Friday, August 04, 2006

babymoon

At the end of next week, Josh and I leave for our final vacation before this baby is born (you can't see me, but I just spit and knocked on wood). I'll be visiting my parents in San Francisco for Labor Day, and hopefully we'll be doing an overnight leaf-peeping tour in New England in October, but as far as real vacations go, this'll be it. I was in charge of planning our escape, and I thought long and hard about what I'd want when I was 21 weeks pregnant.

Beach or touring?

Lazy or active?

Cold or warm?

Josh has been harassing me to take him to visit my family in Argentina, but it is the middle of winter right now in South America, and our Boston summers are so short that I couldn't fathom having to pull out jackets and pants in August. Our last vacation was a beach one, and it was a fantastic time, but I've been craving some real sightseeing and touring. So I started narrowing down on location.

I had important criteria to satisfy also. We needed first class medical care, just in case. I needed air conditioning and safety. I wanted an area small enough to be visited in a week by a pregnant woman that can't walk that fast. Oh, and I wanted to be able to shop. A few visits to websites, a few discussions with Josh later, we settled on Belgium and the Netherlands.

I didn't tell Josh this until after he'd agreed, but it just so happens that Amsterdam is the baby capital of the world. Tons of baby designers are located there, and it also just so happens that I'm in the market for baby stuff. Shocker, I know!

After some research, I planned our itinerary as follows:
Day 1: Fly into Brussels, spend the day exploring the city if the red-eye flight hasn't made me keel over with exhaustion
Day 2: Explore Brussels in the morning, move to Bruges for the next two nights (via train)
Day 3: Bruges (and chocolate! Lots and lots of chocolate!)
Day 4: Bruges (and french fries! And Belgian waffles!) Leave in the afternoon for Amsterdam (via train)
Day 5: Amsterdam (does Amsterdam have chocolate? How about french fries? They must have something, right?) Visit museums, take canal tours, look longingly at the people on bicycles because your husband has forbidden your pregnant self from riding one.
Day 6: Amsterdam and more sightseeing. I know you can't wait to see pictures of my pregnant belly in the red light district, right?
Day 7: Amsterdam and shopping! My sources confirm that Amsterdam has some of the best strollers in the world, and if I can find one that opens and closes easily, doesn't weigh too much, and complies with my other crazy requirements, I'm hoping that one of my return luggage will be a stroller!
Day 8: Final exploration of Amsterdam, fly back to Boston in the afternoon. Sob.
Day 9: Spend day in bed crying because you don't want to go back to work tomorrow, and this is your last vacation day until your maternity leave starts in 4 and a half months. Sob again.

I'm trying not to focus too much on Day 9.

I've been looking forward to this trip for months, and I'm itching to jump on that plane, even though it is still a week away. I suspect that we'll look longingly on this last adventure away, come December 25th. I also suspect we'd never want to go back in time once this baby arrives, but still, the memories of freedom will be nice.

My parents are watching our pooches at our house, so this will be real freedom, unlike our trip to St. Croix when we had our sidekicks along for the ride. So any suggestions? Favorite spots? Recommendations? We'll be doing the typical walking tours, visiting Rembrandt's museum, Anne Frank's house, marketplace visits, and whatever else our guide book says is a must-see. But if you've been there or have heard fantastic things- please please please tell me! I'm sure I'll be bringing back some Belgian chocolate, and if you can wrestle it away from the hands of a pregnant lady, I'll even share!

21 comments:

mc said...

Have a fantastic time! I've never been to any of those places, but they sound like a perfect babymoon destination. And while I'm sure you'll miss the furkids, it's great that you'll be dependent-free for the last time in the forseeable future!

Dee Dee said...

I've been to Bruge before and the french fries are TO DIE FOR! Have an awesome vacation.

Jess said...

One of girlfriends happens to be dating a Dutch man---who still lives in Amsterdam. Plus, she's been there lots--I'll check in with her for recommendations.

We almost went this Spring but had to bail due to scheduling issues. You'll have a fantastic time.

Jessica said...

I...am...so....JEALOUS!! You will have a FABULOUS time! I can't wait to hear all about it and live vicariously through you!

...my 2 cents said...

Have a great time!! I'm really jealous!!

Chatty Cricket said...

I hereby book my evening to come to your house and look at your pictures and be educated on all of the things you learned while you were away. And eat chocolate. You'll share your chocolate with a fellow preggers, yes?

jo(e) said...

Here's my suggestion: take lots of photos for your blogging friends ....

And have a great time!

Phantom Scribbler said...

You're so smart to have planned this out. We didn't realize at the time when we went on our babymoon, but we've looked back on that last trip with no small amount of nostalgia since then.

The smartness of going somewhere that involves baby shopping is blowing me away, though. Genius, woman! Sheer genius.

When can I come over for Belgian chocolate?

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Amsterdam and Belgium rule.

Go here in Amsterdam. And take a nice tour of the canals, which you already know about. I took a wine & cheese tour, but they have other tours, too. You can eat dinner as you ride. It's tons of fun.

ccw said...

Have a great time!

liz said...

Jealous! Have a great time.

KLee said...

I'm also jealous. I had a friend in school whose mother (and grandparents) was Belgian. She used to bring me all kinds of neat stuff back from Belgium.

I'm sure you'll have a great time. I can't wait to see pictures!

amygeekgrl said...

oh my! that sounds like a great time!! i am definitely envious of the chocolate (and really, all the foods!) you'll be eating. ;)

enjoy yourselves!

Geggie said...

Fabulous! Don't miss the waffles in Brugges -- the best! And not at all we we consider "Belgian Waffles." Don't miss the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam -- it'll take you a few hours for sure. In Amsterdam, make sure you eat at an Indonesian place and do the "ristaffle". Rice table. It's about 20-25 little dishes to try. Lovely! Have fun!

Yankee, Transferred said...

Ah, sounds like so much fun. I cannot wait for the pictures from the fabulous camera. Have a great time!

Anne Glamore said...

My mom bought a lace wedding veil when we went to Bruges in the 80's. My sisters and i thought she was nuts-- but we all ended up getting married in it.

Anonymous said...

I was In Amsterdam once and the best thing I remember was the BEEF! From Argentina ! But you probably already know it is yummy...if you can eat meat these days!

Enjoy

parodie said...

So exciting!
Amsterdam has lots of good tourist-type deals especially if you're planning on visiting several museums. There's the "I amSterdam" card (http://www.amsterdam.info/pass/), which is more expensive and includes things like access to transit, and the cheaper MuseumKaarte (link: http://www.amsterdam.info/museums/museumkaart/) which is just access to various museums. If you know what museums you want to visit, you can see which card is good for what. They quickly pay for themselves.

Also! Make sure you see the Amsterdam Historical Museum - it's fascinating to see how the city grew and developped below sea-level.

Brussels is also a gorgeous city - lots of chocolate there too!! :) If you're in the area, the patio on the top of the MIM (http://www.mim.fgov.be/) gives you a really splendid view of the city (and you don't need to actually visit the museum to go to the restaurant). Of course, their prices are a bit high but ...

That's the advice I can think of off the top of my head. Have fun!! I'm jealous - love those countries. :)

Kristin said...

I'm so excited for you! Almost as excited as I am for myself. Italy is only 49 days away! I've always thought Belgium and the Netherlands would be a fascinating place to visit. Of course, all this terror alert stuff has to happen right before our international trips!

Angie said...

I spent 21 days in Holland a few years ago. Amerstand has a lot to see (including pot, pr0n shops and the red light district with women of the night in the windows who look almost like dolls). If you really want to enjoy the country try visiting some of the small villages. If I ever left the US I would live out the rest of my life in Holland. I love it that much.

Near the Rembrant museum is the Rijksmuseum (www.rijksmuseum.nl) many beautiful things there. Holland has chocolate and they are the world's capitol for french fries. Make sure you get to some of the cheese shops -ohhh the things you will see and eat! Heavenly! Maybe you will be in luck and will be able to bring back some tulip bulbs for your yard. :-)

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