We were away, this past weekend, for Luuk’s maternal family reunion in Beuningen, in the Netherlands. But we’re trying to see a bit of Europe while we’re living in France, so we took in a Belgium delight en route: neither chocolate nor waffle, but Gent, a city which offers both, as well as churches by the mile, and a fabulous castle…

castillo candes, Gent

The Count’s Castle, in Gent.

Elena, taking up arms

Elena, perched at the wall, ready for action.

a defensive position, in Gent's Count's castle

The view from the battlements.

the square opposite Gent's count's castle

The square opposite the castle: boasting an old money mint and a fish market.

view of Gent

The city of Gent

count's castle, gent, Belgium

The count’s castle was great to explore, though a little precarious in places with the kids: wonky spiral stair cases and high ledges without balustrades… Still, very imposing. The castle houses museum-like displays of armour, weaponry, and torture methods. Elena wanted to comfort the manequin on the rack.

We enjoyed walking around this scenic city and most of the rain fell while we were inside the St Bavo Cathedral, a very impressive church, which doesn’t like to have its photo taken.

bridge over the leie, GentOne of the bridges over, I believe, the Leie (river? canal? not sure)

exploring Gent

Louis wasn’t impressed by the weather.

end of an alley in GentBut there were cool views hiding at the ends of alley ways and that helped us rally something of the explorer spirit.

We drove on to the Netherlands on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday it was Perry Day! This is an annual family reunion that Luuk hasn’t been to in 8 years, and me never. Lots of new names and faces and some of them pretty challenging for my poor pronunciation skills (that dutch ‘G’ gets me good.) But there were a few familiar faces and the kids had a wonderful time with loads of their cousins.

cousins, and cousins Elena making friends with the only baby younger than her.

family reunion

The sun came out in time for beer-o’clock. Perfect.

music and cards

Music and cards, a real party.

trampolining with dadLouis and Luuk trampolining after all the big kids had gone home.

I was fighting (a losing battle) with a head cold all weekend but held it off with weak-sauce drugs for the party. It made travelling a bit miserable but the kids did well and we took a few liberal breaks for food and play on the way home, which nicely brought us into Paris late enough to avoid carnage on the périphérique… almost.