A couple of weeks ago, my host family told me they were going to Morocco over vacation; I mentioned it to my mother, who mentioned it to my sister, who somehow found a relatively inexpensive flight over to keep me company this week.
She flew in yesterday morning, and I took the train to meet her in Brussels Central station. We greeted each other with a nice long, sqealing hug, then went to walk around Brussels for 45 minutes or so while we waited for the train. We made a brief visit to the Grand Place and a stop for waffles (with strawberries and chocolate for me and bananas and nutella for her), which we ate on the train. The current plan is to make a longer visit to Brussels before she flies out at the end of this week.
We got into the station in Liège, walked down the pretty 'Boulevard d'Arvoy' past the park and down to the Meuse (the river), my intent being to show off all the very nicest-looking parts of Liège first. We took a few scenery pictures on a bridge, then continued down to the Batte (the big open-air Sunday market). We walked up and down the entire market, which took a couple hours, and restrained ourselves to just €18 total of purchases (on a black dress for me for the Cabaret in March) and a small shoulder bag for Greta). We looped back and I took her through the Place St Lambert, then through the Carré to Place Cathedrale (I'd explain more where these things are, but it might be easiest just to use Google Maps). It was starting to snow, so we stepped inside a café for some hot chocolate. The 'Relax Café,' as it was called, boasted about its "real Italian hot chocolate," and, having tasted real Italian hot chocolate once before in our lives, we were pretty skeptical. We ordered two anyway and were pleasantly surprised to find (what I think is) the closest thing I've had to that hot chocolate since. Dark chocolate, and very very thick cocoa... I went to the bathroom, and when I came back a thin film had solidified on the top of my drink.
We sat inside drinking and admiring the enormous snowflakes, which despite being bigger than half-dollar coins, didn't accumulate on the ground. We took a brief tour inside the cathedral, something I haven't actually done before-- yay for visitors making you do touristy stuff! then took the bus home. I introduced her to my host family, got her (sort of) unpacked, set up her bed, and generally settled in. It was a bit difficult communicating with my host family since they don't speak English and Greta doesn't speak French, but with me as a translator and both confused parties just smiling a lot, I think it worked out. Maybe.
Greta and I made pasta and red sauce with meat and veggies, which turned out well but in massive proportions, so we may have to eat leftovers for several days, here. We then tidied up, got into our pyjamas and snuggled up under the covers to talk until she got too tired. (My room has a way of always being the coldest place in the house... here and in Maine, so it's often best to wrap yourself in blankets before doing anything.)
I have a busy, touristy week planned for Greta, showing her Liège, carnival in Malmedy, Brussels... pictures to come later!