- Return to the Bulge
- Lose over 50% of their force in the heat of battle
- Come close to a total core meltdown
- Only arise like the Phoenix from its ashes in familial glory
- While having the true experience of the Southwest
NUTS! you say? Nuts is the famous response of General McAuliffe gave to the Germans that surrounded his forces during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 when asked to surrender. And indeed today we went to the Bastogne War Museum dedicated to that battle.
It was a very easy drive on major roads and the museum itself was incredibly well done with a ton of material. If you were not familiar with the details of the causes of WWII and the events leading up to this battle, you could get totally briefed at this museum. There audio guide was especially well done with the story being told from viewpoints of four individuals - a German soldier, an American soldier, a Belgian resistance member living in Bastogne and a child who was growing up int he Bastogne region at the time. You could easily spend 4 hours or more in this place.
Unfortunately and perhaps predictably, it was totally overwhelming to our 3 and half year old 3.1. She didn't even make it inside. This meant that one of the parents had to skip the museum and amuse the children. Fortunately there were some great areas for the children to run around and play and both #3 and 3A took turns with the children so they both had chances to see the museum.
Equally unfortunately we had gotten a late start to the day and by the time we were done with the museum it was after 1 PM. Now began a sequence of events that nearly led to a total family meltdown. You know how it is with disasters where a series of seemingly innocent decisions combine for things to crash a blow up? It was like that. We had intended to have a nice meal. We decided to go into the town and that took a while. The place we went to had a very extensive menu so there were difficulties making decisions on what to order. Our youngest member was starting a new tooth teething and was in a bitchy mood. It took us twice as long as normal to get our order in. The baby starts crying. Mom leaves restaurant to quiet her missing her first course. This is a recipe for a total disaster.
Instead, everyone remains in control. We are almost ready to leave without our meal when first our waiter comes and says the meal is just minutes away and then #3 comes back with the 3.2 finally sleeping. Everyone is already gone from the dining room at this point anyway. 3.1 has been the best behaved child ever through this whole period. The meal is fantastic. So instead of family meltdown we bring you - Gastronomic Experience!
First, hats off to Restaurant Wagon Leo, a classic brasserie style restaurant which has a train car theme and dates to 1945, right at the end of WWII. They were really lovely in being patient with us as well as serving some damn good food. Go to the link I provided to see what a cool place this is.
Now on to the meal!
After lunch (which was around 3:30 at this point) we had one last task - getting our sweet 3.1 a treat to say thing you for being such a wonderful 3 and half year old in such a difficult situation.