Yes, I’m still here.
I have become more of a mental blogger than an actual writer. I think about sitting down in front of my laptop and regaling you with stories of my life in Nice. Then I shake myself out of my haze and pick up a hammer, cutter, cordless screwdriver and get back to work. The renovations in our new apartment have become my life. Any free time or holiday is spent in our soon-to-be home as we rid it of its 1980s granny decor.
D and I did enjoy a brief vacation-from-renovation holiday last week. A work conference in The Hague last week made for an interesting break and we hopped in our rental car for the 4.5-hour drive from Paris. We had a full schedule which meant that sightseeing or free time was limited to a barbecue dinner at a seaside restaurant in Scheveningen. The weather was less than ideal for hanging out by the sea but the sunset made up for the low temperatures.
We stayed at the Hilton The Hague where I have to say that the staff are among the friendliest I have encountered. It was enough having to deal with our group of 200. The professionals behind the desk answered questions from tourists who hadn’t quite twigged to the fact that Brussels is in another country without batting an eye. The friendliness of staff was matched by the tastiness of the food and really, I was looking forward to the food. The only thing better than cooking and eating good food is eating good food prepared by someone else. And for me the highlight was our dinner on Friday night. I started with the oxtail soup — my little shout-out to Jamaica — and followed it up with lamb and, for dessert, it was a chocolate-Grand Marnier cake with chocolate mousse. The only downside to the meal was that I could have eaten more.
We spent a good hour at breakfast on Saturday morning, lingering over coffee and freshly squeezed OJ. I’ve stayed at other Hilton’s and I think they have it right. Sure, I may twitch an eye at the ridiculous price of breakfast — I think it was 18€ at Hilton The Hague — but when the breakfast includes a full hot and cold buffet done right (meaning fresh fruit, pastries, breads, jams, deli meats, cereals, cheeses, bacon, pancakes, eggs, etc) I can only shrug and dig in.
After checking out we hit the road for Brugge, sometimes called the Venice of the north. D had never been and I have fond memories of the city. In reality I just wanted to buy some chocolate. After a quick and uninspiring lunch we headed over to the Godiva boutique in the Markt. We only had a limited time but I knew what I was after: chocolate covered almonds, chocolate covered hazelnuts, and truffles, truffles, truffles. We beat back the crowd in the tiny boutique and quickly made our selection and in a puff of cocoa we were back on the road.
We arrived at Orly airport well in advance of our flight…which means we could have spent more time in the Godiva boutique! It’s back to work and with the weekend around the corner I’m gearing up for more renovations. And you? How has your month been?