Dinant, Belgium

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The Citadel, Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, and statue of Charles de Gaulle

I visited Dinant with my parents back in 2014, but Koen had never been. We had a bit of sunshine, so I convinced Koen to take the trek down south. Dinant is most famously known as being the home of Adolphe Sax, who invented the saxophone, and the Battle of Dinant in 1914, where Lieutenant Charles de Gaulle was wounded. The landmarks are the Citadel of Dinant and the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame. Important to Koen and me is of course the regional cuisine – the couques de Dinant, Europe’s hardest cookie, the flamiche, a type of quiche, and Leffe beer which comes from the Leffe Abbey. A lot to see and take in!

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Stockholm: Moderna Museet

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Beautiful, snowy Stockholm

For our second day in Stockholm we ventured out into the snow to visit the Moderna Museet (Museum of Modern Art). We took another beautiful walk into the city center, passing typical winter scenes.

You know you’re close to the Moderna Museet when you stumble across the Sculpture Park. A touch of color in the snow!

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Stockholm: Vasa Museum

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Beautiful scenes on our walk to the Vasa Museum

Koen and I love visiting museums when we’re doing city trips, so we had to visit the Vasa Museum. To quote the museum’s site:

“The Vasa ship capsized and sank in Stockholm 1628. After 333 years on the sea bed the mighty warship was salvaged and the voyage could continue. Today Vasa is the world’s only preserved 17th century ship and the most visited museum in Scandinavia.”

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London: Balenciaga Shaping Fashion at the V&A

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Victoria & Albert Museum

I was so happy we were in time to see the exhibit Balenciaga Shaping Fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum. To quote the V&A site “This exhibition examined the work and legacy of influential Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, with over 100 pieces crafted by ‘the master’ of couture, his protégées and contemporary fashion designers working in the same innovative tradition.”

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London Day 2

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Ready for brunch

We started our second day in Chelsea at The Ivy Chelsea Garden for brunch. Chelsea is one of my favorite neighborhoods and Koen and I both really love the brunch at The Ivy, so I definitely wanted to take Koen’s family here!

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London Day 1

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Arriving in London, first stop: Granary Square in King’s Cross

For Christmas, we gave Dook and Els a 3 day trip to London in February. I really love London and have been lucky enough to go quite often over the years, so I volunteered to create the itinerary. Not everyone had been in London before, so I created a 3 day introduction to London planning!

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Beijing: Temple of Heaven Park

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Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest

Luckily after lunch the sunshine came out for our visit to the Temple of Heaven Park, built in 1420. I had read ahead of time that it’s a park where the elderly spend time – in the morning doing exercises and in the afternoon playing cards. Didn’t disappoint!

Lonely Planet describes it as:

A tranquil oasis of peace and methodical Confucian design in one of China’s busiest urban landscapes, the 267-hectare Temple of Heaven Park is absolutely unique. It originally served as a vast stage for solemn rites performed by the emperor of the time (known as the Son of Heaven), who prayed here for good harvests and sought divine clearance and atonement. Strictly speaking, it’s an altar rather than a temple – so don’t expect burning incense or worshippers.

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Beijing: Summer Palace

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Koen and me with our new friends Nicole and Adam

Unfortunately for our last day in Beijing, the weather wasn’t so great. It had cooled off quite a bit and we had rain all morning. That didn’t stop us, though! We still ventured out to the north of the city to the Summer Palace! When we were traveling from Moscow to Siberia, we made new friends who also happened to be ending their trip in Beijing. They had just arrived and were able to meet up our last day!

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Beijing: Great Wall of China

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Fresh faced before the climb!

Mao Zedong once said “He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man”. No trip to Beijing is complete with a visit to the Great Wall of China, one of the New7Wonders of the World! Such beautiful views!

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Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and Jingshan Park

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In front of The Tiananmen, or the Gate of Heavenly Peace, a monumental gate in the center of Beijing, widely used as a national symbol of China

Of course no trip to Beijing is complete without a visit to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City! So for our first trek out, we headed to Tiananmen Square which is opposite the Forbidden City.

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