Trains, Friends and the tiniest mention of my Nespresso Machine.

I’ve been busy and I have had no idea how to write of it all. 

Perhaps I should blog a story of each day because I know I have missed telling some beautiful stories along the way. I saw it begin to happen back in the Genova.  I dropped the ball when it came to some of the every day beauty of people and place.  There was the time I wanted to save the story of eating at Chichibio with Stefano until I could tell it beautifully ... but it slipped away in the cascade of the life I lived there.

It’s not too late though, and if you are ever in Genova and want someplace where you can enjoy exquisite food in elegant surroundings, I would suggest you hunt down Chichibio at via David Chiossone 20R.  You can phone for a reservation on 010 247 6191.  Not to be missed.  And, as always, I followed Stefano’s advice when ordering and had not one single regret. 

Grazie, Stefano ...a long overdue grazie.

Then, on Thursday, I was up and out the door with Gert.  Well, that was the intention however, he did ask me if I had my 10-ride train ticket for the big trip to Leopoldsburg and perhaps I didn’t ...

So I set out again, scarf and train-ticket packed, arriving in plenty of time to board my departing-hourly train and blogged my fabulous Wednesday from the train.  Destination reached, my lovely lovely friend, Judy, met me there with her car and over coffee we agreed, Maastricht was the destination.  I had heard rumours of book stores ... rumours whispered to me by Judy, who just happens to love books as much as me, if not more.

We started out in Selexyz Dominicanen, which has to be seen to be believed.  It is housed in a most unexpected space, a cathedral full of books, with a coffee-selling cafe up the back ... seemed like heaven to me.  I was disappointed with their selection of English books but then again, I’m not the easiest reader to please and have been spoilt by De Slegte, my favourite secondhand bookshop in Antwerpen.  It seems the English-reading Antwerpenaars and I are compatible.

After exploring Selexyz Dominicanen, Judy and I wandered off into the streets of Maastricht, making our way to the secondhand bookshop, De Slegte, Maastricht ... hooray.  And it was there that the wheels fell off Di’s Intention to be a Good and Frugal Wife.  No really huge crimes were committed.  There was a beautiful book titled Venice is a Fish, a sensual guide by Tiziano Scarpa - a Venetian poet, novelist, playwright, and essayist.  And a couple of others.  Under 20 euro altogether ...

If books are my heroin, then I think we could view this visit to my ‘supplier’ as hopeful in terms of managing my addiction.

It would have been more positive were I not currently intent on roaming the ‘Roads to Santiago with Cees Nooteboom.  A beautiful book ... exquisite.  I think you might really enjoy this one Shashikiran

But back to Thursday ... so Judy took me over to the river Maas, after book-shopping, to a beautiful little cafe on the edge of the water.  She wanted to show me that Maastricht really wasn’t in Luxemburg, Germany or Austria (silly kiwi girl), and it takes its name from the River Maas.  This river Okay
Okay ... I get it now.  Mostly.

Happy, we drove back across the border and into Belgium for dinner, where we devoured the most excellent pizza I’ve had in a while.  Dank u wel to Judy ... it was a lovely day in a lovely place with a lovely person.  And the pizza, a thank you to Willy too. 

Back in Antwerpen, and waiting for a very tardy tram 10, on the very day that Belgium was having its coldest 14 July since records began back in the 1860s.  It was an unexpected 12-14 celsius, with rain.  No one else there at the city tramstop was prepared for the summer plunge.  We were all very sad and grouchy.

Friday came along and was a slow day, where I caught up on housework and photo-processing.  There was a wee Nana-nap in the afternoon, some lovely Chianti in my evening ...

4.30am Saturday morning. 
I should have been sleeping.  I wasn’t.
I tried but no, that was me, still awake when the alarm went off at 6.30am. 
A mad dash, my bag packed (more or less), running from the house at 7.15am.  I was on my way to Brussels to visit with a lovely family ... or two.

I’ve been enjoying my recent adventures to parts of Brussels I’ve never been in.  Yes, it’s less compact than Antwerpen, difficult to navigate in some ways but those little villages within the city, like Ixelles and Stockel are so very worth visiting.

I was at Paola’s by midday and off on whole other adventure.  An international group of sculptors, a presentation of their work to the city ... champagne, red wine, lovely nibbles, excellent company and enough space in the big open-sided tent when the heavens opened and the rain poured down.

Evening came and it was a girls night in ... a multi-national private event with excellent conversations.  Oh, and the most delicious selection of food, accompanied by yet more champagne and red wine. 
Bliss ... just the 4 of us.

I arrived home today, using that first class train ticket that only costs 4euro more return on the weekend. I love first class.

Now I’m just waiting for tomorrow morning ... for breakfast and a Nespresso. 
I love my Nespreso machine.
Tomorrow ... the story of the machine.  You might want to find someone else to read, just in case I lose myself in Gollum-like mutterings ... my precious, my precious, drool, and etc.

Oh ... and I had the pleasure of spending quite some hours hanging out with this sweet little man this weekend.