Monday, October 2, 2017

Barge Date: 03/09/2017

Wedding Bells

The family is beginning to arrive in Belgium. Aliénor and her husband Trevor have flown in and have been met by the Brussels family. They are off to Ghent and the North Sea for several days. They have rented a car which will come in handy later in the week.

Andy and Christina arrive in Brussels two days later and will be with the Belgians for dinner that evening. 

Aliénor and Trevor travel to Namur to visit the boat and town and we all make a trip to the citadel for pictures and refreshments. I think we had some ice cream too.

Late afternoon, the three of us travel back to Brussels and arrive at my brother and sister-in-law's house about dinner time. Andrew is traveling with Christina, a young lady we have never met. She is an accomplished artist and is a curator at a museum in Pittsburgh

The purpose of the gathering is to have a family meal with the Belgians and Americans with the bride and groom in attendance as well. After some talk and a visit with the new chickens we have a wonderful meal prepared by Monique and Philippe.

One of the events of the evening is the unboxing of a wedding gift from the Americans to Morgane and David. It is a Pennsylvania spice box that I have made for them and was able to transport on the plane.

Following dinner, the Americans depart for the boat and on arrival we must set-up the sleeping quarters in the wheelhouse. In the morning we will take a trip up river to the same gardens and restaurant that Marianne and I have visited.

Early in the morning I walk across the bridge to the other side of Namur to purchase fresh croissants for the new crew on board. After breakfast I make some instructions about the boat and how to pass through the locks and we are ready to push off.

The trip upstream is uneventful and I think everyone was interested in the countryside and nice homes that are along this stretch of the Meuse. Once again we tie up at a small dock and make our trip up the hill to the gardens and restaurant. We have left early so we have a bit of extra time and we all walk through the gardens before we must walk back to the boat and make way for the return trip.

Andy and Christina will remain on the boat while Aliénor and Trevor return to a hotel in Brussels. An evening walk through the town allows us to select a restaurant and I have a nice meal and discussion with Andrew and Christina.

On Saturday, the day of the wedding, I send them out into town to explore and they also manage to sprint up to the citadel for a view.

We have arranged for taxi transportation to the wedding site which is close to Namur. We arrive mid-afternoon for the beginning of the festivities. In Belgium, people who want to get married must have this taken care of by city administration. Morgane and David were actually married several weeks prior to today's event but they wanted to include a great number of friends and have arranged for a grand party to take place. The setting is an old farm/castle/interesting spot in the countryside.

Morgane and David have put a lot of time and energy into this ceremony and they want everything to go perfectly. And it does, including an impromptu flyover of Belgian jets just as the new couple are dancing through an alley created by their friends. A meal followed and at 11 o'clock the real party began. There is a DJ on hand and we are told that the celebration lasted well into the following morning.

Andrew and Christina depart Sunday morning for Brussels and I am talked into taking a train later in the day so the family clan can have a restaurant celebration for our nephew's birthday plus a send off for the kids. I was seated beside Christina and was able to talk to her about her life in Pittsburgh and in the arts. Morgane and David were able to attend and we all had a good evening.

Aliénor and Trevor have one more day in Brussels and then they will return to the old grind back home near Syracuse, New York. Andrew and Christina have a bit more time and will visit Belgium and then fly off to Venice for three days then a return to Brussels for a final departure. I really enjoyed having the four of them on the barge and I hope they found it interesting enough to want to come back for a real trip.

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