Tyne Cot Cemetery Belgium

Pops at the Tyne Cot Memorial Cemetery in Passendale, Belgium
They made it! 
Finally, Chris' grandparents, his aunties, Elizabeth and Christy, and Christy's son, Jake, made it to Europe after two days of dodging tornados in Atlanta. They missed London, but thankfully they didn't miss out on their entire vacation. "The stranded five" arrived into Brussels several hours before we were scheduled to arrive in Belgium.  It was impossible to switch our tickets, and I felt a little anxious about them arriving into Belgium without Chris or I there to welcome them. I called our friend, Bert, and without hesitation, he offered to do whatever I needed to help make "the stranded five" feel a little bit more comfortable. What a blessing it was to have Bert there! Our family made their way from Brussels to Roeselare, and in our little city, they found Bert with a box of Belgian chocolates in hand ready to welcome five weary, stinky, American travelers.

After such an ordeal, naturally, their luggage didn't arrive with them. It was promised that the luggage would arrive the following day, but in the meantime we had plans! We washed the clothes that "the stranded five" had been wearing for two days straight, ordered pizza and just enjoyed being with family for the evening. Everyone was relieved to finally be together as planned, and at the end of the evening, the weary travelers were more than happy to retire to comfortable accommodation at R&Breakfast. 

In the morning, we were accompanied by five of our Belgian friends to the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Passendale, Belgium. The cemetery is built on the important western front of the First World War and is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. It's quite humbling to walk through the museum and the graves themselves and try to grasp the complete devastation of the landscape and such overwelming loss of life. 


London With the McCoys

Mom and Dad McCoy in London, England
For almost a year, Chris and I had been planning a grand European adventure with his entire family. After countless Skype-planning-sessions, and way too many hours scanning Trip Advisor reviews, the European ininerary was set, hotels were booked, vans secured, restaurant reservations (for 11) made, and train tickets were booked for nine of Chris' family members. Everything seemed to be perfectly planned for their first trip to Europe. . . 

Well, everything that is except for the TORNADO! No one really planned on that happening! When the day finally came for the family to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Chris' parents, brother and Claire (Chris' brother's girlfriend) made their way to London to meet up with us. The other half of the family had purchased Delta flights out of Atlanta, and that's where the little problem of the tornado happened to be. Weather is a funny thing that no one can predict or control, but she sure does have a way of completely derailing well planned trips in no time. 

There was nothing that anyone could do. It was just one of those major travel mishaps; the sort of mishap that Chris and I have never experienced in our two years of galavanting through Europe. I so wish that it had not happened to Chris' dear grandparents, his two aunts and his cousin . . .  but it did. "The stranded five" waited around for two days in the Atlanta airport without luggage and without very much sympathy from Delta. One Delta member even suggested they purchase new tickets to London or just give up and go home. Finally, a sweet ticket agent took pity on them and rerouted them through to Belgium. Once "the stranded five" finally got to Europe, they had missed their whole trip to London. 


The Moments We Don't Want to Forget

{ Where has this summer gone?! }

It seems that just yesterday I was unpacking our summer clothes and wondering if our sweaters and rain boots should still be easily accessible. Suddenly, the glorious sunshine seems to disappear just a little bit earlier each evening, our mini fan isn't getting quite as much use, dinner on the terrace requires a light jacket, and I'm beginning to wonder where I packed those sweaters and rain boots. I'm so not ready to say goodbye to summer. 

For all of the rain and freezing weather that Belgium experiences, when summer eventually rolls around, it's easy to forget the miserable winter that was. Like proper Belgian's (are we there yet?), we packed as much as possible into our first full summer in Roeselare. Chris and I were so busy simply enjoying the season with friends and family, that this little blog was harshly neglected. I just realized that there are several months that haven't been documented at all, and I must get back to blogging because I too quickly forget the details as life rolls on. 

{ Here's a mini recap of our Belgian summer }