hannah’s haircut. Me and Paulo obliged.
Oly says they should try to look tough for the photo.
Saying goodbye before we go our separate ways.