This past week, my parents came to visit, which was a lot of fun. They arrived on Wednesday, the 7th, in Leuven. I walked them around and got lunch with them at a restaurant, and then we got dinners and beers at a restaurant on the Munstraat. After downing one too many Belgian beers in far too short of a period, my mom stumbled into the street and was laughing too hard to take a picture with me. It was hilarious. I don't think that anybody is prepared to drink beers that are anywhere from 7-12 percent alcohol. They expect our beers to be like any other beers- 4 or 5 percent. I think my dad was a little bit tipsy also. Regardless, I think they both enjoyed the beer and the mussels we had for dinner ( a Belgian specialty).
On Thursday, my parents hung out while I went to class. During the evening, we went out for drinks and then ate dinner at an Italian place with all of the Leuven kids. Everybody was really grateful for the dinner, considering that we live off of spaghetti, bread, and cheese most of the time.
On Friday, we went to Brugge. Because Loyola took us on a trip here in September, I knew the town a little bit and was able to navigate us to some pretty places. However, it was pouring down rain and we tried to stop into as many chocolate stores as possible to get warm ( and obviously eat chocolate). My mom was amazed at how much chocolate there was and also how cute the town was. I think she bought a little too much chocolate though. She got all of her christmas shopping done in one day, much to the dismay of my dad, who constantly nagged us to go to the pubs. At the end of the day, I took them to this awesome pub that our director showed us last time we went. It had a lot of trappist beers and other unique Belgian beers. My dad definately liked this part of the trip. We made friends with some British people that night, who warned us that British beers are nothing compared to Belgian beers ( hence, why they were there)
On Saturday, we left for London. Looking back, I can't believe that my parents actually did all of this. It certainly seems crazy. I give them a lot of credit for being almost 50 and trekking around Europe. London was everything that people claim it to be. It was really touristy, but soooo cool. I loved all of the history to it and all of the original pubs. I also really liked the accents! When we first arrived, we went to the Portobello Market, which is an antique market held on Saturdays in Notting Hill. I loooooved it! I got some presents for people there and then I had a few drinks with my parents. After this, we walked to kensington Palace and gardens. We saw the statue of Peter Pan , which made me really happy. I love the story of Peter Pan and the movies about it, such as" Hook" and "Finding Neverland". The sun was setting when we walked through the gardens, so it was really beautiful. That night, we got dinner close by and then crashed early.
On Sunday, we saw a lot. We took the tube to the Globe Theatre, took a tour of that, took a tube to St. Pauls, and saw a Remembrance Day Procession. There were a lot of older men walking out with old fashioned tuxedos on. I was really moved by all of this and it was incredible that we had the opporunity to see Harry Patch- the 109 year old War War 1 Veteran that was honored that day. After going to half of an Anglican Mass, we walked to the Charles Dickens Inn for some fish and chips. I could eat fish and chips everyday. Then we walked to the tube and went to Baker Street to the fictitious house of Sherlock Holmes. Although it wasn't much of anything, it was cool to get a picture by the door of 221b Baker Street, being the literary nerd that I am. That night, we went to this really cool pub that was tucked away and hard to find. I think it was called "The Grenadier". There were a bunch of soliders inside, due to Remembrance Day, and in addition, it was the pub that the soliders went to that fought against Napoleon. It seemed a little bit haunted, but also really neat. This area was the residence of some famous authors, such as T.S. Elliot and Mary Shelley, which was pretty cool ( once again, a literary reference).
On Monday, we went to Westminster Abbey and the Parliament. Then we went to a pub and I got fish and chips again. After this, we went to Buckingham Palace and then Picadilly Circus. We were going to go to The British Library Galleries, where they had original manuscripts by Jane Austen and Shakespeare on display, but my mom was going too slow and got shut into the tube, so my dad and I had to meet my mom at the next stop. I was so tired and fed up and we all decided that we had to eliminate one part of the day. So, we decided not to do that, which, looking back, was probably the wrong decision. That night, we headed to Harrod's and shopped there for awhile. Most of it was ridiculously expensive, but it was cool to see the store. It was honestly the most outrageous place I have ever been. I was blown away. The food halls were incredible. They had every kind of food you could imagine and everything else as well. I felt like I was in Willy Wonka's factory or something. We had sushi there that night. It was sad to leave my parents at the end, but it was a great. I had an awesome time and Id love to go back to London.