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Saturday, April 05, 2014


Barcelona has it all - friendly people, spectacular architecture, history, good food, and a great soccer team!  Oh, and it's on the Mediterranean Sea!  Our first experience in Spain (Basque country) came with a couple of letdowns in regards to food and people.  Our mind was changed in Barcelona.  It does NOT disappoint!

 We got to go to an FC Barcelona soccer game.  It was the game where Leo Messi broke the all-time scoring record for FC Barcelona.  It was a fun experience (Sebastien was loving it!).

 Barcelona was full of grand avenues - reminded us of Paris.

 Our hotel - Hotel Casa Fuster

 This is a glimpse of La Sagrada Familia Basilica.  It looks like a fairy tale.  The famous architect, Antoni Gaudi began working on this basilica in 1882.  He worked on the basilica, actually living in the space, until his death in 1926.  They are still building the basilica!  As you look at the photographs below, you will understand.  It is breath-taking!

 The play with perfect lighting - not too little, not too much - was awesome 
(I am using the word correctly here!)

 This side of La Sagrada Familia reminds me of the drip sandcastles that me and my sister used to make.

 Did I mention Barcelona is on the sea??

 Along one section of the beach, there is a row of restaurants and night clubs.  
It is a perfect spot for sangria!

 This is another piece of work by Gaudi.  A wealthy textile family hired Gaudi to design their home.

 Again, you can see how Gaudi was inspired by patterns in nature and light.  This is a 4 or 5 story opening to a massive skylight.


 Now, to the food!  Of course, Spain is known for its tapas.  We ate tapas 3 out or 4 nights.  It was easy to indulge, especially the cured hams!

 On our last day, we headed a little outside of the city to do a cava tasting.  Cava is another name for champagne or sparkling wine.  Sparkling wine can only be called "champange" if it is made in the Champagne region of France.  Cava is from Spain.  We toured the Freixenet vineyard.  You can find Freixenet, often in a black bottle, in most wine stores in the U.S.  The business is still family-owned.

 Crazy fact - The caves, storing areas, in Freixenet hold on average 
over 100 million bottles of cava at a time!

Barcelona - We highly recommend!

Monday, January 06, 2014

New Year's in Belgium

Sebastien and I left the weekend after Christmas to spend New Year's in Belgium.  We spent  the week with family - eating and eating and eating some more!  It was a fun, chill week.

Our friends, Amelia and Per-Ole, from our church were in Europe visiting family too.  We met up with the Linds the day we arrived in Brugge.  As always, Brugge was picturesque.  We lucked out with sunshine all day, which is not the norm for Belgium in winter.  Sebastien and I are thankful for the Linds and enjoyed spending a special day together.

 P.O. took some amazing pictures, and I am thankful he shared this one.   We were waiting on a bridge that leads to the monastery.

On New Year's Eve, we went to Pascal's house for a Demoiny reveillon.  It was a great time with absolutely divine food, drinks, family pictures, and karaoke!  We got home around 3:30 am.

 Cousins - Pascal, Sebastien, Sophie, Raphael, & Valerie

 Brothers - Jacques & Paul

On New Year's Day, we headed to Hastiere to visit Sebastien's grandparents.  In Belgium on New Year's Day, it is customary to have a family meal - often a raclette and to bring flowers to one another.

 Crazy Cousins - It is rare to see Lorien looking crazy and Bastien appearing calm:)

On Saturday, Sophie took us to Antwerp.  It was the first time that I have visited this city, and it was beautiful!  Antwerp is well-known for its port, especially for diamonds.  It lies in Flanders, the Flemish (Dutch) speaking part of Belgium.  Interesting fact - Most Belgian cities have a Flemish and a French name.  Sebastien's family calls Antwerp, "Anvers" (Antwerppen in Flemish).

I love this picture (thank you, PO)!  I feel like it typifies me and Sebastien as a couple together - city, travel, walking to explore.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

We spent Christmas in Tennessee celebrating with family.  Sebastien's uncle, Philippe, recently moved to Canada, and he came down to Jefferson City to spend Christmas with us.  On Christmas Eve, Sebastien and I hosted the traditional reveillon with five courses!  

 Sebastien finally broke out the Margaux!

 Anne-Marie & Philippe

 Our friends Jen & Thomas spent Christmas Eve with us.  Jen made beef short ribs that were divine!

 Deep Fried Turkey - I think it has become a tradition.

 Homemade Chocolate Mousse

On Christmas Day, Sebastien and I headed over to my Mom & Dad's new house.  Dad's family came over for finger foods (enough to feed 100 people).  We flipped through old photographs of my grandmother's and made fun of one another all afternoon:)

 Danny & Devah


 Darren checking out what Kate will look like in 40 years :)

Merry Christmas to All!