Beyoncé in Düsseldorf!

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Beyoncé: The Formation World Tour!

 

I was so excited when Barbara whatsapped me to let me know there were still Beyoncé tickets available for the show in Düsseldorf! So I immediately agreed to go and we headed to Germany with her friend Ymke as well to see the Queen Bey. You may remember that we went together to see Beyoncé in Antwerp in April 2014 – so 2 years ago. So exciting to see her again!

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Scotland Day Five: Loch Lomond and Glasgow

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Island of Jura

 

Day Five in Scotland began very early with the morning ferry at 6:30 am! We had a beautiful view of the sun rising over the island of Jura.

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Verloren Maandag 2016

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My favorite bakery in Antwerp

Another year, another Verloren Maandag (Lost Monday), aka the Monday after Koen’s birthday (Driekoningen / Epiphany). For me it’s really just an excuse to indulge in worstenbroodjes and appelbollen. This year I really outdid myself and ate a total of 4 worstenbroodjes and 2 appelbollen over the course of the day. Anything for tradition!

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Mom’s Birthday Part Two: Orso Pizzeria

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Orso Pizzeria

 

Because my mom was celebrating her birthday in Antwerp, of course we wanted to go out for dinner. I feel like over the years my parents have really gotten to know Antwerp the city, but not really Antwerp the province, which comprises of many smaller cities. For the birthday dinner we decided on Orso Pizzeria in Berchem. Berchem is most famous for its art nouveau style architecture. On our way to dinner we were able to look at all of the beautiful houses!

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Mom’s Birthday Part One: Café Impérial

Smoked salmon and caviar

Smoked salmon and caviar

 

One tradition that started a few years back, is that when my mom is in town we go out for a class of champagne at Café Impérial. It doesn’t matter what time of year, we always go to celebrate. Café Impérial is a beautiful café located in the Paleis op de Meir, the former Antwerp residence of Napoleon Bonaparte. So fabulously French! And this time we were lucky enough to celebrate on my mom’s actual birthday!

 

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Brörmanns in Champagne Day Three

The Vranken Pommery Estate

The Vranken Pommery Estate

On our way back to the Netherlands, we planned for one more day trip – to Reims located in the heart of the Champagne region of France. After a big brunch, we packed up the car and headed north. Arriving at the Vranken Pommery Estate was a bit like arriving at Disneyland. I love the Neo-Elizabethean architecture and the powder blue buildings!

The tour was really great – I definitely would recommend visiting if you’re in Reims. The story of Madame Pommery is inspiring. In 1860 her husband passed away and she took control of the champagne house and turned it into what we know today! Can you imagine being a widowed mother of 2 in the late 1800s growing and managing the Pommery Estate?!

After our tour and champagne tasting, Koen’s sisters headed home, while Koen and I explored the city and had dinner with his parents in the city center.

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Brörmanns in Burgundy Day Two

Driving to Beaune

Burgundy countryside on our way to Beaune

Because we spent the first day at the house relaxing, for Saturday we planned a day trip to Beaune, known as the “Capital of Burgundy Wines”. Where better to take a walk through the vineyards, visit a chateau, and taste a few wines?

We began our day in Beaune with fuel for the rest of the day – aka coffee! After our caffeine boost, we headed to the Parc de la Bouzaize for a family picnic. We already packed the necessities – French cheese and fresh vegetables – and picked up fresh baked baguettes while walking through the city.

After lunch, we took a walk through the park which ultimately led us to the vineyards. What a breathtaking view. This was the first time I’d seen a vineyard. In Beaune, there are many routes you can walk through, and we took the one up a hill and were able to overlook not only the vineyards, but also the city of Beaune. The sun was shining, the sky was clear and blue, I had to keep pinching myself to know it was all real.

This was the perfect precursor to our tasting. We visited Bouchard Père et Fils, one of the oldest wine estates in Burgundy (founded in 1731!). Taken from their site, here is a description of the Château de Beaune:

In 1820 Bernard Bouchard purchased the Château de Beaune, a former royal fortress built in the 15th century by King Louis XI.

Four of the five original towers of the fortress, as well as parts of the ramparts, still stand today, and have featured on the list of historic monuments since 1937.

The cellars run deep underground beneath the property providing ideal natural storage conditions for Bouchard Père & Fils’ fine wines. 

Up to 10 metres deep, the wines develop and age undisturbed. These include a unique collection of over 2,000 bottles from the 19th century. A priceless historical legacy with, as its icon, the oldest wine – a Meursault Charmes 1846 which still retains its luster.

After our tour of the Château, we were able to sample 6 wines – 3 red and 3 white. Koen and I couldn’t leave without buying a few bottles!

A trip to Burgundy wouldn’t be complete without a typical Burgundy meal – boeuf bourguignon, a meat stew made with red wine (from Burgundy, of course). For dinner we made reservations at 21 Boulevard, a restaurant specializing in the food of the region, located in a 15th century cellar. It was a great way to end our day in Beaune!

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