Sunday, July 12, 2009

Belgium Journal, Day 6

12 July 2009, Sunday

Hello Little Ladybug,

Because of our fun-filled, very busy day yesterday, we decided to take it nice and easy today. Your mommy spent some of the day working on the computer and working with the photos, while daddy and you took to the streets and walked around Wuustwezel. Thus, I missed your adventures in town, so daddy is taking over writing the journal today.

The day started with rain and rain and more rain, so we bundled up in our rain-slickers and headed out to downtown Wuustwezel in the stroller. As we walked down one of the main roads, we watched as the rural farmland gave away first to tightly packed residential houses and finally to restaurants and stores in the main downtown. One of the things we noticed was that many homes and businesses where flying yellow flags with a lion on them – the Lion of Flanders – in a celebration of July 11, a Flemish holiday in Belgium. However, it being a late and rainy Sunday – one at the start of a national holiday, no less – the town was mostly empty.

Our main destination was the large brown brick Catholic cathedral in the middle of the village, one with a massive square clock tower/steeple. Unfortunately, the doors to the chapel were firmly locked, so we could not go inside the church. However, we did go around to the backside to discover a large churchyard with row after row of stone crosses, statues, and Flemish headstones. As we walked up and down the rows of graves, some a hundred years old, we talked a little about dying. Eventually you asked, “Why did they all die?” I tried to explain: “Most of these people were very old and very sick.” “Are you going to die, daddy?” you asked. I smiled and tried to comfort you: “Not for long, long time.” You seemed unconvinced: “But you’re old…”

After that, we spent some time writing my will.

After we took a lot of pictures of the church and the cemetery, we went back to the stroller and headed down a dirt bike path through some of the picturesque farmland along the periphery of Wuustwezel. We watched cows graze in the grass and a white-speckled deer make its way along the backside of a barn. Eventually we wound our way back to the center of the city, at which point you’d had enough scenic touring, suggesting that we ought to go back home before promptly falling asleep in your stroller.

We came back home in time for dinner – soup, steak, veggies, and “mashed potato sticks” – before we decided to head out for a second walk, this time with Melanie. She had suggested we might like to see the “Wuustwezel zoo,” a small farm with cows and ponies and goats and chickens and donkeys just up the road a ways. As we headed there, she warned us that it was a “little dirty,” which I assume is Flemish for “extremely foul smelling.”

Really. It stunk. As we got within a half block of the farm, you looked up with a crunched-up nose and announced “It smells here;” as we got closer and closer, the smell got worse and worse, and your face wrinkled up more and more until you were finally covering your nose with both hands like a gasmask, gasping for breath and shouting “Oh, it stinks!” over and over.

We saw several cows, one of whom walked over so you could pet it… but that would require uncovering your nose and risking a whiff of the stinky air, so you passed. The same could be said for the pony that came up to you, or the goat that came up to you, or even the farmer who came out to see you. Eventually, Melanie and I got the hint, and so we packed you back in your stroller and headed home, this time for good. You whiled the last minutes of sunlight singing Abba songs into a lawn sprayer while I pondered the state of your sanity.

Love ya kiddo,

~~Daddy (and mommy too!)

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