Back to the Flat

By - August 21, 2008 (Updated: November 27, 2014)

We arrived back in Brussels at suppertime on Monday. My brain is still catching up to my body. Jet-lag sucks. Miraculously, once again, all of our bags arrived in one piece. Our cats were well looked after and happy to see us. I’ more or less finished with the post travel cleaning spree (Yay for small flats) and now I’m catching up on my photos.

Ah, the photos. It seems one whole card of images was lost to the digital ether. I’ve somehow lost all of my New Brunswick photos. I’m still not sure how it happened but I’m mighty pissed. Luckily, all of the other cards were intact so I have my California and Pugwash pictures. I think more image storage is in my purchasing future.

Reflecting back on the past four weeks is hard (could have something to do with all the wine and martinis…). It’s all a bit of a blur. I left off my last post, halfway through the California portion of our trip so I’ll try to pick up there.

On Thursday we headed to Monterey with a group of people from Andrew’s work. We did a wine tour, had diner and drove the scenic coast. It all sounds pretty civilized because I left out the quantities of wine consumed. Let’s just say we got our anti-oxidants that day… Thank God there are pictures (and none of me).

The next morning (um… late the next morning), we checked out and had a big, greasy breakfast (mmm, breakfast burrito). We made our way back to San Fran with one of Andrew’s co-workers but first we had a look around Monterey. The waterfront was lovely and we walked the boardwalk to discover hundreds (no exaggeration) of sea lions. They were very noisy and fun to watch and photograph.

Back in San Francisco we were kindly invited to stay with friends in their gorgeous Victorian home. There was a fabulous diner party on Friday night (accompanied by some wine purchased on our tour) followed by an interesting concert downtown.

Saturday one of our hosts gave us a terrific tour of the area (the BMW convertible sure beat the open top bus we were considering) and dropped us off at the top of a cable car line. We rode the cable car down to the waterfront where we walked to the famous Pier 39. It was packed, so after a few photos we headed uphill (and I mean UPhill) through several of San Francisco’s most interesting neighbourhoods, including Chinatown. I couldn’t help but do a bit of shopping in Chinatown and the camera was pretty busy. We continued on to Union Square for some retail therapy and finally met friends at the Four Seasons for martini’s (the best in the US, so they say). After drinks we had a nice Italian meal and had a fairly early night.

Our next morning started with brunch on the sunny patio. We then had another lovely car tour to Twin Peaks for some photo ops. Back at the house we set out on foot through the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood to Golden Gate Park. We visited the gorgeous conservatory and the new de Young museum. By the time we were finished our feet were ready to fall off so we said our goodbyes (and many many thank yous) and headed to the airport. Just let me say this – airport massages are the best invention ever.

The red-eye to Halifax was uneventful – really uneventful as we had no entertainment system. Yay, Air Canada. We were met at the airport by Andrew’s parents and headed to Pugwash. We spent a relatively lazy week and it was fabulous. The weather wasn’t as great as last year but we did make it in the pool and of course we had our lobsters. The siblings-in-law all arrived on Thursday so all the Matheson clan was together. There was a lot of laughing, chatting, eating and maybe a bit more drinking. We watched the Olympics and cheered Canada on. On Saturday my parents even took a trip up so we had both families in one place at one time.

Sunday we headed back in to Halifax for yet another red-eye home. Another long layover at Heathrow turned into another spa trip. If only I could afford a massage chair for the flat… with delivery and installation included.

Stay tuned to the photoblog for the pictures…

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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