Mons, Brussels, Hallerbos, Waterloo, and Ypres – Adventures with Uncle Mark (Part 1)

My youngest brother, Mark, came to stay with us for 2 WHOLE WEEKS! My little boys refer to him as my “funny brother” and they were beyond excited to have uncle marks attention for so long.

~~~ MONS ~~~

An obvious first stop, a quick trip down the road to Mons, Belgium. This city is about 10 minutes away from our house and is a beautiful little place. They were setting up a Ferris wheel in the center for an event and we’ve been here several times for various occasions or just a night on the town.

Mons Square

We have never stopped at this fantastic cathedral even though it is right by our favorite parking lot. I’m glad we got to go inside just before it closed, because it ended up being the only cathedral we took Mark to while he was here!

Organ in the Mons Cathedral. They would’t let me play it πŸ™
Cathedral in Mons
Cathedral in Mons
Cathedral in Mons
Mons Square

After wandering around Mons square for a while, we found a nice little steak restaurant. The boys ordered the biggest steaks on the menu, and apparently, you have to cook them yourself. They arrived RAW on a 400 Degree Celsius slab of stone! An interesting meal for sure…

MOOOOO!!!!!
THAT is a large steak…
That wolf..

Don’t forget to rub the monkey for good luck πŸ˜‰

~~~ BRUSSELS ~~~

While Simon was in school the next day, Mark, Hyrum, and I walked to the train station and rode up to Brussels! We started with lunch at a cafe in the main square.

We decided to order one of each kind of breastfast food. A Liege waffle, a Brussels waffle, and a Crepe. Yum!

Liege AND Brussels style waffels in Brussels
My personal favorite, Liege style Belgian waffle (with Speculoos) in Brussels

Then off to explore more of Brussels!

Brussels
Waffles, waffles, waffles

Mannekin Pis is just around the corner so it’s a must-stop, although I’m not sure why they dress him up in random clothes. We’ve seen him 3 times now, and he’s always different…

Mannekin Pis – Brussels, BE
Belgian Beer Museum

And the last stop of the day, a Frite shop. Gotta try all the sauces and classic Belgian french fries! Awesome day.

Frites (Fries) Sandwich with sausage

~~~ Hallerbos Forest ~~~

There is a beautiful forest near our house that has a carpet of bluebells that bloom during the spring. We decided to try to hike around and see some although we were a little too early in the season. Check out the real pictures if these don’t quite do it for you… Nevertheless, it was a fun hike πŸ™‚

~~~ WATERLOO ~~~

On our way back from Hallerbos, we decided to stop and see the Waterloo Museum! I remember learning about the 1815 battle of Waterloo in high school, but sadly I can’t remember much. You can read more about it here but we loved wandering around.

The hill to climb to the monument was NO JOKE! Thankfully, I brought highered help to carry the toddler up the hill! By the top, both our legs were shaking and we were (admittedly) a little sore the next day. It’s steeper than it looks, okay!??!?

A couple of panoramics from the top πŸ™‚

~~~ Ypres, Menin Gate Memorial ~~~

Every night for the past 100 years at 8pm, The Last Post is sounded at the Menin Gate Memorial. It bears 55,000 names of soldiers fallen at a WWI battle there. Read more about it here.

We went to visit on a beautiful evening. A girls choir from a high school in Great Britain sang and the Last Post was played. It was beautiful, and the city of Ypres is breath-taking.

It seems common in Europe to find street urinals randomly on the side of the road. Every time we pass one, all the boys stop to pee in them even if they don’t have to go. I’m not sure what the women are supposed to do if they need to pee… Ha!

Well, that brings Part 1 of our Adventures with Mark to a wrap! We did SOO many things that you can find Part 2 and Part 3 below!

Part 2 – Bruges, Ghent, Amsterdam, and The Hague

Part 3 – Keukenhof Tulip Gardens and Pairi Daiza Zoo!

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