As it turned out, our chili was a success. Romeo went grocery shopping with our hosts and got some ground beef, way too many beans, not quite enough tomatoes, some "Mexican" spice packets, and a bag of french fries.
We had a lot of fun in the kitchen together, attempting to figure out the ratios of ingredients, improvising a lot. I decided that there weren't enough french fries, so I took to chopping potatoes for fried potatoes. Romeo was in charge of the chili and I was in charge of the carbs (french fries and fried potatoes). It was a bit hodgepodge, but with a couple glasses of wine in hand, we enjoyed our cooking adventure.
We presented our chili and potatoes nicely, I think, and it was almost gone by the end of the meal. At least half of the table had seconds, and everyone finished their plates. I think people really liked my homemade potatoes (maybe even better than the french fries!). We were proud and I was so glad that it was deemed "quite nice" rather than "interesting", and no one had snuck off to McDo's (McDonalds). Success!!
After dinner, we had some more wine and cheese, and Romeo and I showcased a little two-stepping for our hosts. We aren't the best, but they were entertained. Then, they showed us a French line-dance. We had fun listening to big variety of music and exchanging French and English words. Eventually, we all made our way to bed.
The next morning, Romeo and I made sure our packs were ready for that evening when we were to get our bus to Amsterdam. We leisurely got ready and then took the tram into the town, going to a shopping mall. We were starving so we looked for food. The choices were "Hippopotamus", "Pizza Pia", or "Flunch". We ended up having Flunch fo'lunch! I still crack up over that...
We were a little confused about how it worked. It seemed a bit like Luby's. We each ordered an entree at the register, then took our receipts to the hot food counter. As we walked through the seating area, we saw what we had not noticed previously: a buffet of sides. French fries, mashed potatoes, rice, spaghetti, sauce, cauliflower, lentils, ratatouille, etc. Our eyes got big and probably turned heart-shaped. Romeo was unconvinced that we were allowed to eat it, but I asked the chef preparing our food, and she nodded yes. When I got a huge smile on my face and asked, "Really?!" she laughed and nodded again.
We ate as much as we could possibly hold. I was surprised that my favorite was the lentils! We enjoyed unlimited food for the first time in a while, then decided to have dessert (gluttons that we are). Romeo had just a scoop of ice cream (he had stuffed himself quite a bit more than me), and I had a waffle with ice cream and Nutella. Delicious!
Stuffed, we made our way to the supermarket in the mall and got some necessities (shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, and cookies for the bus). We took the tram home, then hung out a bit until it was time to go for our bus. Once again our hosts went out of their way for us, and rather than taking public transportation, they drove us to the bus station about 45 minutes away.
Our bus left at 10pm heading through Paris and Brussels to Amsterdam. We didn't get the good seats we had wanted, but thankfully there was enough room that we could both lay out and get a little sleep on the way. And, at the present moment, we are between Brussels and Amsterdam, about 2.5 hours from our destination. I am ready for a shower and nap, but our time is limited in this city, as we are heading to London on Friday, so I think we will be running on low energy for the next 48 hours. Oh well, that's the name of the game sometimes!