Just another sunny day in Belgium
Natasha enjoying her yummy waffles
We finally had a few days down time after 5 races in 8 days. Barb was gimped out with her torn achilles in a cast, Natasha was favouring her swollen, black wrist (not yet X-rayed to confirm it was broken), Derrick was oozing out his nose with a sinus infection (now addicted to nasal spray) and I was pretty tired so I declared Sunday a day off. I figured since I was the last one standing I shouldn't flaunt it and push my luck. Otherwise bad karma might shove me down our ridiculously steep marble stairs (made for midgets) and crack my head open. Besides, with Nathan, Lesley and Kevin headed home, Derrick and Natasha on their way out Monday, we needed to socialize while we still had the opportunity. Barb and I hadn't run out of mindless chatter yet but it was possible, just like GM is convinced there is and end to the internet highway. To top it off, it was actually sunny and pretty warm - the Begians weren't sure what the hell had happened but everyone was outside enjoying the weather, squinting into the big yellow orb. So we headed into Brugge to play tourist.
Derrick and Natasha were looking for presents to bring back home and I had told them about my favourite Belgian chocolates - Leonitas. Well, Bernard overheard me and told me that the BEST Belgian chocolate was Neuhaus. I called a chocolate tasting "choc-off" to make sure that Natasha and Derrick were bringing back only the best for their supporters. Am I not a good friend??
Apparently everyone in the area was headed to Brugge for the day so we had to park a bit out from the centrum. Barb had prepared her foot for the outing with a knee warmer toe cover and a ziplock. But she hadn't planned on using her gimp sticks over long distances so she started to sweat. After a few rest stops and a waffle stop we made it to the centrum. It was packed! They had a skating rink in the middle of the market square and as Nathan had mentioned, the Belgians might laugh at us in cyclocross but we don't have much to worry about them in the skating disciplines. Brugge (aka the Venice of the north) was beautiful with cobble roads and brick houses lining every street. Canals snaked through the town with brick bridges everywhere.
But back to the important stuff - chocolate. We found Leonitas and prepared to order some individual chocolates BUT the lady proceeded to cough into her hand so we changed our minds and got a mixed sample bag of truffles and chocolates. Luckily Barb is "germ aware" just like me. She even has a UV toothbrush travel container and talks about investing in the $200 portable UV scanner for public surfaces. After catching the "plague" (an unknown mono-like virus that took her out for a year) in Belgium 2 years ago, she is pretty germ aware. Off we went to find Neuhaus. With the help of a chocolate assistant (wearing cloth gloves) I picked a few tasty treats to try and just about wet my pants. This Neuhaus chocolate made Leonitas taste like a Mars bar. WOW. It was amazing.....until we all had a MAJOR sugar crash at 4:43pm.
We stumbled back to the Cycling Center in a sugar coma just in time to catch the Superprestige cyclocross race on TV. The entire race. No commercials. Sven Nys won. Then Barb made us a yummy (even if it didn't have meat) coconut curry. A few more chocolate to end on sweet. Trash North American magazines. Then off to bed. Life is good.