We arrived in Eeklo on December 16th, to be there not only for Christmas but also for Stefaan’s birthday on December 17th. Upon arrival in BRU we picked up our rental and, after briefly getting slowed down by the morning commute on Brussel’s ring road, checked into to our lovely B&B Cambiare around 10am. Naturally we then headed straight to Caroline’s mum to say hello and catch up.
December 17th would have been Stefaan’s 49th birthday. We remembered him with a lovely family lunch at Restaurant Siphon in Damme, where my aunt ‘Jantje’ has been coming for decades so we got a very nice table. Later that day friends of Stefaan’s, friends of ours, and family got together for a very nice and fitting evening in his honour at De Kabouter. Eventhough Cafe De Kabouter was closed for annual vacation, Koen let us open the café for a private evening – Thank you Koen, and thank you Conchita and Dirk. We all agreed that Stefaan would have approved seeing us all together.
We spent our days with Caroline’s mum and catching up with friends, which is always a priority when in Eeklo/Belgium, and enjoyed, besides a quick spin on the ferris wheel on the Korenmarkt in Gent, the first ‘lightshow’ on the Markt in Eeklo.
After a 2-day side trip to Brugge – which gets its own post – we came back to Eeklo for Christmas Eve and Day.
This time we literally took over B&B Cambiare as we had all 3 rooms.
These were always going to be difficult days without Stefaan. It was nice to have Alison and Hamish with us for Christmas Eve dinner at my mum’s.
On Christmas Day evening, as per tradition, De Kabouter re-opened so naturally we went there for drinks.
Saturday, December 26th.
Around noon we arrived in Gent, checked into the Marriott on the Korenlei. Caroline took her mum for a pre-lunch spin on the ferris wheel, after which we headed to Brasserie Restaturant Pakhuis where Silvia and Wayne were already waiting for us. Evening drinks were enjoyed in the hotel lobby bar, Café Damberd (where Geert joined us) and Waterhuis aan de bierkant.
The next day it was early breakfast, well relatively speaking, before we drove to Zaventem to catch our flight home. We were lucky and happy to get upgraded on the first leg of our trip (BRU-IAD). The second part, normally a direct flight from IAD to SFO, got for some bizarro reason re-directed via Denver, for a fuel-stop. We suspect it had to do with flying around some rather massive storms. We arrived home with a 2 hour delay, all in all not too bad, we could have been stuck somewhere.