I was sixteen when I first met David. He came to the volleyball camp I taught at that summer in his hometown in Belgium, and we kept in touch over the years. When Marvin and I went to Europe in 2018, we met up with David and his then girlfriend Daisy. We instantly hit it off and spent the next few days touring Belgium, talking, eating, and enjoying ourselves immensely. David and Daisy are excellent tour guides and dear friends.
I decided to interview them to get their input on their favorite places - in Belgium and beyond.
Q: Where did you two meet?
Daisy: I’m a true Tinderella. In the winter of 2016, my sister-in-law considered it time to do something spontaneous in my life and join Tinder. Little did I know then, I would swipe right towards the love of my life. We decided to meet the same evening for some drinks.
David: We first met in Aalst, a city located between Ghent and Brussels... at the giant Christmas tree.
Daisy: Over drinks it became undoubtedly clear that we shared a connection – some may call it faith, others will call it destiny or simple luck. I felt that he could see my soul and I could tell him anything, I would be able to be me and feel loved every single day. You need to know that before I met David I had this screensaver with the quote from Pretty Woman: ‘I want the fairy tale’. This was a reminder that there is a love out there that loves you for who you are and accepts you – the good, the bad, and the tulle skirts. I got my fairy tale that night over drinks and never left his side again.
Carolyn: You two have the cutest love story. I am so happy you found each other!
Q: Where did you go for your first trip together as a couple?
David: Paris, chérie!
Daisy: Not long before I met David, I FINALLY managed to get tickets to see my favourite band Green Day in Paris (still big thank you to my brother for making that dream come true). Without me knowing he [David] arranged with my sister-in-law and brother to get another entrance ticket for the show and the morning of departure he surprised me, saying he would join us. We saw the show and the day after we visited the City of Love.
Carolyn: What a fun story, and Paris is not a bad first getaway!
Q: What is your favorite city for a romantic getaway?
Daisy: Hmm that’s a tricky one... Anywhere David is I would consider a romantic getaway. I’m pretty sure he can even make a cave in the middle of nowhere romantic. However, if I had to choose a location, it would be Paris or Bruges.
David: Difficult question really, I would say Bruges 'cause that’s where I asked Daisy to get married. If I put that argument aside, I’d say Paris/Versailles, Rome or Venice.
Carolyn: Daisy, where in Bruges did David propose to you?
Daisy: He proposed in the very cute renovated barn where we stayed throughout the visit.
Carolyn: Do you have other favorite places to go and things to do in Bruges?
Daisy: Our absolute favourite spot is the one where we took our first picture as fiancés and we try to go back every year to take another one. It's a small square park surrounded by these tiny houses and it feels as if you are in another world... Further we absolutely adore to just walk around in Bruges, away from the mass and into the small cobblestone streets (that’s how we discovered that little park). We try to go and eat at Brasserie Raymond (a bit more fancy but also less touristy) and for dessert cross the street to Aux Merveilleux de Fred. If you stay in the same area you have some more local shops as well instead of the big brands where everyone goes.
Q: What are your favorite "hidden gem" towns in Belgium?
David: Neufchateau is a small town but it is so peaceful. Gaasbeek is also a small town but it has such a nice domain with a great castle.
Daisy: Gaasbeek Park [is] a beautiful park not far from Brussels where you can relax, picnic or take nice long walks. For locals it is a known spot for wedding pictures as well – a true forest fairy tale.
David: And of course Lede, my hometown - the benefits of a city in a small town.
Q: Have you had any travel mishaps? How did you handle it when things did not go as planned?
David: In Rome we miscalculated the fact that public transportation is hell. The Bus/tram doesn’t always go at the right time 'cause traffic is crazy. We had a B&B right outside the city which we walked to...
Daisy: ...with a slightly sprained ankle on my side...
David: ...since our bus didn’t show up.
Q: What country has the best food?
David: I truly love Italian food. I like traditional Belgian kitchen, but the best meat dish I ever had was in Portugal.
Carolyn: Do you have a favorite Belgian dish?
David: Gehaktbrood Met Puree En Kriekjes is one of my all time favorites. You have cherries with meatloaf and smashed potatoes. Normally I'll have 1 plate, but I'm a sucker for this dish. 3 plates would be the minimum.
Carolyn: Daisy, what about you? What country do you think has the best food?
Daisy: Italy & France. I’m a sucker for pasta and cheese. They also really seem to enjoy when eating out and taking the time, an art that many of us around the globe somehow have lost.
Carolyn: You are so right. The art of cooking and the art of truly enjoying a meal are lost arts in so much of the world.
Q: What are your favorite European places to visit?
Daisy: I absolutely adore Galway, Ireland; Alcobaça region, Portugal; Italy; and France (with a special place in my heart for Paris, Versailles and the Languedoc region).
Carolyn: We really enjoyed our time in Galway too, and we really want to see Portugal and Italy, as well as more of France.
Q: What is your top bucket list destination?
Daisy: Ooooh, I would have to say Indonesia or South Africa.
David: For me, Prague, Czech Republic; Stockholm, Sweden; and San Diego, CA
Carolyn: Do you have plans to visit any of these bucket list destinations?
Daisy: No unfortunately not. We have been saving to redo our garden and some others works in the house so that’s where the money goes for now. But hopefully we can go to any of them for our 5th anniversary which is next year.
Carolyn: I really hope you can celebrate your 5th anniversary in a fun and romantic new place!
Q: Can you each share your favorite travel photo and tell us the story behind it?
David: This is one of the many self-made pictures from our trip to Rome. I truly love the history behind the city and how they kept it this way.
Was this my all-time favorite? Anywhere I go with Daisy is my favorite location at that point to be honest. This one is the most historical place we went. That’s why it wins.
Carolyn: What a great photo! I can't wait to get to Rome and see all the beautiful, historical places!
Daisy: This was such a difficult one, I think I have at least 10 favorite photos per trip. Nevertheless the one that made the cut is me in ‘le Parc de Versailles’ on October 2nd, 2021. Approximately one week before this picture was taken on September 23rd – my 30th birthday - I received an invitation addressed to ‘LA Comtesse’ (which would be translated to Countess). The invitation hid many clues to my birthday present which was to be princess for a day in the most royal place in the entire world (at least for me): Versailles. It was the most wonderful day and exactly everything that I wanted for my birthday. We left early in the morning and had a picnic in the parc of Versailles (which you can see in the picture). My family bought this cute second hand vintage tea set, they made my favourites and it just felt like a dream come true. In the afternoon we had tickets to visit the buildings within Versailles. You would think that my absolute favorite was the palace itself with all its gold however when you go a bit deeper in the gardens you will find the Grand Trianon. This is a smaller full pink/white marble palace with touches of gold and it absolutely took my breath away. It was the combination of everything aesthetic that I absolutely adore in life and I felt that I could have stayed there. I still recall my sister-in-law telling me ‘if you love this, just wait for tonight’. And I couldn’t possibly imagine what would outdo that moment. However she was right. We ended the evening in the most wonderful restaurant where they do theatre at your table. You may choose any scenario that takes place in the area of Louis XiV (the Sun King) and in between the meals you get small bits of the story. The restaurant, the actors and all others looked as if it were the 17th century. Driving home we sang to our favourite songs and that day will always be one of the most beautiful moments of my life where I was overwhelmed with beauty, history and love.
Carolyn: This is such a beautiful story, and I am so happy you had such a memorable 30th birthday! Your sister-in-law is brilliant for putting that all together for you!
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, without concern for money, where would you live?
David: At this point I’d probably live at the same town I live today. Perfectly happy, but there is this place we often pass and say to each other “never say never.”
Daisy: I wouldn’t mind living in the Grand Trianon in Versailles but even with all the money in the world I don’t think they will allow that. So I think I would choose somewhere under the sun, surrounded by nature and with David by my side.
Carolyn: Again, you two are just too adorable. If you ever move into that completely adorable house, I hope you'll allow us to be your houseguests for a couple of days!
Thank you so much, David and Daisy, for taking the time to tell us about some of your favorite places. We wish you many more happy travels together.
Follow Daisy in her travels and daily life in Belgium on Instagram!
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