So 2.5 Moose picked up an additional 2 Moozes at the airport this morning. While at the airport, Justin went off to switch our little hybrid for a van to hold the 4.5 of us and our luggage. I'm standing in the parking lot waiting and guarding our stuff when in comes this giant bus. When I say giant bus, I meant GIANT. It's over a foot above all other cars in the parking lots, including all SUVs and other vans, and is the length of 2 cars. I'm not sure at which point Justin received the keys to this bus and thought "hey, this will do" and off he went to pick me up on a different floor. Even navigating the turns in the parking lot, he had to do 13 point turns in order to be able to fit between the rows of cars, we also watched another guy trying to park his and scrape the entire roof. Justin was packing it up and was able to roll our stroller in, full of bags and completely unfolded, straight into the trunk and it was still half empty - that's when my anxiety kicked in and there was no way in hell we're taking this monstrosity out of the parking lot. So we went back to the front desk to ask if there was anything decent available and got a normal sized SUV instead, phew.
Everyone was all set, we all fit in the car, and off we went, stoked to hit Namur. If you've been following the blog so far, you may recall Namur is where we had our 5 Beyonces-rated-waffle 2 years ago. We were so nervous, at this point, thinking we've built up this waffle so big in our heads that it will be disappointing and we dragged the other 2 Moozes here for nothing.
It.Was.Not.For.Nothing. Not only was it 5 Beyonces, everyone unanimously agreed to throw in a Jay-Z into the rating too. It was very much everything we remembered and tasted exactly as we had recalled. We grabbed our waffles and wandered down to the canal/river. We were melting from the 5 minute walk and were desperate for shade but the only shade was under a patio umbrella, so we were now forced to get beers. Aw, shucks. Worked out seeing as we needed a bathroom break, a mini baby bath, a meds upping break, and even had a mini laundry malfunction crisis as the baby got her leg into my melted chocolate and rubbed it all over my white shirt.
We enjoyed our little break, got back in the car where everyone smelled pretty......ripe. Baby wanted nothing to do with us by now, but passed out as soon as we hit the road. We continued our way down South and made our way to Dinant. It's considered one of the nicest towns in Belgium, was absolutely stunning, had a fairly large war memorial, and, fun fact, is also the birthplace of the guy who invented the saxophone.
It was a stunning hillside-riverside resort-like town with everything you'd imagine: the churches, the fortress, curvy bridges, the restaurants, old buildings, new and quite colourful. I used to give Justin the "hurry up" look with his camera, and now we had another photographer in our group, so between the two of them, it took a little while to move short distances. From here on out, until the end of the trip, the blog will contain a combo of photos from the two of them. See if you can distinguish the styles.
This was a pretty significant town in the Great War as it was occupied by Germans pretty much right from the beginning, August 23, 1914. They initially executed the French forces that were here, but it wasn't long before they started executing civilians starting with shootings that killed 10, and increasing to mass shootings killing 107 at a time. A total of 647 civilians were executed here including women and babies. By the end, they had gathered what civilians were left, separated the men and women and sent them off to concentration camps where most of them didn't come back from. Such a small town, hard to imagine what was left at the time in terms of people, especially seeing the pictures of this entire town in entire rubble. Just piles of ash and dust. And the way the plaques were laid out, you can see the picture of the rubble with a standing building beside it, and look up to see the building amongst the rest of the currently lively town.
This stop came to an end and we had to make an executive decision on our next stop. Initially, the plan was to hit the airbnb via Luxembourg. However, with the delay in customs, the car exchange fiasco, and longer stop in Namur and Dinant, we wouldn't be checking in until late evening if we went further south, so we decided to do one more pit stop at another Trappist brewery in Rochefort. We got there and there was no restaurant, it was just the monastery; all the doors closed and a sign of something something currently praying something something according to our rough translation. We looked lost for a little while and weren't sure what to do since we drove out here, but there was a giant knocking ring on the door that just begged to be used, so we used it. A monk opened the door; no english, no french, not even dutch - we picked up the word cerveza, so all started nodding like dodos "si! si! si!". He opened the door wider and waved us in and we shuffled in, not entirely sure where we're being led. Some of us thought we were going for a tasting, some thought a tour of the opened portion of the monastery. Instead, we were all led to the admin office and had various sized beer cases placed in front of us as we played charades trying to figure out how much each one was and what we wanted to take away. We bought ourselves a case and excited we met a monk after we spent the car-ride debating whether monks are bald or hairy, bare-chested or bear-chested. Don't ask, but it occupied us for quite some time. In case you're wandering, he was neither bald nor furry.
We helped ourselves to an exterior tour of the property before we jumped in the car and drove 2.5 hours to our Airbnb in Plaidt, a small town near the Rhine. Justin and I totally had deja vu driving and were recognizing some of the landmarks/freeway overpasses/signs which was really neat and took us back.
Crossing over into Germany, Justin and I loved the AUSFART signs at every offramp (we learned it means "exit") during the Mongol Rally and, just like last time, we got way too excited every time we drove by one, so all 4 of us would just yell AUSFART every time we drove by one because we're all super mature.
We all got pretty excited en route to the Airbnb because just the countryside views alone were unreal and looked like something out of a fairy tale, and we weren't even at the Rhine or the "touristy" towns.
We checked in to our awesome Airbnb where the owner greeted us and even offered to come with us to the market to give us a tour through town. We ended up hitting up the market for a nice easy spread and munched our way to bed, but not before being surprised by the boys with some kinder eggs, because Germany.