for the last few weeks we have been staying in a 19th century inner city apartment in brussels central - close to cafes, parks, SHOPS and the like. however, the couple so graciously sharing their space with us are newly pregnant, and keeping amelia QUIETLY entertained has been somewhat of a challenge. we go for HUGE walks each day, and play until our ears and eyes fall off and out with tiredness. trouble is that so many of the sights and sounds are new, so she ends up super stimulated as well as exhausted. i.e. travelling on a train recently, where two people across the way from us chattered away in french for the entire journey. amelia, while needing to sleep, simply stared at them and kept saying vigorously to me, "mumma, peoples TALKING, theys TALKING peoples TALKING!!! . . ." i imagine that that was a comment on the language, because she was completely intent on their faces and hand movements all the while.
however, tomorrow we are off to venice for a few days, where flight on a baby plane, the bridges, cobblestones, more bridges and a veritable plenitude of bouncy-castle-like structures will keep her amused and even more exhausted. we might even pack in a vivaldi concert as well - she rather likes his music, and there are often lovely performances in medieval churches to be had for a small entrance fee.
then, we take over an apartment in ghent, where the university at which andrew is doing his visiting professorship is based. it is a medieval city (the center), so more B.C's, and trams, cobbles galore, and a VERY WELL EQUIPPED outdoor park on the same street as our apartment. we spent a few glorious moments there on sunday while on the way to meet the landlord, and she appproved - heartily. i will take a video of amelia on the equipment, worth a watch.
we arrived at the apartment a little late and a tad flustered, but our little family fitted in well straight away. well, at least, that was amelia's take, because she immediately leapt on the beds in our room, and in her room when we were being ushered through, and then removed her socks and orange trousers in the living room, and busily set up a play scenario with her doll - putting it, and herself to bed in 'melia's bed' . . . we had explained to her that we will be staying in a different house for a little while, and that she would have her own room, and she cottoned on smartly. we said this was our new home, and that was the way she viewed it.
the landlord and wife were enchanted by her, saying she was very sweet, and also delightful. andrew and i were surprised that the sight of her brightly striped rear-end (clad in a fluoro-coloured onesie) rollicking its way across the beige leather couches and footstool in between face-plants onto a small cushion tossed off an (also beige) designery chair failed to terrify them into changing their minds. while they took us on our little tour, both he and i were earmarking the lovely, breakable and no doubt well-loved things that will be disappearing into high cupboards within seconds of our arrival.