Four Verbanszkys in Europe 2014 travel blog

Today we had a shopping day in the city of Roermond. Among the many brochures left for us to peruse by our hosts was one about the Factory Outlets featuring many European brands. Stephanie was intrigued to check it out, and I am always happy for a good shopping excursion.

After a quick breakfast of the usual, and this time featuring local grown strawberries, we were ready to go. But I must pause for a moment and describe these little red nuggets of deliciousness. The Netherlander strawberries are significantly smaller in size than the ones we have at home. Their color is almost more a deep pink than red and have very little leaves and stems. However, despite their size, they pack quite a punch of true strawberry flavor. They are sweet and very juicy—the juicy part is evident all over Zenobia's body as she devours them with delight always requiring a thorough hose-down afterwards.

Anyway, back to shopping!

About an hour drive and we arrived at the outlet center. It has over a hundred stores ranging from European brands like Gucci, Burberry, Lego Wear, Salamander Shoes, and Philipa K among others. It also had U.S. brands like Nike and Hollister. We found the prices at the American brands outrageous and the prices for the European brands great deals.

Although we spent many hours going through the stores and admiring the fashion, we did not pick up too many items. We found some very European shoes for me. (cue the song from Legally Blonde the musical “Is he gay, or is he European”) and also some for Stephanie and Izabella. Stephanie also found a couple of clothing items and I bought some nice shirts for me. (Cue the song again!)

For lunch we ate at french fries that came in a large pointed paper bag smothered in mayo and “curry sauce” (that tastes like barbecue sauce) followed by ice cream and sorbet.

As usual in Europe, stores do not forget about children. There is a huge play area with, again, a large number of slides, swings, and other climbing structures. There was also a merry-go-round that not only had the usual animals, but also child-sized motorcycles, a Bentley car, and a VW 1960s bus. Izzy rode in the VW bus with a smile ear to ear. Put a wreath of flowers in her hair, for she looked like she was going to San Francisco.

Zenobia also used this opportunity to walk more. Each day she spends a larger amount of time walking on two feet—although she still prefers crawling. However, when she saw Izabella at the top of one of the slides, she raised herself up and, like a small orangutan--toddled across the playground to her sister and wanted to go down the slide as well. So I picked her up and put her between Izzy's legs who proceeded to hold her really tight and they went down the slide together. Thankfully, only giggles—not screams—swooshed down the slide and no one got hurt! Both were laughing with delight and this repeated quite a few times before Daddy got tired of it.

We spent a full day at the outlets and drove back rather tired. Our dinner consisted of various leftovers as well as a heaping of gummis—lots of kilos to go—and a Bordeaux bottle of wine that we bought for 5 euros. After we got the kids to bed, Stephanie and I ended out evening watching “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” on television since it was the only thing in English (with subtitles).

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