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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

America 2012 – Part 9 (Chez Matt & Tara and Seattle)

The last leg of our journey took us to Portland and Seattle. In Portland, we stayed with Matt and Tara. After two weeks of jumping from hotel to hotel, being in a home felt like such a luxury. And Matt and Tara have a lovely home. All light, and comfy and warm. And clean and tidy – when we got there at least. My children did do their best to remedy that though and to leave their mark. I don’t think that beautiful old typewriter will ever be quite the same again. The cat might have been subjected to a little bit of gentle torture too… if she hadn’t been wise enough to entirely avoid contact with the tiresome new arrivals. You can’t say Charlie didn’t try though.There was pleading and reasoning. He even tried remote-controlled activation (middle picture). He tried grabbing and dragging…He even tried his “guaranteed to work, no-one can resist it” grin. But even that didn’t work. So he gave up and went to play with the dog instead.And when the dog lost interest, he found Tara.One, two, three…: AAAAAWWWW! Early morning faces. Guess who got out of the right side of bed. And who didn’t. We tried to stay upstairs and to keep quiet so that Tara could sleep in but I don’t think we did very well… So we all piled out of the house and on to OMSI. Where Amélie and Charlie had A LOT of fun. And Charlie got VERY wet. And Matt REALLY enjoyed some Lego.From there, we were taken to Por Que No for possibly the best Mexican food ever (certainly the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten). By this point, my camera was starting to feel rather heavy and I was taking fewer and fewer pictures. But I couldn’t resist one of the pretty shadows from the bunting hung across the street.The Monster Coat – raaah! I love the monster coat. Even more so because it is a beautiful souvenir of a lovely day with lovely friends. It was a gift from Matt and Tara, to keep Mr Grouchy Pants warm (because, as ever, we came ill-prepared). Amélie-Spamélie was treated to some sparkly silver Toms which she loves (cuddling in bed kind of “loves”). And we were treated to a delish Portland coffee which was just what the doctor ordered. Delish coffee, warm sun, wonderful company and happy children. Who could want more?We would honestly have moved in. In fact, after just a couple of days, we did seriously start considering a permanent move to Portland… Anyone know of anyone in need of a European and UK qualified Patent Attorney? Will take pictures for smiles. Hmm… No but really: I would have stayed until Matt and Tara decided they’d had enough of us and threw us out (so, maybe another night?), but we had a plane to catch and so we had to leave.See how I snuck that door/leaving themed picture in there? Je suis une artiste ;-b Anyway, we were off. Off to Seattle for a very quick stay. We had a night and, in that short time, we all fell in love yet again. Hotel no. 10 – the Arctic Club – was incredibly swanky. Oh it was lovely. And so beautiful. Look it up. If you ever have the chance: stay there. It’s just gorgeous. And they give you a scrummy warm cookie when you check in. What’s not to love?I would have very happily settled in for the night, watched a bit of bad tv, eaten some unhealthy room-service food, had a long bath and just enjoyed our gigantic beds. But I’m married to an adventurer who wouldn’t take no for an answer. So he dragged me out for one last walk in America. And I’m glad he did. Seattle is beautiful. Beautiful and interesting and fun. We walked, Amélie and Charlie danced with a steel-drum busker, we ate more tummy-pleasing Mexican food, we watched the sun go down over the water, we walked some more and found the Space Needle, Hanno got to admire the mono-rail and we treated ourselves to a Starbucks. A Starbucks in Seattle. Well, we had to really.This is the morning after. We got up early so we could pop out for a(nother) coffee before heading to the airport. This is where I found Amélie when I came out of the shower: sitting watching the city wake up. She’s very rarely still so I had to catch this moment of quiet contemplation before we set off. This time, we headed for the Seattle Coffee Company. Mmmm… Oh I want to go back!Everywhere we went, we fell in love. And Seattle we saw only too briefly. So we have a plan: 2015 – we’re going back. Back to Seattle and back to Portland. Hanno’s promised: there won’t be quite so much driving next time. And far fewer hotels. Seattle, Portland and maybe Vancouver… And we’ll need to get another Junior Ranger badge for Amélie. And maybe one for Charlie. So we’ll have to visit a National Park. So: Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and a National Park. But that’s it. Nothing else… Farewell America. A bientôt!

24 June 2012 - 10:37 PM amanda - My favourite post of all america. Love love the bath shot and the early morning faces! xx

25 June 2012 - 4:35 PM Cass - Thank you Amanda. I like these a lot too: more munchkin shots and some very happy memories. Can't wait to see you!

25 June 2012 - 3:47 PM tara leigh - you could've moved in... seriously. LOVE YOU ALL.

25 June 2012 - 4:33 PM Cass - We love you too Tara. Thank you for having us.

28 June 2012 - 8:32 PM Laura - Oh I love the portrait of Amelie with her messy ringlets. The other shot of Amelie in black and white - I love the framing and the rain on the window. (And isn't OMSI a blast for the kids? I grew up in Portland and loved OMSI trips.)

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