Our 2018 summer road trip started out in Saratoga Springs… (more text coming).
I can’t remember ever having as much warm and sunny weather in Denmark as we’ve had for the past two months, so it’s been extraordinarily difficult to go inside and sit by the computer. School is over, though, and it won’t be long before we head out on another road trip, which means that very soon there will be well over thousands of pictures to sort through. Hence, if I don’t get caught up now, I will probably never get caught up. On this premise, I have posted more than fifteen posts starting from the beginning of the year. The text is work in progress, so please have patience with me while you enjoy these pictures of the two guinea pigs that we were guinea pig sitting in June. They are stinky little creatures but so soft and cute, and we had loads of fun and good times with them.
For Father’s Day the kids surprised Shawn with a morning picnic outside in the yard as it was a bright sunny morning. Elliot blindfolded him with his hands and Sienna directed him to the correct position to ensure the surprise was unveiled at the right moment. The kids prepared the pancakes all on their own and had also made cute stone art as gifts.
The forecast was calling for another nice weekend so Shawn suggested we take a trip to an old historic water mill café. We had previously visited the place with Shawn’s mom and this time we invited my mom along for brunch. We did a walk through the surrounding forest and went to the beach afterwards, taking in the nice views of Kronborg castle in the back ground.
Homemade birthday cupcakes for Sienna’s class, a dangerously leaning tree in the process of coming down with my brother Jacobs help, Elliot working hard on homework and on power washing the driveway, Elliot sporting his own design (a custom made ‘Stop Dabbing Be Happy’ sweatshirt) and also a picture where he is all dressed up for a party at school, and kids/cousins/uncles relaxing and playing various games..
We took a family day trip out to Stevns Klint which is a UNESCO world heritage site. We explored the cliffs and natural chalk, including an old church which half fell into the sea about a hundred years ago. We then took a walk to an old lighthouse in the area which offered some magnificent views and afterwards we headed to a cold war museum as this area was once an active military base defending against any potential attack from the USSR. Elliot tried to avoid being detected by the radar, but was not as stealthy as he would have liked!
For Mother’s Day we went on one of the family’s favourite forest walks. We brought along my mom to enjoy a beautiful day in the forest and to see if we could show her some of the little creatures that we normally find in this place, primarily tadpoles. The metamorphosis of the tadpoles is fast and influenced by many factors, so although we try to get the timing right we never know if we are going to find tadpoles or frogs. Although we visited earlier than last year we were not able find any tadpoles this time, only baby frogs and a salamander. We had fun guessing how long one of the baby frogs could hold its breath and Elliot also got himself a pet frog, which didn’t seem the least bit upset that I had unknowingly placed the picnic blanket on top of it.
Every year I try to make sure that we make it to the forest in time to see all the anemones and green leaves come out. We had a nice little picnic in the sun and afterwards we went through the bog, which recently had a walkway built over it. We liked this new addition to the area as it gave us a better chance to explore and see new things (in the one picture that doesn’t really look like anything you can see parts of a black adder if you look really close and use your imagination). Elliot didn’t believe you could sink down into the bog but when he had the chance to get a closer look upside down, he decided he did not want to try and find out!
On our last day in Brussels Sienna turned twelve. We celebrated her birthday at a little brunch place called “Oma’s”. Sienna had been hesitant to break her life-long tradition of going to Tivoli with mormor on her birthday, so Elliot and I put extra thought and attention into ensuring that she still felt like it was a special day. As it is very clear from the pictures, Elliot hit spot on with the present that he had gotten for her. The food was good too, although they were very cheap with the pastries so Sienna and I made sure to fill up on an excellent Crème Brûlée.
Brussels is full of museums and we checked out some of the ones the kids put on their to do list. There was a really cool train museum showing the history of the railroads in northern Europe with some huge locomotives you could climb on and explore. We also visited a car museum with cars from the Model T era to present time. On our last day we visited Halle Gate, a more than 600 years old monument which houses a permanent presentation dedicated to the medieval City of Brussels. After Halle Gate we headed to the Museum of Natural Science which had a rather large collection of dinosaur skeletons, including the Cryolophosaurus ellioti which Elliot got a kick out of being named after. One of our very last stops on the trip was the Manneken Pis, a little statue of a boy peeing into a fountain. A consistent swarm of tourists taking pictures in front of the statue testifies to the fact that this little guy from 1619 is one of the most famous tourist stops in Brussels, believe it or not. His little sister, Jeanneke Pis, is by no means as popular, but we happened to pass by her during our explorations of the city.
We lucked out on the weather which beforehand was warning of showers throughout the day. So we had good opportunities to explore the many cultural and green areas of the city.
After our visit to the Atomium we went to the Grand Place, the biggest tourist destination of the city. It is the historical trading square and political center of the city and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. Surrounding the square are many old guild houses which are decorated with gold trimmings and carved statues. Along many of the side streets we found all kinds of Belgian treats, including waffles, chocolates, Belgian french fries, and a few other hard to pronounce delicacies. For once, the kids were eager to try out the local specialties.
Before departing for Brussels we asked the kids to do some research about the city and find out which attractions they would like to visit. On the first day, we started early and headed to Elliots #1 destination, the Atomium. The Atomium was built in 1958 for the World fair to showcase the technological achievements made by science and industry in Belgium. We were able to climb around in many of the spheres where different exhibitions were setup, and we got great views of the surrounding area from the top. Outside the Atomium was a large park area where we walked around and experienced some of the local Brussels wildlife.
Whereas Sienna can do magic in the kitchen, Elliot has always been quite the handy man outside. He mows the lawn, trims the hedge, and collects yard waste. Here he is featured doing some spring cleaning. The other pictures are from when my parents came for our traditional Easter lunch/dinner, plus our yearly visit to my grandma’s grave. Finally, there are some pictures from a family tournament at Elliot’s badminton club.