- After a VERY long plane ride we arrived in Brussels, Belgium on Saturday, December 11, 2010. That big smile is because Elder Beckstrand was able to get off of the plane! President and Sister Brubaker were there to meet us and took us immediately to the mission office. After going over some legalities we were invited to join a group of missionaries going to Brugge for a P-Day activity. We're never too tired to enjoy this new country. Who knows how long we'll be able to stay here?
There was room for 9 in the mission van. Adding the Beckstrands raised the number to 11, but two very charitable missionaries agreed to sit on cushions in the very back to make room for us. The building in the background is a large church in downtown. The city of Brugge is one of the oldest cities in Belgium. It literally became a ghost town when the ocean inlet that was used as a seaport silted over and couldn't be navigated any longer. Most of the buildings were built in the 1300's, and have been carefully restored to maintain their original appearance. Very beautiful!
We're standing in the city square and just thrilled to be here.
There is a Christmas Fair set up in the square for shopping and tourist activities. We enjoyed real Belgium hot chocolate (their chocolate is world famous) and olie bolin from the little stalls around the square.
In an old 1200's church we say a beautiful statue of Mary and the Christ Child sculpted by Michaelangelo. It is the only known statue by that artist outside of Italy.
In conjunction with the Christmas Fair there was a skating rinkset up in the middle of the square for visitors to enjoy. It was fun watching people of all ages enjoying the ice. They looked like it was second nature to them. It probably was.
Aren't these buildings gorgeous? I was gawking at everything, and couldn't believe we were really here to stay for 2 years. (Well, close to here anyway. We're being sent to Dordrecht in The Netherlands, next week. We want to see as much of Belgium as possible while we're here.)
These are all the missionaries that were with us. The Senior Couple on the left are the Tibbitts from Provo, Utah. They were super fun and the office missionaries were exceptional young men. The sister fourth from the left, Sister Fritz, was going home on December 17th and wanted to see Brugge before she left the country. After we had seen this quaint little city we returned to Brussels, ate dinner with President and Sister Brubaker, and finally went to bed around 11:00 pm. (It would have been 3:00 pm in Utah.) We had been up for 33 hours without sleep, but by then we were in too much of a daze to know we were tired!